PICTURE by Conwy Borough FC shows Corrig McGonigle celebrating his goal.
ARTICLE by Tomos Wyn Jones
CONWY Borough scored a 79th minute winner v Cefn Abion to edge an incredible FAW Welsh Cup second round clash at the Morfa.
With both sides going into the game feeling they could emerge victorious; it was the JD Cymru North side who came out on top.
Both sides looked to cancel each other out in the opening 10 minutes, with very little happening in both penalty areas. The first real opportunity came through a clearance from Conwy. Ben Lockley smashed the ball from the halfway line, generating a lot of height on the ball. It was dipping at a fast rate and Cefn Albion’s goalkeeper Joshua Roberts was scrambling back to his goal line. To his luck, the ball hit the roof of the net, though, it certainly excited both sides and the exuberant crowd.
Debutant Morgan Murray was creating quite the impression for Conwy in midfield, operating as one of the three midfielders in their 433 formation.
The 19-year-old was picking up clever pockets and his passing was a real threat. In the 15th minute, the Tangerines took the lead; the prolific Corrig McGonigle took a quick free kick with the outside of his left foot, played Meilir Williams through on goal who then lobbed the ‘keeper exquisitely for his third goal of the season and make it 1-0 to Conwy.
Cefn Albion reacted well to going a goal down. They thought Conwy’s Iolo Hughes had handled the ball in the area, but, referee Simon Evans deemed it to be a free kick and brandished a yellow card for the captain. A minute later, Alex Williams thought he had equalised; however, his headed effort was incredibly saved by Rory Crowther. Williams felt the ball had crossed the line, but linesman Martin Trigg deemed that the ball did not cross fully.
Borough then had a golden opportunity in the 25th minute. Lockley made a great run down the right-hand side and played an excellent low cross to Meilir Williams, who had all the goal to aim at. However, the ball went under his feet and Albion cleared their lines. It was a massive wake up call for the Blues and it looked to have had an impact on their performance.
From then on, the visitors dominated the half, with the front 3 of Michael Latham, Kien Morris and Alex Williams caused problem after problem for Conwy’s defence. Albion nearly equalised in the 39th minute, but Nicholas Jones’ header from an excellent Ryan Kershaw cross struck the bar. Half time couldn’t have come at a better time for the hosts, as the Blues looked more and more threatening as the minutes were clocked.
And it looked that the break did a lot of good for the Tangerines, as they looked re-energised and controlled the game better. McGonigle nearly made it 2-0 but his header was tipped over the bar well by Joshua Roberts.
However, the hosts continued to look sloppy at the back and nearly conceded an equaliser immediately – but Alex Williams struck wide from a great position.
It was starting to become an end-to-end encounter now and in the 58th minute Conwy doubled their lead. McGonigle did well to shrug off Albion’s defence and, although he was dispossessed eventually, the ball landed to Morgan Murray, who composed himself and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. The youngster had made quite the impression and was having a clear impact on the game.
Five minutes later, Cefn Albion got a goal back. From a goal kick, Michael Latham was played through on goal and finished identically to Meilir Williams’ first goal of the game. It was fully deserved given their performance in the game, and set-up the tie to be a thrilling final half hour.
Soon after Murray’s afternoon took a turn for the worst as he was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The former Llandudno midfielder fouled Albion’s Kien Morris in the centre circle. It looked like the referee was only going to award a free kick, however referee Simon Evans did, in the end, send the youngster off. Murray, who was booked for descent in the first half, was in total shock that he was sent off, and many in the ground seemingly agreed that his dismissal was fairly harsh.
Going down a man certainly impacted the Tangerines and rally struggled to get out of their own half. Cefn Albion took advantage of the extra man and equalised in the 78th minute. Michael Latham played an excellent corner into the box for Nicholas Jones, who directed his headed effort into the back of the net for a deserved equaliser.
Despite playing so well though and for some parts controlling the game, Albion immedietly struggled from the restart. Craig Whelan went on a terrific run for Conwy and won a free kick on the edge of the area. McGonigle stepped up and struck the free kick with real precision, into the top right corner to make it 3-2 to Conwy, a minute after conceding the equaliser.
Despite having 10 men, the hosts controlled the game well from there on and sealed the victory – their first since August 14.
It was a thriller to say the least and a shout for the match of the round I’m sure. Conwy Borough will look to kick on and win their next fixture when they travel to league leaders Guilsfield in the JD Cymru North next Saturday, kick off 2:30PM. For Cefn Albion an FAW Amateur Trophy tie at home to Porthmadog awaits on Saturday, kick off 2PM.
Conwy Borough Team – Rory Crowther, Ben Lockley, Kian Owen, Iolo Hughes, Nathan Williams, Conor Davies, Craig Whelan, Meilir Williams, Corrig McGonigle, Matthew Lock, Morgan Murray
Cefn Albion Team – Joshua Roberts, Joshua Valentine, Jordan Williams, Nathan Williams, Nicholas Jones, Josh Millington, Ryan Kershaw, Dion Gibbins, Michael Latham, Kien Morris, Alex Williams.
AFE’s Man of the Match – Corrig McGonigle (Conwy Borough)