A miserable night under the lights.
Magpies slump to a 4-1 home defeat to Vale.
In what was a testing match under the newly installed lighting system at The Wern, the weather decided not to play it’s part. Despite the driving rain over 100 brave supporters came out to see the spectacle of a night game, the first in the Magpies 155 year history.
Due to work commitments, defender Stephen Bratt was unavailable and following a knock last Saturday, Daniel Griffith was also ruled out, forcing Manager Carl Ryan to completely reorganise his back four. Llion Owen was moved to the left, Jono Harrison would partner Joey Jones in the middle and 16 year old Ben Fisher was given his full senior debut after coming on as a substitute on the weekend.
To be expected, Nantlle Vale came out of the blocks firing. The more experienced side had the better of the opening exchanges, coming close twice in the first ten minutes. But the Magpies back line looked more and more comfortable as they grew into the game and at the half way stage of the first half Barmouth had the better of the visitors. Both Llion Owen and Ben Fisher were getting up the field and imposing on Vale defence and after a couple of speculative efforts by Paul Lewis and Jake Jones respectively, it was attacker Joe Ephraim who opened the scoring in the the 23rd minute. Receiving the ball on the left side edge of the box the youngster took a touch that wrong footed the defender that opened up enough space for him to fire with his weaker left foot and the ball went low to the left of the Vale keeper and into the net. This spurred the home side and Barmouth would go on to dominate the remainder of half with a strong shout for a penalty not given by Referee, Arwyn Griffiths.
The second half began in disastrous fashion. Less than a minute of the restart, the visitors were level. Striker Aaron Davies-Thomas smashed home from close range. Minutes later, Magpies keeper Adam Walters was called into action again, pulling off a great save at full stretch he pushed a shot high to his left out for a corner. In the 52nd minute Vale took the lead in controversial circumstances, although it is unclear to see what actually happened. Nantlle took a corner from the left, the ball came in and bounced around the box. In the scramble Barmouth goalkeeper was knocked out, the ball fell to Daniel Evans who scored. Laying face down goalkeeper Adam Walters received lengthy treatment on the field before he was taken off. After receiving further medical attention an ambulance was called. We are glad to say Adam is now ok. Due to Adam’s injury, another local young talent in Lenny Roper came on to replace him with Joey Jones stepping up to go in goal. With a makeshift defence and a replacement goalkeeper the writing was on the wall for the Magpies. They held on valiantly for over half an hour with Paul Lewis coming close on one occasion seeing an effort go just wide. With time running out, Vale extended their lead in the 86th minute when Aaron Davies-Thomas headed in his second. He duly completed his hat-trick deep into stoppage time and ended, what was in the end, a tough night for the Magpies.
In all the distress of Adam Walters injury and the pressure of the onslaught, praise must be given to Joey Jones for going in goal.
Fans Man of the Match was awarded to Ben Fisher. Throughout the entire match he held his position well, and defended resiliently, making upwards of 10 tackles in the second half alone, when going forward he showed pace and great technical ability far beyond his age. For a young lad to come into adults football and show maturity is delightful to see. This is sure to be the first of many accolades for the right back. Well Done Ben.
The Magpies are back in action this Saturday, Away at Bodedern Athletic. Follow all the action by searching @BDFCmagpies on Social Media.
The next match at The Wern Mynach for the boys will be on the 24th of August, another night game against Llandyrnog Utd.