Bala Town 0-1 Port Talbot Town
Port Talbot Town reached the Welsh Cup Final for the first time in their history with this comfortable victory over Bala Town at Aberystwyth. Manager Mark Jones named an attacking starting line-up and his side started the match positively with the pace of Scott Barrow and Daniel Thomas causing problems for the Bala defence in the opening exchanges.
Port Talbot forced the early pressure although Bala had the first chance of the match as Ross Jeffries header was comfortably saved by Lee Kendall. The only goal of the game arrived on 33 minutes when a long ball forward from Matthew Rees found Liam McCreesh on the edge of the area and his shot was spilled by goalkeeper Leon Bimpson and bounced over the line to hand Port Talbot Town the lead. Chances remained few and far between although Port Talbot could have twice added to their lead early in the second half from two corners from the right as Port Talbot dominated for long periods. Bala were able to create half chances for themselves with Ricky Evans restricted to a long range effort on goal but it was Port Talbot who remained the more likely to score with Martin Rose and Lee John both coming close midway through the second half. Port Talbot were comfortable despite only having a one goal lead and with just minutes remaining Bala were reduced to ten men when the influential Ricky Evans was shown a second yellow card for a heavy tackle on Matthew Rees.
Bala were able to create an opportunity for themselves to equalise in injury time as a deep cross from the right caused problems for the Port Talbot defence but Bala were unable to capitalise as referee Paul Thomas brought the game to a close to leave the Port Talbot players to celebrate with their large travelling support after reaching their first ever Welsh Cup Final.
12th April 2010 – Evening Post
Port Talbot look to write new chapter in club’s history
Port Talbot’s dream of a first Welsh Cup final appearance came to fruition at sun-drenched Park Avenue as Mark Jones’s side comfortably beat Bala Town in the semi-final. It was a fairly easy passage for the GenQuip Stadium side, who could have won by four or five goals. “Obviously 3-0 would have been nice, but I’ll take a scrappy 1-0 any day,” said Jones. “We’re thrilled to be in the final. This has been a fantastic day for the players, supporters and all connected with the club. It’s a great reward for a lot of hard work. We have the smallest squad in the league but the work ethic of the players is fabulous. I know I bang on about this but their appetite for success is the driving force. And I want to thank the supporters for their support. They made it a great atmosphere and spurred the lads on.” After Liam McCreesh set up Martin Rose early on only for the striker to fire into the side netting, Port Talbot took control. And in the 33rd minute, McCreesh — so influential to Port Talbot’s success — netted what proved to be the winner. Leigh de-Vulgt pumped a long ball forward, McCreesh controlled the ball beautifully then cracked a powerful drive that the Bala keeper could only parry into his own net. Matthew Rees went close in the second period when he fired across the face of the goal from Daniel Thomas’s long throw. And Gareth Phillips hammered a superb drive that Leon Bimpson saved impressively at full stretch. Ricky Evans tested Port Talbot keeper Lee Kendall with a firmly hit shot but his frustration spilled over in the final seven minutes as he was twice yellow-carded and took the lonely journey to the dressing room. An elated McCreesh said: “This has been a great day for the club. This club is very special to me and I’m delighted.” Port Talbot will meet Bangor in the final at Parc y Scarlets on May 2. Holders Bangor beat Prestatyn 2-0 yesterday.
12th April 2010 – Western Mail
Port Talbot in Welsh Cup Final
A goal from mercurial striker Liam McCreesh in the 33rd minute earned Port Talbot their first Welsh Cup final appearance. The scoreline indicates a close semi-final, but it wasn’t as Bala gifted their opponents an easy path to Parc y Scarlets on May 2. Victorious manager Mark Jones beamed: “This is a fantastic moment for the players, supporters and all connected with the club, but also for the town itself. “We’re thrilled to be in the final. The players deserve it. Their work ethic is fabulous.” His opposite number Colin Caton admitted: “It’s frustrating when your team doesn’t turn up for a great occasion like this.” And goalscorer McCreesh added: “This is so good for the club.
This club is very important to me so it’s a great day.” In glorious sunshine at Park Avenue, the McCreesh-Martin Rose combination soon had Bala reeling, the latter hitting the side netting early on. But it was not until 12 minutes before the break that the Steelmen emphasised their superiority. A long ball from Leigh De Vulgt was skilfully brought down by McCreesh and his powerful shot could only be parried into his net by Bala keeper Leon Bimpson, who should have done better. Matthew Rees was just wide in the second period from a Daniel Thomas long throw and Gareth Phillips was denied by Bimpson. Ricky Evans provided Bala’s only threat, a shot well held by Lee Kendall, but the striker was red-carded in the 89th minute after two yellows in six minutes. Port Talbot are now only one win away from landing their European dream which they can still make via the league route.
11th April 2010 – Wales on Sunday
McCreesh puts Port Talbot into Final
A solitary goal from Liam McCreesh proved enough to take Port Talbot into the Welsh Cup final for the first time, with victory over Bala at Aberystwyth’s Park Avenue. With chances at a premium at both ends, the decisive moment of a sun-drenched semi-final came on 33 minutes, when McCreesh’s somewhat innocuous shot managed to slip through the hands of keeper Leon Bimpson before rolling into the net. It was an unfortunate moment for the Bala keeper, who has been in fine form this season, but on balance of play the Steelmen deserved their place in the final after enjoying the better of possession.
Both sides failed to hit their top form in a sometimes scrappy affair, the ball often spending too long in the air. But for Port Talbot and their boss Mark Jones, it was just reward for their efforts this season. They carved a few goal-mouth scrambles and a couple of efforts from distance, but were unable to give themselves any breathing space as battling Bala remained in the hunt. The best chance for the league new boys came in the second half, when a free kick from wide out by John Irving found the head of the unmarked Ross Jefferies. His header looked to be sailing for the top corner of the net but it was well held by keeper Lee Kendall. That apart, Kendall was never really troubled as his side’s accustomed solid defending kept the Lakesiders at arm’s length in their first semi-final appearance. And the encounter was to end on a further disappointing note for Bala, whose experienced midfielder Ricky Evans – such an influence for his side this season – was sent off in the last minute for picking up a couple of late bookings.
Welsh Cup Semi-Final
Saturday, 10th April 2010
at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth
Bala Town 0-1 Port Talbot Town
Port Talbot Town
Liam McCreesh (33)
Referee – Mr Paul Thomas
Team – Leon Bimpson, John Irving, Gethin Lloyd, Mark Powell, Danny Jellicoe, Danny Williams, Owain Roberts, Ross Jeffries, Warren Duckett, Ricky Evans, Osian Jones
Subs – Neil Fisher (rep Duckett – 39), Mark Harris (rep Jones – 56), John Toner (rep Roberts – 75), Steve Fisher (Unused), Steve Morrison (Unused)
Yellow Cards – Ricky Evans (83) Red Cards – Ricky Evans (89)
Goalscorers – None
Port Talbot Town
Team – Lee Kendall, Leigh De-Vulgt, Scott Barrow, Lloyd Grist, Matthew Rees, Lee Surman, Drew Fahiya, Gareth Phillips, Martin Rose, Liam McCreesh, Daniel Thomas
Subs – Lee John (rep Fahiya – 65), Karl Lewis (Unused), Matthew Thompson (Unused), Nicky Holland (Unused), Neil Thomas (Unused)
Yellow Cards – None Red Cards – None
Goalscorers – Liam McCreesh (33)
Attendance – 298