MBI Llandudno vs Bangor City, Dafabet Welsh Premier League, 28/12/15, Parc MBI Maesdu
With an extra day off due to the Bank Holiday Monday, I had originally planned to watch Rhos Aelwyd vs Castell Alun Colts in the 1st round of the NEWFA Challenge Cup, however with my Boxing Day choice of MBI Llandudno vs Bangor City being postponed and re-arranged for today, my plans soon changed, and I found myself heading up the A55 to Llandudno.
For Christmas I had received a Sat-Nav, which I was looking forward to trying out on this journey. I left my house at around 1pm, and the Sat-Nav estimated that I would reach Parc MBI Maesdu at 1.55pm, which I initially laughed at, as I expected the A55 to be busy, as it was the A55 was clear, and I arrived at the ground at around 1.55pm. The car-parks at the ground were full, and I drove slightly down Builder Street and found a space. By the time I had walked back to the ground people had begun to make their own parking spaces. On arrival at the ground I was directed towards a turnstile on the touchline, as the main turnstile by the social club had a large queue.
At the turnstile I paid £8 for entry, and a further £2 for a programme (more on the programme later). The lady on the turnstile did ask me if I wanted a raffle ticket for £1, but unfortunately I didn’t have a £1 coin in my pocket, and I didn’t want to be that person who uses a £20 note to pay £11.
Once through the turnstiles, I was interested to see that a certain Danny Taylor would be starting for Llandudno. After having a quick look around the pitch I spotted someone who looked familiar, and after a look on Wikipedia, I had confirmed that it was the player I expected. Danny Taylor is a former Shrewsbury Town right back, he rose through the youth team, and made two appearances for the club, he was released in May 2011, which I thought was a shame as Taylor looked to have the potential to be a good right back, following his release he moved to Airbus UK before going on to play for Colwyn Bay twice, with a stay at Chester in between, before signing for Llandudno.
Football in Llandudno dates back to 1878 when the club were formed as Gloddaeth Rovers. In 1988 they were re-formed and renamed Llandudno Football Club, although for sponsorship reasons the club are known as MBI Llandudno FC. Originally the club was formed to provide activity for cricketers during their close season. Llandudno were founder members of the Welsh National League (North) in 1921, and champions in 1923. In 1931 the club were suspended after they refused the FAW’s instruction to play in East Wales. The club were founder members of the Welsh League (North) in 1935, where they remained until war broke out in 1939, the club then re-joined the league in 1945 where they remained until 1974. After a successful 2014 to 2015 Cymru Alliance season, Llandudno were promoted as champions meaning that they reached the Welsh Premier League for the first time in their history. In July 2015, the club entered into a significant strategic partnership, with MBI Consulting Ltd, a local organisation, this partnership saw the club become known as MBI Llandudno FC and Maesdu Park was renamed as Parc MBI Maesdu.
I’ve covered Bangor City before, in my blog post “Traffic” (https://davidsadventuresingroundhopping.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/traffic/). Since that game against Newtown, the club have played six times in the Welsh Premier League, but have only won two out of the six games, three of the games have ended in defeats and one ended in a draw. This run of form sees them sitting in 9th in the league, currently they are three points above Rhyl who sit in 11th place and are twenty-three points off of the top of the table. Today would prove to be a tough battle for Bangor as they faced an MBI Llandudno side sitting in 2nd in the league and who had won four and drawn one of their last five games.
Llandudno moved to their current home of Maesdu Park in 1991, after their old “Council Field” was turned into an Asda Store. Floodlights were added to the ground in 1994, and a year later a clubhouse and two small stands, which provide covered seating for 130 spectators were added. The club has in the past few seasons carried out a number of upgrades to their stadium, with the addition of a new press box, new dressing rooms and new grandstands with disabled access, this work was carried out to ensure that they met the criteria set for the Welsh Premier League. In August 2014, the clubs £420,000 3G pitch was officially opened by Wales’ national team manager Chris Coleman. The ground currently stands in an industrial estate, and whilst parking at the ground is limited, there is plenty in the surrounding areas, as I found a good space a short walk away, however it does appear that if the car-park is full you are free to make your own spaces. Parc MBI Maesdu is a good ground for this level, I emerged through a turnstile on the touchline, however there is another turnstile behind the goal by the social club. I then walked around the ground, turning left as I emerged through the turnstile I walked past a refreshment hut, with a covered stand next to it, this stand didn’t stretch the entire touchline, and the front row of seats looked like they were below the pitch. Behind the goal is another covered stand, this stand holds a bank of terracing in the middle, which is flanked by seats either side. Along the opposite touchline are the dugouts, which are massive, and what looks to be the press box, which is above a covered seating stand. Behind the other goal stands the majority of the facilities in the ground, with another refreshment hut, social club and dressing rooms on this side. What really impresses about the ground, apart from the 3G pitch, is the view of the Great Orme Country Park (Please correct me if I am wrong) which stands out behind the ground, this view is best taken in from beside the dugouts.
It was on my way round the ground that my programme slipped out of my pocket, and I didn’t notice until I was round by the social club, I then began to debate whether I should go and buy another. For the first half I made the decision to stand by the away dugout, and it was as I made my way around the ground that I found my programme again, behind the goal, luck was obviously on my side.
One thing that struck me about the dugouts, apart from the size of them, was the fact that they were set back from the pitch, and that it would be a struggle for the away coaches and subs to see the half of the pitch that they were attacking unless they were stood up. So of course the coaches stood up, nowhere near the touchline, and that irked the Fourth Official, who came down demanding that only one person in the Bangor dugout was stood. When he was met by the obvious argument that they would be unable to see, he threatened to get the referee, like a teacher threatening to get the head teacher. He repeated that “I don’t make the rules” a couple of times before accepting defeat and walking away.
To further the pedantic nature of the officials, the referee stopped the match and ordered that Bangor’s number 10, Christian Langos, leave the pitch and remove the black undershorts that he was wearing. Christian then had the fun task of jogging off of the pitch, and sorting the problem out in the see-through dugout. This then meant that Bangor had to play for a couple of minutes with only ten-men, which further annoyed the Bangor bench. However the referee was correct in not allowing Langos back onto the pitch until play was stopped.
Antoni Sarnowski, the Bangor keeper, did not look comfortable with the ball at his feet, and to say his kicking wasn’t the best would be putting it nicely. He was almost caught out in the 28th minute when Leon Clowes, the Bangor number 4, played a decent back pass to him. I’m not sure what through Sarnowski’s head but he stood and watched the ball roll past him, and was lucky that it went out for a corner. He was even luckier that the corner came to nothing.
Christian Langos was coming in for a lot of stick from the Bangor bench, as he looked to have had too good a time at Christmas, as he spent the majority of the first half out of breath, and the Bangor bench didn’t appear to be too happy with him.
An even half ended with both sides on level terms, both sides had had chances to get themselves into the lead, but neither had been able to take them. For a team that are sitting in the lower reaches of the table, Bangor were playing with confidence.
Half Time: MBI Llandudno 0-0 Bangor City
At half time I headed round to the refreshment hut behind the goal, there was a queue at the serving hatch, which gave me plenty of time to decide on what I wanted, by the time I reached the front of the queue, I had settled on chips, a diet coke and a twix, this cost me £3.30. For the second half I decided to stand on the touchline opposite to the dugouts, near to the corner flag so that I could watch the Bangor attack. As I walked round the pitch I ate my chips, which were very good and came in a generous portion.
Llandudno made the better of starts to the second half, as they created a number of chances, but were unable to put them away. It did seem to be a matter of when they would score rather than if they would score, but the Bangor defense held form, and kept them at bay.
The opening goal of the game was to come in the 58th minute, as Christian Langos burst down the left wing, and cut into the Llandudno box, he beat the first man, but was bought down by Danny Shaw inside the area, and the referee pointed straight at the spot. Dave Roberts in the Llandudno goal wasn’t happy about the placement of the ball for the penalty, and made his feelings known to the referee, he then decided to take matters into his own hands, and kicked the ball away from the spot, which led to the referee booking him. The ball was then placed back in its original position, and Sam Hart stepped up to take the penalty, calmly he slotted it past Roberts, to put Bangor into the lead.
Bangor doubled their lead, against the run of play, in the 66th minute. The ball was floated into the box from a corner, on the right wing, and following a number of deflections the ball fell to Anthony Miley who made no mistake with the chance as he stuck it past Dave Roberts and into the net.
In the 68th minute Llandudno aimed to changed things up and made a double substitution with Alan Bull and Liam Dawson coming on to replace Leo Riley and Lewis Buckley.
Christian Langos was beginning to struggle, and in the 72nd minute he was bought off for Shaun Cavanagh. Langos had gone down with what appeared to be cramp, much to the annoyance of the Llandudno players, who suggested that he be rolled off of the pitch, as he was only a yard away. Eventually Langos was treated by the physio, and led off of the pitch, yet when his number was held up on the substitution board, he slowly made his way across the pitch. Despite his poor performance in the first half, Langos had certainly improved for the second half, just a shame he couldn’t keep it going.
There were a group of kids behind the goal, with an average age of about 11, who were singing and chanting in support of Llandudno, and to their credit they were making a lot of noise. In my opinion, these kids will be the future of Llandudno, and it was good to see them getting behind their team. They weren’t the only ones in the ground making noise, as Bangor had bought a good number of fans who were also generating a fair bit of noise.
Bangor made a second changed around the 90th minute, with Chris Jones coming off to be replaced by Michael Elstone.
Llandudno grabbed a goal back in added time as former Wrexham player, Marc Williams finished a good chance, with a fantastic low drive past Sarnowski, the goal was to prove just to be a consolation, but for Williams it meant more as it placed him level top of the goal scoring charts.
Final score: MBI Llandudno 1-2 Bangor City (Marc Williams 90+ – Hart 58, Miley 66)
At the final whistle, I headed out of the ground and down to where I had parked my car. According to my Sat-Nav I had pulled off a bit of a masterstroke, as where I had parked meant that I had a pretty straight drive out of Llandudno, soon enough I found myself back on the A55, listening to TalkSport.
Both sides impressed me today, as Llandudno seem to have the quality to continue their march towards European Football, and if they can keep 2nd place, they will find themselves playing in the Europa League entering at the first qualifying round, which for a team in their first season in the Welsh Premier League would be a fantastic achievement. Bangor City seem to be heading in the right direction, and with 3 games left before the league splits into two groups, the top 6 and the bottom 6, the club could, if everything goes in their favour, the club could make it into the top 6, however a lot would have to go in their favour, as they are currently five points behind Bala who sit in 6th, and Bala currently have two games in hand over Bangor.
Parc MBI Maesdu is a fantastic ground, and can only get better, as the board at Llandudno are obviously planning ahead, as it is clear to see where improvements could be made to the ground, if Llandudno did make it to Europe then the money coming in could really push the team forward.
Hat-tricks seen so far: 3
Next week’s plan: It’s difficult as there are two fixtures that are tempting for me, it’s either going to be Bangor City vs MBI Llandudno, in the return fixture of today’s match, or TNS vs Newtown, both in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League and both on 1/1/16. If you have an opinion let me know, I need help deciding.
Money spent: £13.30
Thanks for reading!