WNLD1 Focus: Cefn Mawr Rangers 2-1 Brymbo

A physical top of the table clash between Eddie Lancaster’s Cefn Mawr Rangers and Phil Hudson’s Brymbo ended in a narrow 2-1 win for the home side in a game which could have easily gone either way, but Rangers’ passion prevailed to help them gain all three points.

The two sides went into the tie separated by seven points but Rangers had, and still have, a game in hand with a win necessary to keep pace in the likely three team title race, alongside Brymbo and Rhos Aelwyd.

Both teams wanted to come out of the blocks with all guns blazing. The first ten minutes saw Brymbo look threatening from through balls played from the midfield but they also showed poor defensive discipline, giving away free kicks within their own half on multiple occasions.

Signs of the physical game ahead appeared twelve minutes in when Ranger’s Harri Gould got booked for a late challenge. The resulting free kick called keeper Luke Gomm into action, making his first brilliant save of the game.

Brymbo had slight dominance in the game for the majority of the first half, slicing through Cefn’s defence with through balls but Rangers showed great commitment to track back and not give an easy opportunity to Hudson’s men. Similarly Cefn’s counter attacking opportunities were falling wide of the goal.

Steelmen right back Keith Lewis’ high quality performance started taking shape in the 32nd minute as he sent a cross perfectly onto the head of striker Billy New, who was hunting for his nineteenth goal of the season, which almost scraped the crossbar on it’s way over.

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Lewis went on to make a number of dominant and physical tackles along with the other members of each team’s back four as half time was approaching.

The best chance of the game came in the 42nd minute however as a long ball came from the halfway line to the edge of the Ranger’s box. Attacking midfielder Andy Noonan worked his way into the box and took the first shot and winger Jordan Deer the second but both were superbly blocked by Ranger’s centre back partnership of Josh Blackwell and Jack Richards, leading to a goal line clearance from Ranger’s captain Aron Blackwell, on his return from injury.

That concluded the first half in terms of action. Brymbo would’ve been the happier of the two sides but there was no reason for either team to stop fighting for the win and they sure did during the second period of the game.

Cefn Mawr delved into their bench players at half time bringing on talented striker Luke Bowen, who was dealing with a slight knock from a couple weeks ago, instantly bringing a greater attacking threat to the Cefn Mawr side.

After ten minutes of end to end play, Rangers broke the deadlock as a strong challenge from Keith Lewis became a free kick on Cefn’s left flank.  Lewis Jones floated the ball  to the back post where attack minded midfielder Harri Gould was waiting to head Rangers into the lead, placing the ball on the opposite side of the goal.

Brymbo attempted to draw level immediately, Lewis and Jordan Deer put in a number of crosses which created half-chances, the most troubling effort leading to a punch away by Luke Gomm.

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Cefn then doubled their lead in the 68th minute through Ryan Harden. Brymbo keeper Chris Mullin went to make a clearance but only got the ball as far as Aron Blackwell 40 yards out, who had caught Brymbo off guard with his run up from holding midfield. Blackwell played a pass to Bowen on the edge of the box, who set up Harden with a short pass who beautifully curled the ball around Mullin.

With the hosts 2-0 up, Brymbo began playing with a slight urgency.  Their chances of a comeback were boosted when shortly after the goal, Luke Bowen, whom was keeping the Brymbo defence on its  toes since the second half kick off went down nursing an injury and was carried off.

Having already made all their substitutions a big defensive effort was needed from Ranger’s to maintain their lead.

Five minutes later, the potential of a clean sheet for Cefn was no more as a through ball bounced in front of star striker Billy New on the edge of the box.  As Gomm, approached, New sent a half volley over the keepers head which dipped into the goal.

The final 15 minutes were different experiences for both sides, with attacking urgency essential for Brymbo and solid defence key for Rangers. But, a valiant defensive effort from Rangers shut down any real Brymbo goal scoring attempts as they quite literally hung on the the one goal lead.

Great celebrations followed from the Cefn players’ who had showed incredible passion throughout the game.  They now face fifth place Maesgwyn on Saturday 3rd March whilst Brymbo travel to now top of the table Rhos Aelwyd.

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After the game, Cefn Mawr Rangers’ coach Gavin Pritchard spoke about the victory,

I think I need an inhaler after that match. Brymbo had plenty of opportunity to win that game but we played a very good game too. At the end of the day that’s football, to beat a semi professional side like Brymbo is a great result for us. The second goal was a move straight off the training ground and it was a wonderful finish by Ryan Harden.  As for the last five minutes, there’s nothing you can coach to guarantee to hold onto that one goal lead I just kept shouting at the lads to dig in and that’s exactly what they did, great day at the office for everyone involved”

Cefn Mawr Rangers

1. Luke Gomm (GK)
2. Wez Parry (Daniel Davies 65′) 4. Josh Blackwell 5. Jack Richards 3. Jacque Coates
6. Aron Blackwell (C) 10. Harri Gould 8. Michael Fell (Matthew Thompson 50′)
9. Ryan Harden 7. Lewis Jones (Luke Bowen 45′) 11. Ryan Duffy

Manager: Eddie Lancaster
Assistant Manager: Daniel Richards
First Team Coach: Gavin Pritchard

Brymbo

1. Chris Mullin (C) (GK)
2. Keith Lewis 4. Jacques Stuart 5. Vita Mbolokeke 3. Dan Hannaby
6. John White 7. Jamie Cumming
8. Zak Clarke 10. Andy Noonan (Lewis Hone 82′) 11. Jordan Deer
9. Billy New

Manager: Philly Hudson
Assistant Manager: Tommy Holmes

Referee: Geraint Williams

Featured Image: Bob Powell (Cefn Mawr Rangers)

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