|STARTING XI:||Penycae: 1 Stuart Williams 2 Joshua Mazzarella, 3 Dyfan Thomas, 4 Kieran Smith 5 Dylan Jones, 6 Adam Peters 7 Tom Edwards 8 Alexander Rowlands 9 Brandon Edwards 10 Ryan Jones 11 Zac Davies|
|SUBSTITUTES:||12 Wil Scott 14 Polat Ciftci 15 Ben Davis 16 Oliver Johnson 17 Jaden Jones|
Honours were shared on Wednesday evening at Foxen Manor as Jordan Gerrard’s first half spectacular strike in the first half was cancelled out by Ryan Jones’ second half spot kick in the Ardal Leagues North East.
Frantic and feisty was the best way to describe the Ardal Leagues North East clash between Four Crosses and Penycae on Wednesday evening.
The first half which seemed to be played at 100mph throughout began with the hosts having the first opportunity of the match when Jordan Gerrard was fouled on the edge of the box to be awarded a freekick but the resulting kick curled around the upright.
Kieran Smith headed a corner over the woodwork when unmarked prior to Edwards driving down the win to cut into the box for his strike to be smothered by George Lawrence in the Crosses net.
The visitors were finding their stride and seeing plenty of the ball midway through the half. An impressive long range shot from Dyfan Thomas went well wide of the upright after a promising run into the area before Edwards broke into the area once more but pulled his low drive across the face of goal.
Lee Pope’s men had the ball in the net when Ryan Jones’ initial effort was pushed away by Lawrence into the path of Joshua Mazzarella but the flag was up for offside.
Completely against the run of play, it was Four Crosses who broke the deadlock. A magnificent cross on the edge of the eighteen yard box by Jordan Gerrard beautifully soared over Stuart Williams into the corner of the net to give them the lead after 26 minutes of play.
Now behind, Penycae piled on the pressure as they looked to level forcing a flurry of corners but unable to capitalise with Crosses goalkeeper Lawrence commanding from the back and looking strong under the pressure which saw them keep their lead up to the interval.
The game opened up in the second half with chances falling to both sides early on but with Penycae playing the more flowing counter attacking football but unable to open up the Crosses defence in the final third.
Cae’s Alex Rowlands’ strike from distance narrowly flew over the bar was followed by a sustained spell of pressure by the hosts that saw a series of corners all taken by Harry Kerr which weren’t utilised by the home side.
The chance of the half up to that point for Cae came on the 55th when Edwards set up Davies but the latter missed the target at backpost in an opportunity that was easier to score than miss as he pulled the shot wide from 4 yards.
Penycae’s perserverence paid off in the 62nd minute when Mazzarella’s run into the box saw him bundled over by the defender for a penalty to be awarded. Ryan Jones stepped up and placed the ball straight down the middle to bring the match level.
They could’ve taken the lead minutes later when Mazzarella and Davies’ counter down the right won a corner which resulted in an overhead kick by Thomas being collected by Lawrence.
Down the other end, Gerrard’s powerful header came off the base of the post, with the corner kick being tipped over solidly by Williams in the Cae net.
Fitness took it’s toll in the final quarter with the tempo slowing and the game opening up as both sides were looking for the winner.
In the final minute, the winner almost came for the visitors but it wasn’t to be when Brandon Edwards drove his low effort into the side netting in a match that probably deserved to be a draw.