PWLLHELI 2 SULLY SPORTS 3 (after extra time)
SULLY Sports booked a place in their first FAW Trophy Final with a dramatic 3-2 extra-time win against Welsh Alliance side Pwllheli on Saturday afternoon – to become the first South Wales Senior League side to reach the final of the competition.
Two goals in a dramatic second-half of extra time ensured the progress of the side from south Wales against their valiant north-west opponents, in the game played at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth.
There was late drama in normal time as well when, in the last minute of the four added by referee Aled Jones, Sully’s outstanding forward Alex Long scored a goal that will live long in the memory.
Trailing 1-0, the young striker latched on to a through-ball and his first-time left-foot screamer flew past Pwllheli keeper Aaron Smith to send the tie into extra-time.
It was Sully who had the first chance of the match when defender Eddie Jones saw a near-post header go over. At the other end Pwllheli’s Martyn Smith also saw a header go over the bar.
The Welsh Alliance side had the better of the opening exchanges but it was an evenly-contested opening half. On the stroke of half-time Sully’s 6ft 5in striker Gareth Hemmens had the best chance, but the ex-Dinas Powys striker's header was cleared off the line by Chris Moore.
Pwllheli again looked stronger in the opening exchanges of the second half and they deservedly took the lead when Josh Banks rose highest from a corner to head in at the far post.
It was almost 2-0 moments later when an audacious shot from Barry Evans struck the woodwork. But Sully pushed on throughout the half, and made attacking substitutions.
The fourth official held up the injury time board, and Sully had 4 minutes to get an equaliser. Their heads never dropped, such is the character in the squad, and Pwllheli were stunned as Long’s excellent effort restored parity.
It didn't surprise the travelling band of Sully supporters - a decent number made the long journey, outnumbering their opponents, and the juniors in the crowd sang on, knowing their team would not give in.
There were no real chances in the first period of extra time, but the second period saw three goals. Sully took the lead through Long, who poached one in the six-yard box after a good ball from Hemmens saw sub Calvin McClaggon beat one and cross into his teammate’s path.
With 115 minutes played, Long turned provider for sub James Barnett to make it 3-1 with a quality lob that caught Smith off his line.
Pwllheli didn’t give up and scored a penalty following a handball, Moore smashing his spotkick down the middle.
It was all Pwllheli from there, but they couldn’t conjure any more drama and the team from the Vale booked their place in next month’s final!
This was a typical showing by Sports, whose inner belief and spirit has sent them on an unbeaten run of 13 league games, that sees them top of the South Wales Senior League with games in hand.
The ambitions of the Club remain to gain promotion to the Welsh League, and they are currently attracting sponsors in this quest.
The facilities at Sully BP Sports & Leisure have been upgraded to meet Welsh League criteria, so anyone wishing to sponsor the team has a great platform to promote their business with a forward-thinking Club led by Chairman Stephen Greenslade.
It has been confirmed that the Final will again be played at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, on Saturday, April 14, kick-off 2.30pm – on a quality pitch with facilities to match.
A Sully club spokesman said: "The semi final day was a credit to Aberystwyth and the FAW, as the organisation was brilliant, from the Fair Play intro to the superb buffet supplied by the FAW."
Sully Sports would like to thank Geoturf Consulting Ltd for providing a brand new kit for the match.
The Junior section also extend their appreciation to the Vale of Glamorgan AFL & SWFA for permission to play an U12 semi-final curtain-raising match against a Ceredigion Select team. The match was arranged by the FAW Head of Competitions Andrew Howard, and the youngsters enjoyed being involved in the day, where many new friends were made.
Sully Sports FC would also like to thank Analysis Technology who filmed the semi final, and are looking to film the final. DVDs of the semi final are available on order from Sully Sports.
Finally, to cap off a great day for all, South Wales Senior League Chairman Geoff Buckingham was in attendance to present Jimmy Blackie with the Manager of the Month award for November, December and January!