Chris Simm scored two to take him top of the Goal Charts
On Saturday’s evidence, Bangor City’s new Book People Stadium will prove a more prosperous venue for Port Talbot Town, after Ashley Evans marked a fine debut to help secure the Steelmen a well-earned 2-2 draw.
Bangor’s former home, Farrar Road, had never been a happy hunting ground for Port Talbot, but they marked their first ever visit to the Citizen’s new ground with an encouraging performance.
“We’re extremely happy to have made the top-six but we now need to change our mentality and believe we’re a top-six team and crack on,” affirmed manager Scott Young, after seeing his side take ten points from their last four games.
With the dust still settling on what proved to be a busy month of activity during the transfer window, it was something of an unfamiliar looking line-up, with a minor car accident on route, forcing Young to make additional changes.
“One or two of the players were quite shaken so we decided to leave one or two on the bench,” he said. “We would have taken a point this morning as it’s a tough place to come and we had added problems with our journey on the way up as well, so it’s a good point.”
Recent arrival Ashley Evans took just sixteen minutes to open his goal account in a blue shirt and did so in spectacular fashion, as he crashed in a volley from the edge of the area to put Town ahead.
Bangor levelled when Chris Simm slotted the ball low down into the bottom corner and the hosts would took a contentious lead, on the stroke of half-time, when Simm poached a second, from a passage of play that had started from a throw-in awarded to City, after Port Talbot had kicked the ball out of play due to a head injury.
The goal left Port Talbot trailing at half-time and frustrated with Bangor’s second goal. “We’re disappointed”, explained Young. “Carl Payne had a knock on the head on the half-way line, we’ve put the ball into touch and they’ve taken the throw-in and scored from it. In football, it happens now and again but we’ve got to defend it better.”
Scott Young will be delighted to have taken a point in the Blues’ final first phase game – but it could be argued that his side deserved all three, after a dominant second-half spell left Bangor firmly on the back-foot.
Daniel Sheehan’s deep free-kick was met by the glancing head of Lee Surman, who, whilst sporting the captains’ armband, forced Lee Idzi to save down low to his right.
As Bangor immediately broke up field, Port Talbot were given a slice of fortune when Ryan Edwards’ angled strike came back off the post before debutant goalkeeper Stephen Hall recovered well to save the rebound. With Port Talbot looking assured on the ball in the final third, the introduction of Cortez Belle to the forward line saw the momentum swing further into the visitors’ favour.
The pressure then paid off midway through the second period as Ashley Evans capped a fine display by pouncing from close range, as havoc reigned inside the Bangor goalmouth after Idzi collided with one of his own defenders, when attempting to deal with a stinging strike from Payne.
Back on level terms in looked increasingly likely that a third goal for the Steelmen would be in the offing as a host of chances in front of the Bangor goal went begging.
After coming off the bench, David Brooks ghosted into the Bangor area and teed up Adam Wright, who was unable to get the ball out from under his feet, before Cortez Belle powered his way down the right-flank, picking out Payne whose snapshot was acrobatically pushed away.
Having weathered the storm, it was Bangor who finished the stronger in the closing stages but Robbie Booth mis-kicked when he collected the ball, free inside the area.
And the aerial prowess of Belle and Surman weathered a late spate of corners as both sides took a share of the points.