Kick off:15:45 Saturday, 22nd Dec 2012
at Bastion Gardens, Prestatyn
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Kevin Parry
Andy Jones scores a hat-trick (Photo: Kevin Hughes Archive)
Bernie McNally's decision to convert defender Andy Jones into a striker really paid off in front of the live television cameras as the Robin scored a hat-trick as Newtown beat Prestatyn 5-2 at a soaked Bastion Road.
The Bastion Gardens pitch started chewing up pretty quickly on a vert wet day, but nothing was getting in the way of a battling display by the visitors. The home side were without their influential Manager, Neil Gibson who was serving the last of a three match suspension.
The 16th minute brought the first goal, and it was completely against the run of play as, with the big guns up front attacking a corner, Zack Evans was manning the defensive positions and a back pass was pushed tamely to Zack in the centre half position with no-one near him, but he spent an eternity clearing the ball and it was charged down by Rhys Lewis for Prestatyn who slipped the ball to the dangerous Andy Parkinson who slid a shot passed the defending Iain Edmunds, giving Roberts no chance.
The equaliser came with Matty Cook finishing a neat passing movement with a slide-rule pass to Andy Jones who showed twinkle-toes footwork, got passed the first defender and then curled a shot into the far corner of the goal.
A game-changing moment happened just after the half-hour as Jon Hill-Dunt was replaced in the Prestatyn goal having picked up a leg injury and former TNS Academy glove-man, Gareth Barker came on for his League debut.
Zack Evans only had to wait four minutes later for a chance, as he picked up on the half-volley and struck it cleanly passed the keeper to put Newtown into the lead at 2-1.
A minute into the second half and Newtown were showing no signing of easing up the pressure, Craig Williams made a good run through the middle, hit a shot which was blocked by a defender, it rebounded to Luke Boundford who hit it firmly, but it struck the keeper who knew nothing about it.
It became three to the visitors when Andy Jones displayed excellent alertness to pick up on a poor clearance by Barker in the Prestatyn goal. His first shot was blocked on the edge of the area by good defending from Greg Stones, but the second shot was neatly converted for a 3-1 lead and Jones' second goal.
It only took sub Craig Whitfield five minutes to get involved in the scoring as he pounced instinctively on a backpass that held up in the mud and slotted it away for 4-1. Then the defender-cum-striker Jones got his hat-trick and the Man of the Match award in outstanding style. He collected the ball on the far right of the penalty area, and having spotted Barker slightly off his line, expertly chipped the ball straight into the far side of the goal from the muddy surface to make it 5-1.
Ross Stephens did score an excellent 30-yarder in injury time against his former club, but that which was scant consolation for the Seasiders. Both teams remain in third and eleventh respectively, but Newtown closed the gap on Llanelli and Aberystwyth to just one point as they look to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.