Chris Simm scored his 19th of the campaign
Bangor City’s leading goal scorer Chris Simm registered his nineteenth goal of the season, being on target with an early second half leveller, after James Bloom had applied a delicate close range opener on the half hour for the Steelmen. (reports Robert Clement).
The Port Talbot starting line-up showed two changes to the team that suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat against champions TNS, with former Llanelli midfielder Ashley Evans replacing ankle injured Cortez Belle, and David Brooks returning in place of Matthew Crowell.
With Bangor having gained a point against Prestatyn in a six goal thriller, flu victim Damian Allen was replaced by James Brewerton and ex Llanelli full back Chris Thomas took over from Liam Brownhill in defence.
As early as thirty five seconds, it was Bangor who posed a positive threat to their hosts, with a Dave Morley volley zipping over the crossbar from eight yards, following a Chris Roberts throw.
The Citizen’s continued to enjoy a period of possession, but were unable to gain the breakthrough against a disciplined and eager eyed Port Talbot rearguard.
The Steelmen were unlucky not to be ahead after thirteen minutes with Lewis Harling advancing to the edge of the penalty area, only to have a well timed effort blocked by Lee Idzi; then from the resulting Brooks corner, it was the Merthyr Tydfil born shot stopper who was once more on his toes, stretching up to claim possession.
Just prior to the half-hour, Bangor were embarking on a route forward, and it was Port Talbot goalkeeper Steven Hall who was at full stretch to fingertip away a stinging shot from Robbie Booth, following a quality pass by Les Davies.
There was swift reaction to that scoring opportunity, with Bloom advancing forward over the halfway line, he sprinted between two defenders to pick out the overlapping Brooks, the Steelmen’s skipper then maintained the momentum down the left side, avoiding a challenge from Thomas to find Bloom available in the six yard area, with his delivery deflecting off the thigh of the former Falkirk defender, for his debit goal for Port Talbot.
The Gwynedd visitors quickly regained their composure after conceding that opening goal, and it was Simm who drove a low dangerous shot across the face of the goal, but unfortunately there was no supporting colleague available to steer the ball into the net.
During the final minute of the opening half, Port Talbot threatened to double their lead, but it was the agile Idzi who prevented additional embarrassment for Bangor, making a superb save to deny Harling, following an intelligent run forward by Carl Payne.
The Book People stadium outfit turned the tight battle back into their favour, when they opened their account after fifty five minutes, with the constantly involved Morley intelligently finding Simm in the goalmouth, and the pre-season newcomer required one touch to control, and a second to fire home from close range, to pull the score back onto level terms.
Bangor now began to look a potent and hard working threat, and were close to establishing the lead after sixty one minutes, only for an Allen free kick to flash over the crossbar from thirty yards.
With twelve minutes remaining, the Port Talbot defence was stretched and it required a scooped goalmouth clearance by Ryan Green to deny Thomas a goal.
There was however, a chance for the Victoria Road side to take the three points on eighty six minutes, with Martin Rose despatching a shot on target with Idzi out of position, but it was midfielder Michael Johnston, who raced back to make a goal-line clearance.
With both teams unable to secure their first win in their second phase campaign, Bangor City manager Neville Powell spoke with Welsh Premier League reporter Robert Clement, with him responding to the disappointment of only a point, adding to last week’s draw at the Book People Stadium against Prestatyn Town.
“Well it’s always a difficult place to come to, and if we’d got the three points at our place last week it would have been good, but we need wins, and I thought we were going to snatch it at the end, only for Gary O’Toole to be offside, but as you say it’s an away point, and we’ll move on to next week”.
Being asked if the race for the Championship was over he said, “Obviously to win the league we have to win all our games, but the main thing that everyone wants is Europe; there’s four places up for grabs, and we’re definitely after one of them, and we’ll take every game as it comes and try to win them all”.
With the statistics showing that Bangor gained their previous league win in November at Afan Lido, Powell was asked if he was feeling any pressure.
No, not really, there’s pressure on every game whether we’re top of the league or a team in the bottom half, so it’s difficult to get wins; we’ve had some good away draws and it’s only a matter of turning these draws, especially at home where we’ve done enough to win games, but we haven’t seen them out so we’ll move on”.
“We’ve got a difficult game at Carmarthen next week, but that squad I had today was probably the strongest I’ve had to pick from. You look at the bench, and we changed it around a bit during the second half and we done enough to win the game really, but we’ll take a point and move on, we’ll work in the week and hopefully go to Carmarthen and get the three points which we’re vitally looking for”.
Port Talbot boss Scott Young was later asked if he was happy to secure his first point of the second phase.
“We probably come away a little disappointed, but it shows how far we’ve come. Bangor are a top six team; maybe were unlucky to get a draw really, but after our first half performance I think that we’ve probably just edged it and deserved the win really”.
“I’ve just said to the lads that we conceded a poor goal at our standards, but credit to Bangor after we’ve had a right go at them first half, they’ve responded positively after the break”.
He added, “We set ourselves a target at the start of the season to get into the top six and we’ve achieved that, and it’s just a matter of taking game by game to see where it takes us. We will want to finish as high as we can, and with the new additions brought in during January, we will attempt to go up to the next level”.
The former AFC Porth manager responded to the dramatic improvement of the team’s performance compared to seven day’s ago.
“Last week’s gone, that’s my Port Talbot team we’ve seen in the first half. Like I said last week, I was probably a bit strong on them at the end because give credit to TNS, they’re a good team on their own patch, and we competed in the second half, but I was very disappointed, but today I’m disappointed we haven’t won, performance wise I’ve got to give all credit to the lads”.
Young continued, “I’ve turned the performance around; good teams show good character, when they come off the back of a big loss, and today we’ve bounced back, and disappointed not to get a result”.
“James Bloom was on the score sheet with his first goal for the club, and during the first half he was simply exceptional, being a great member of the squad”.