West Wales Cup Round 2: Goodwick United 3–1 Rockspur Fords

Talk about weathering the storm.

Goodwick United made it through to the third round of the West Wales Cup yesterday and in doing so, knocked out one of competition’s stronger sides in Rockspur Fords.

Rockspur arrived at Phoenix Park having already built an eight point lead in Division 1 of the Swansea League this season, but it was the home side who took control in the first half as goals from James Bryan and Rhys Dalling put them 2-0 ahead.

After the break Jack Green pulled one back from the penalty spot, before a Jordan Griffiths free kick settled an intense and at times, volatile game in Goodwick’s favour.

The Swansea side clearly came to play – but it simply wasn’t the day for it.

Keeper Dale Hulland and his defenders were intent on building from the back but perhaps inevitably given the conditions, they were guilty of coughing up possession early on and 15 minutes in the home side went ahead.

Jonny Horgan’s free kick in from the right was turned goalwards by Jordan Griffiths – and James Bryan was perfectly placed to score from close range.

At that point Goodwick were winning the midfield battle with Matty Delaney coping better than most with the driving rain, and the pace of Dallling and Griffiths up front was stretching the visitors.

Rockspur responded though and it took a great last ditch tackle from Llyr Tobin to deny Sam Keefe before the away side had appeals for a penalty turned down, but they then proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot.

Ryan Trick’s under hit back pass was pounced upon by Rhys Dalling, and he finished clinically past the advancing Hulland to make it 2-0.

To his credit Trick did make amends moments later when he bravely blocked a Steffan Williams shot from point blank range, and at the other end Connor Morgan’s lofted ball into the six yard box had Gwilt scrambling to parry it wide.

Ashley Lewis also tested the keeper with a powerful left foot shot from 20 yards but Goodwick were also continuing to create chances, Williams firing wide from Horgan’s knock down.

The second half started in similar fashion with both sides going close, Daniel Williams volleying just wide for Rockspur - before Griffiths capitalised on a slip by Trick but after racing clean through dragged his shot wide.

The contest had been on the edge throughout and tempers then boiled over with a melee that referee Craig Templeton did well to quash, and then in the last 20 minutes Rockspur managed to ramp up the pressure.

Tobin was adjudged to have fouled Morgan as he cut into the area and sub Jack Green hammered the penalty high into the net.

Then Gareth Morrell blasted just over and Lewis again went close with a header, and we seemed set for a nervy final few minutes before a moment of quality from Griffiths settled matters.

From fully 25 yards, he whipped a low free kick that skidded off the surface and beat the diving Hulland, and the celebrations from Wayne O’Sullivan’s players afterwards signified a big result for the 2016 and 2018 winners.

Wayne O’Sullivan: “To a man the squad was outstanding today.

“We knew they would be a very good side but the way we set up worked and apart from scrambles in the box, we contained them well and Gwilty didn’t have too many saves to make.

“We played the conditions well and it was a great win.”

Man of the match - Matty Delaney:

It was a day for digging deep, and Delaney did just that in midfield for Goodwick.

His work rate was outstanding and frequently in the first half, he got his side on the front foot by driving forward. And on a day when things were always going to get scrappy, he did a job on the Rockspur midfield in closing down and mopping up loose balls.

In one second half flashpoint he did seem to take a clout out of view of the referee as well, which perhaps indicated just how much he got under the skin of the visitors.

Great relief for Goodwick:

Despite the torrential rain, you sensed yesterday was big for both sets of players. One of a handful of teams fancied to be at the Liberty next May was going out.

The intensity, needle, and goal celebrations told you that.

Goodwick will be relieved to have come through it but the win was deserved. The return to fitness of James Bryan has added further solidity to the defence and going forward they have the pace, and finishers, to hurt any side.

To go all the way in the West Wales Cup you need a series of wins against tough sides, and O’Sullivan and co know that more than most. But you sense Goodwick have the potential, and the competition experience to be serious contenders again.

As for Rockspur, they will be disappointed. It might sound cutting, but simply put they got it wrong.

They are clearly a very good footballing side but playing from the back in weather like put them under unnecessary pressure. And in the first 45 minutes it cost them dear.

Goodwick adapted to the conditions, their visitors didn’t, and few can argue with the end result.

Goodwick United: James Gwilt, Steff Hayes, James Bryan, Llyr Tobin, Scott Delaney, Matty Delaney, Ben Adams, Jonny Horgan, Rhys Dalling, Jordan Griffiths, Steff Williams. Subs: Jake Smith, Sion O’Sullivan, Nick Rees, Wayne O’Sullivan, Ashley Williams.

Rockspur Fords: Dale Hulland, Khory Morton, Kris Keefe, Ryan Trick, Connah Troy, Aaron Lewis, Connor Morgan, Daniel Williams, Sam Keefe, Gareth Morrell, Ashley Lewis. Subs: Nicky Craven, Jack Green, Josh Hodgson, Lee Sterio, Kai Wheeler.

Referee: Craig Templeton.