Senior Cup quarter final: Fishguard Sports 4-6 Goodwick United (after extra time)

In the end, the cup tie was worth the wait.

A local derby, the underdogs at home, difficult conditions, the stage was set for yesterday’s replayed Senior Cup clash between Fishguard Sports and Goodwick United to be tight and full blooded - and so it proved.

Eventually, it was the Phoenix Boys who prevailed but only after Wayne O’Sullivan’s side trailed at half time and were then taken to extra time before running out 6-4 winners.

The Sports had led at the break with goals from Patrick Hughes and Lewis Banks, either side of a Steff Williams equaliser, but the visitors came back strongly in the second half via a Scott Delaney penalty and Jordan Thomas goal. It seemed that would be enough but with time running out, Matt Harries nodded in to force an additional 30 minutes.

The back and for action continued as a Chris O’Sullivan free kick restored Goodwick’s lead only for Danny Morgan to level matters – before strikes from Jordan Griffiths and sub Ben Adams eventually settled a pulsating contest.

Fishguard fire in first 45:

In the 37 minutes that were possible last Saturday before the action was curtailed Goodwick dictated the play, and Fishguard let them. To the home side’s credit, the lesson had clearly been learnt and they started with much more purpose and intensity this time around.

There was no shortage of needle as O’Sullivan and Morgan ensured both sides received an early booking with late tackles, and it was the former who went close for Goodwick when his wide angled free kick was tipped over by Dean Hopson. From the corner that followed the home keeper kept out Delaney’s header.

But on 13 minutes it was The Sports who led. Niall Kinsella’s corner fell to Hughes on the edge of the area, and the defender fired through a crowd of bodies to score against his former club.

Within two minutes though things were level, as an O’Sullivan corner was headed in at the near post by a diving Williams.

Hughes was back at the centre of things when a scramble in the Goodwick box saw him go down under pressure from away keeper James Gwilt, but referee Tom Bevan was uninterested, and then at the other end Rhys Dalling slipped in Griffiths who had his angled drive blocked by Hopson.

Fishguard were attacking with more pace than the previous week though and soon it was Gwilt’s turn to keep things at 1-1, saving brilliantly from Harries’ flicked shot after Karl Hedley had whipped a cross in from the left.

But then moments before half time Brian Kinsella’s side were back in front and again it was a corner from son Niall that created the goal – with Banks finding the space to rise unmarked and plant a header home from six yards.

Penalty swings the pendulum:

The majority of the second period belonged to Goodwick, but only after a nerve wracking moment that could have seen them go two goals down.

Another long ball forward from Kinsella was flicked on by Harries over the advancing Gwilt, and only Delaney’s volleyed clearance in his own six yard box rescued matters.

From there the visitors turned the screw. Dalling glanced a header over and then seven minutes into the half, Griffiths was cut down by Hughes in the area and Bevan rightfully pointed to the spot.

Delaney’s penalty beat Hopson high to his right and for the 20 minutes that followed, Fishguard had to hang on.

Banks was next in the book after taking out Kieran O’Brien as the visitors pushed forward and Dalling again went close with a header, before Jonny Horgan was denied by Hopson from point blank range.

But with 18 minutes left the next goal came as Steff Hayes hurled a trademark throw into the danger zone and Delaney’s goal bound header was turned in by centre back partner Jordan Thomas.

Williams twice could have put things to bed but shot over from inside the area while with time, and legs, seemingly running out for Fishguard Steve Lewis fired into the side netting.

But with five minutes left Harries reignited the tie when Billy Moore’s long throw in was flicked on towards him and the striker guided a header past Gwilt.

End to end in extra time:

That meant extra time but things weren’t about to slow down. It was O’Sullivan who struck first when from a direct free kick 20 yards out, the midfielder beat both the wall and Hopson with a sublime effort that nestled in the keeper’s top right hand corner.

Back came Fishguard though with a goal equally as memorable, Morgan unleashing a half volley from the edge of the area that flew into the roof of the net.

Another chance came when Lewis lobbed over a stranded Gwilt but his effort bounced wide, but at the tail end of the 15 minutes it was Griffiths who put Goodwick back in front when he got on the end of an O’Sullivan corner to score.

In the second extra period The Sports, who didn’t make any subs in the 120 minutes, visibly began to tire and matters were finally settled when Griffiths squared for Adams to tap in from close range.

Wayne O’Sullivan (Goodwick manager): “We’re relieved. It was a tough game and we made it harder for ourselves by not taking our second half chances.

“We knew it was going to be a battle especially in the conditions. I said to the boys at half time that they had to dig themselves out of a hole and what matters is we’ve gone through. But it was a great derby.”

Brian Kinsella (Fishguard manager): “I’m very proud of the effort.

“We got our tactics right and gave everything and I can’t have any complaints about the boys.”

Final word:

Fishguard needed to make this tie difficult for Goodwick. They did just that.

Brian Kinsella and co will have regrets about coming so close and not getting over the line but it was another example of how a return to Division 1 hasn’t fazed them. Goodwick again, Hakin, Monkton, and Merlins Bridge all still have to come to Tregroes in the league and while The Sports won’t be in the title race, they can still have a big say in it.

Wayne O’Sullivan will be relieved but it’s the kind of tie when as a manager you’re just happy to get through. Fitness wise, his side held the edge in extra time and that was apparent, but the Phoenix Boys had to dig deep. And with Hakin away in the West Wales Cup next Saturday, they’ll have to be prepared to so again.

Overall though, local derbies should form a big part of local sport and this was two neighboring towns going full pelt at each other for 120 minutes. Referee Tom Bevan controlled matters well, and for the large crowd that watched, it was well worth getting soaked for.

Fishguard Sports: Dean Hopson, Billy Moore, Tom Merry, Patrick Hughes, Niall Kinsella, Danny Hopkin, Lewis Banks, Danny Morgan, Steve Lewis, Matthew Harries, Karl Hedley. Subs not used: Tom Lawrence, Ieuan Llewellyn, Connor Worrall, Steve James.

Goodwick United: James Gwilt, Llyr Tobin, Steff Hayes, Scott Delaney, Jordan Thomas, Chris O'Sullivan, Kieran O'Brien, Jonny Horgan (Ben Adams 76), Steff Williams (James Bryan 107), Rhys Dalling, Jordan Griffiths. Sub not used: Jake Smith.

Referee: Tom Bevan.