There was an electric atmosphere at the Bangor University Stadium where Bangor City took all the glory in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League European Play-off Final.
Bangor City 1-0 Cardiff Met
DAFABET WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE
UEFA Europa League Play-Off Final
- Saturday, 13 May 2017
- Bangor University Stadium, Bangor
It was billed as the €215,000 match as the winners of the tie achieved qualification for the UEFA Europa League.
The Citizens can now look forward to a European adventure as they join The New Saints, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Bala Town in qualifying for Europe. The UEFA Champions League and Europa League draws will take place on 21 June.
Bangor City dominated the first half of this tie with Gary Taylor-Fletcher instrumental throughout. The Citizens Player Manager was on the end of a corner during the the early exchanges and drew a fantastic save from Cardiff Met goalkeeper Will Fuller.
The crowd at the Bangor University Stadium created an electric atmosphere and cheered on as Taylor-Fletcher went close again from Gary Roberts’ cross into the box. Taylor-Fletcher got his head to the ball but directed his effort past the left post.
On the half-hour mark, Cardiff Met changed their shape to try and block the space that Bangor had enjoyed in midfield. However, despite coming up against extra bodies, the Citizens found their way to the back of net when a lovely move resulted in a deserved goal.
As Henry Jones ran up the right wing, he released Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box despite being fouled in the process. After Referee Bryn Markham-Jones played some excellent advantage, the former Blackpool player picked out a lovely pass to Dean Rittenburg, who had plenty of time to slot the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
It was Rittenburg’s third goal of the season, with all three being scored against the Archers.
Cardiff Met ended the half strongly and forced several corners but the Archers were unable to find the breakthrough that they needed.
The Students picked up where they left off in the second period and pressed Bangor all over the pitch and forcing Citizens goalkeeper Connor Roberts into making several excellent saves.
One of Cardiff Met’s best chances was created in the 56th minute when Jordan Lam set-up Eliott Evans with a neat pass. He looked set to score but somehow Roberts dived to push the ball away to safety from point-blank range.
Ten minutes later, Will Evans went close for Cardiff Met as they piled on the pressure. He headed the ball down towards the goal line but once again Roberts was there to save Bangor.
Shortly after, Adam Roscrow thought he’d equalised for Cardiff Met when he turned in the box to fire the ball past Roberts. The goal was ruled out however, as the striker had handled the ball to bring it under control.
Bangor settled and nearly added to their lead with substitute Sion Edwards being presented with a fantastic chance after he got on the end of Henry Jones’ through ball. He released a powerful shot but Fuller pulled off an excellent save to keep Cardiff Met in the game.
The Citizens managed to hold on to their slender lead and the Bangor University Stadium erupted with joy and celebrations as Markham-Jones blew the full-time whistle to confirm Bangor City’s return to Europe.
Following the match, an ecstatic Gary Taylor-Fletcher said: “It’s absolutely superb. We had to dig in right until the end.
“We were hanging on, but we knew we had a bit of quality and that was the edge today.
“We’re in Europe!”
Bangor’s captain Gary Roberts added: “It could have gone either way. It means everything to the club [to be back in Europe]. We’ve worked hard as a unit, not just the players but all the staff at Bangor City Football Club.”