Borras Park Albion 5 Argoed United 3

Friday 4th May 2012
Borras Park Albion 5 Argoed United 3
Guy Walmsley & Co Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division 1
At: Dean Road, Wrexham
Kick-off: 6-30 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Weather: cold, cloudy, dry
Attendance: 125 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 45:46; second-half: 50:31

Borras Park Albion are the Guy Walmsley & Co Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division One champions after this thrilling ‘winner takes all’ title decider at Dean Road. Borras looked home and dry with a two-goal lead until Argoed scored twice in five minutes either side of the interval to get back on level terms. However, the home side restored their two-goal advantage and despite the visitors pulling a goal back, secured the title with a fifth goal from leading scorer Niall Challinor.

Three teams could still be crowned champions when this game kicked-off. Table toppers Saltney Town (60 points from 24 games, GD +102), who had completed their fixtures, held a one-point lead over second-placed Borras Park Albion (59 points from 23 games, GD +90) and two-point lead over third-placed Argoed United (58 points from 23 games, GD +38). A win for either Borras or Argoed would give the victors the title while a draw would see Saltney as champions on goal difference.

One other significant thing about this game was that it was abandoned earlier in the season with Argoed leading 2-0 due to, according to the Flintshire Chronicle, ‘an incident between the match referee and Albion’s keeper’. The authorities decided that the game should be replayed rather than award the points to Argoed.

Borras Park’s Dean Road ground is located on the north-eastern side of Wrexham, around 200 yards from the Greyhound Inn off the A534. The pitch, running lengthways from the car park and changing rooms, was roped off on the nearside of a larger playing field and lacked any cover, handstanding and even dugouts.

Argoed (in red shirts with white sleeves, red shorts and socks) got the game underway attacking the changing rooms end in the first half and they created a couple of early chances. They almost took the lead in the 13th minute when a shot from Simon Roberts beat Lewis Bailey and hit the outside of the left-hand post.

With the crowd steadily increasing in numbers, Borras survived the early pressure from the visitors and took the lead on the quarter hour. Niall Challinor, on the left, played a diagonal ball towards the far right post which Stuart Williams sidefooted home amid appeals for offside.

Borras continued to create chances and this wasn’t lost on one concerned Argoed player who shouted: “Boys step it up, second to everything”. Dan Trow got into the visitors area only to see his shot rebound off the chest of Argoed goalkeeper Joey Mataruk.

It was no surprise when Borras doubled their lead in the 41st minute. Trow went down inside the area under the challenge of Ian Cropper and the assistant referee, who was well positioned to see the tackle put his flag across his chest. The referee initially waived play on then decided to point to the penalty spot. Barry Torrance stepped up and saw his spot kick saved by Mataruk. However, the referee spotted some encroaching by Argoed and ordered the penalty to be retaken. Torrance took full advantage of the reprieve and fired into the net.

Argoed pulled a goal back just before the interval through Andy Neal’s glancing header and equalised in the 50th minute. Tom Swinburne’s free-kick on the left delivered into the area was flicked on and slotted home by Mike Price at the far right-hand post. If there scored stayed at 2-2 then Saltney would be champions, though still plenty of time for a winner.

I watched the game in the company of ‘Middlewich Martin’ and Borras regained the lead just after the hour mark. Trow kept going after being tripped as the referee played a good advantage and ran towards the area. He laid the ball into the path of Challinor, on the left, who squeezed a shot between Mataruk and the near left-hand post.

Argoed’s task was made even harder in the 76th minute when Borras restored their two-goal lead. Challinor’s shot was blocked and Corey Smart fired the rebound into the top right corner of the net.

The visitors didn’t give up and pulled a goal back just 65 seconds later when substitute Gary Patavino hooked the ball home following a scramble inside the Borras area.

However, Borras scored again within a minute to put the outcome beyond doubt when Challinor netted his second goal of the game with a powerful low angled shot which Mataruk got a hand to.

Borras Park Albion (blue and yellow stripes with blue sleeves / blue / blue): 1. Lewis Bailey, 2. Gareth Pugh, 3. George Cowell, 4. Alan Roberts (capt), 5. Barry Torrance, 6. Corey Smart, 7. Dan Trow, 8. Craig Salisbury, 9. Niall Challinor, 10. Stuart Williams, 11. Neil Pearce. Subs: 12. Liam Pearce (for Trow, 89), 14. Mike Glani (for Cowall, 71), 15. Matt Williams (for Neil Pearce, 52).

Argoed United (red with white sleeves / red / red): 1. Joey Mataruk, 2. Jon Davies, 3. Tom Swinburne, 4. Declan Friel (capt), 5. Ian Cropper, 6. Andy Bingham, 7. Marcus McGhill, 8. Andy Neal, 9. Mike Price, 10. Dave Catherall, 11. Simon Roberts. Subs: 12. Paul Rimbaldi (for Roberts, 63), 14. Gary Patavino (for Cropper, 75), 15. Gary Murray (for Swinburne, 80).

1-0 Stuart Williams (16)
2-0 Barry Torrance (41 pen)
2-1 Andy Neal (45)
2-2 Mike Price (50)
3-2 Niall Challinor (64)
4-2 Corey Smart (76)
4-3 Gary Patavino (77)
5-3 Niall Challinor (78)

Borras Park: Neil Pearce (YC, 49)
Argoed: Marcus McGhill (YC, 6), Andy Bingham (YC, 64)