Saturday 27 May 2023

Prestatyn Town - Bastion Gardens

Prestatyn Town FC
Bastion Gardens
LL19 7LU

Ground Number: 1193
Saturday 27th May 2023
Bangor 1876 4-2 Cefn Albion
Ardal North


The club was established in 1910, although a lot of Prestatyn teams plied their trade around that time. They've played in local leagues for most of their history, this culminated in them winning the Clwyd League in 1992. They then joined the Welsh Alliance, enjoying a couple of runners-up spots early on. A split in the club meant a couple of seasons back in local football in the late 1990s. Prestatyn were Welsh Alliance champions in 2006 and Cymru Alliance champions in 2008.  A spell in the Welsh Premier saw record 5th-place finishes in 2011 and 2013. Relegation followed in 2015 but the Cymru North title in 2017 saw another season back in the top tier. They were relegated back to the Cymru North and though they won the title in 2020, Flint Town United were promoted instead as they had a better TV gantry. Since then, Prestatyn Town have cemented themselves as a solid Cymru North side.

The most prestigious domestic honour came in 2013 when they beat Bangor City 3-1 at Wrexham to win the Welsh Cup. This gave Prestatyn Town a brief stint in Europe in 2013, being one of the few Welsh sides to gain a positive outcome. Liepajas Meltalurgs of Latvia were beaten on penalties when the aggregate scores finished level. An 8-0 aggregate defeat to Rijeka of Croatia followed in the Europa League campaign. Prestatyn is a seaside town in Denbighshire, North Wales with a population of around 19,000. The local Pontin's Holiday Centre was the location for a 1973 film of the popular British TV series, On the Buses. Notable people from Prestatyn include ex-deputy PM John Prescott.


Despite the season coming to an end, there was still a reasonable amount of choice of games for me to choose from. The original plan was a trip on the train and a lovely day out. However, with Martin offering to drive, I could cast my net further afield. From Futbology's minimal options, I found a potential double in Prestatyn. It would mean that we'd probably miss the start of the second game at Prestatyn Sports but with it being so far away, I didn't mind. It would be an early start though. These two were further away from home than some games in France. Luckily, when I mentioned it in our group, everyone was keen, so I didn't even have to look at the Traveller for alternatives.

For my first game of the day, I'd be off to Prestatyn Town. I'd have preferred to save it for a Prestatyn Town game but the chance of an important playoff game was too good to pass up. Especially when it was on a day when a lot of the higher leagues had stopped playing. There was one annoying thing though - segregation. For the most part, Welsh league games don't require segregation. There had been an incident at Denbigh Town back in February where there had been a brawl between people that had been at the game. I won't call them supporters, more pond life that had infiltrated the respective fan bases. It was disappointing but predictable that the authorities had taken the option to tar everyone with the same brush and so mixing was forbidden.
In fact, it would probably be just one game. On Friday evening, Prestatyn Sports pulled out of the game, citing injuries. It was frustrating, but at least they'd made a reasonably early call. At that point, I had done very little research towards the game. It had been a busy week at work but I used Friday evening to have a few drinks and do some planning and research. A second game involving Denbigh Town Reserves was considered but it turned out that it was being played at Llangollen Town, an hour south. We had to be content with one game then, but with everyone happy, it was still go-ahead for a distant destination.
The day of the game came and although it was an early start, I woke ten minutes before my 6 am alarm. I got ready and had a porridge pot before Martin arrived at 6.35. It was then on to Anwar with us stopping at Budgens. I got my usual chilli cheese hotdog and chocolate cornflake bar. It was not the best journey with the roads clogged up, especially as we got nearer our destination. Pre-match plans of going to the pub were cancelled with us arriving just before 11.45. It meant that I'd miss out on the Burning Hot burger I'd earmarked for lunch and indeed going into town or the beach. I went straight in and it was a nice atmosphere. Very well organised too, though £4 for a can of Strongbow was a bit steep. With the relaxed stewarding, I could have got away with taking cans in. However, I was glad to support the club financially, as entry was a well priced £5. It was a novelty having hot food in a Welsh ground and the chips were decent for £2. The service was not the quickest and I eat them with another can of Strongbow.

Cefn Albion had finished 2nd in the North East behind Caersws. They'd been formed in 2014 and won the Clwyd East League (step 5) in their first season. They then won the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Division One the following year. They won this the following season and have been at step 3 ever since - firstly in the WNL Premier and then the Ardal North East. They'd travelled around 45 mles to get to the game. Bangor 1876 were established in 2019 and had been formed in response to serial club killers Vaughan Sports Management taking over Bangor City. The Gwynedd League was won in the first season before a two-season break due to Covid. They were North Wales West Coast League runners-up last season, finishing behind Bodedern Athletic. This season they finished as runners-up to Denbigh Town. They'd travelled just over 40 miles to the game. Cefn were the better side early on, with lots of possession but no real threat. Gradually Bangor got into the game and Cefn's case was not helped when they had Dion Gibbins sent off for a wild tackle. The mobile internet was very poor which didn't help with updates. Around 50 minutes, a cutback from the right was blasted into the roof of the net by Corrig McGonigle to give Bangor the lead. The lead was doubled three minutes later, a header by Tom Clarke. The game went a bit quiet from there but it was game on with five minutes remaining. A long-range effort from Ryan Kershaw left the keeper standing flat-footed as it whizzed past him. Right on time, Cefn got a penalty with the kick being scored by Ryan Kehoe to equalise. The extra time saw chances for both but Bangor appeared to have won it with a curling low shot from the edge of the area by Liam Morris. The game was sealed in the last minute, Cefn had a man sent off for the challenge through a second booking. Morris dispatched the penalty to make it 4-2.

There was an impressive 610 at the game. After, we headed down to the beach. It was a pleasant warm day and pretty busy. I'd rather have got off home but Martin was keen to relax on the beach before we headed South. We set off around 4.45, stopping at a local shop before getting on our way. I got some Thatchers Gold although wish I'd got something stronger as the journey home dragged. The frustration of extremely slow mobile internet did not help my mood.


BASTION GARDENS is a pleasant venue. Situated right near the town and beach, there's plenty of parking and nearby amenities. At the ground, the bar has a limited offering but the tea hut is decent. The ground itself is three sides open. The seating runs the whole length of the pitch and holds around 300.

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