A tough battle at The Rock yesterday between Druids and Holyhead Hotspur. Ultimately ending 0-0 after 90 minutes, Druids won the penalty shootout 4-2 to progress to the third round of the Welsh Cup.
Druids setting up in the solid 4-4-2 diamond formation, aimed to be more direct and take the game to our opposition early on. The match began and Druids were sending good balls into wide areas high up the pitch to go and compete for. Holyhead’s defence however were solid early on and up for the battle. Most of the first 45 was played in Holyhead’s half with Charley Edge, Jose Ferreira and Joe Faux all getting shots off from just outside the area, but were unable to make them count as of yet.
Holyhead did however create some meaningful attacks on the counter and put some dangerous balls into our box. Keeper Ryan Neild, on his Druids debut, was very solid from the beginning and was positioned well to prevent a Holyhead striker getting on the end of them. There was also an entertaining battle in midfield with both sides getting stuck in to compete on the ground and in the air. Tony Davies and Phil Mooney played alongside each other in central defence and were vocal to help maintain our shape and keep the lads focused.
After more pressure and a few more half chances, Holyhead remained solid and organised and we went into halftime at 0-0. Disappointing from a Druids perspective as we pressed and battled with a high intensity but the quality of the final ball was lacking.
We came out in the second half aiming to continue our hard work, confident the gaps would open soon. And they did. As the second half progressed, Niall Flint was making clever runs in behind Holyhead’s defence and earned some good chances in the box. His strikes just going wide unfortunately, but positive signs. Ben Wynne was introduced on 70 minutes and shortly after had our best chance of the match. A great bursting run through midfield had him clean through 1 on 1 with the keeper. His low shot was miraculously saved by the dangling leg of the Holyhead keeper to keep it all square. Druids kept pressing in search of a winner until the final whistle, however our opposition who were solid defensively all match, held out and the referee blew for full time.
The match was to be decided by penalties and Druids stepped up first to take. Niall Flint, Charley Edge, Brandon Lockett and Tony Davies all scored but it was Druid’s keeper Ryan Neild who was the hero on his debut. Pulling off two incredible penalty saves and almost a third with it ending 4-2 to Druids.
A hard-fought battle in the end with Druids dominating large periods but just unable to supply the finish, something we are sure to work on and improve going forward. But a much-needed win and confidence boost for the team. All the lads can be proud of their efforts as everyone gave 100% for the full 90 minutes and put ourselves in the hat for round 3!
Come on you Druids!