Bangor City into Europa League Qualifying rounds


Arron Evans

BANGOR City are through to the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, having beaten Cardiff Met 1-0 in a tense play-off final.

An attendance of 956 was recorded for the 5.15pm kick off at the Bangor University Stadium as the Citizens managed to secure a European spot for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

The match got off to a quick start as Bangor's Henry Jones went close with just three minutes gone, but was denied by a fine save from Met's Will Fuller.

Bangor began to dominate the match early on with Gary Taylor-Fletcher having two chances, with his second, a header, glancing wide. The Citizens were enjoying much of the possession, but Cardiff Met were standing strong defensively.

Jones' was lively and began to endure a tirade of tackles from the Cardiff Met defenders as they tried to keep him out of the game. Brad Jackson was also flying forward from right back for Bangor posing an attacking threat and it wasn't long before the deadlock was broken.

On 31 minutes, Taylor-Fletcher was creative once more as he pulled the ball back for striker Dean Rittenberg, who finished calmly to make it 1-0 on his 21st birthday.

In truth, Cardiff Met rarely threatened in the first half and failed to register a shot on target until the 41st minute of the game, so it was no surprise to see the scoreline stay the same at half time. 1-0 it was and Bangor were in full control.

In the second half though, Cardiff Met began to attack with more intent. Jordan Lam offered more of a threat in attack as he forced Bangor goalkeeper Connor Roberts into making a great save to prevent an equaliser.

Bangor were given a bit of a let off with 68 minutes gone, as Cardiff Met had a goal ruled out as referee, Bryn Markham Jones, spotted a handball in the box.

Midfielder Damian Allen, who had fought hard to win the ball back as often as possible for Bangor hobbled off on 80 minutes following a heroic performance.

Bangor City held out in the final 10 minutes, as well as the three extra minutes that the official had added on to record a historical win.

On full time, a rapturous applause was given by the fans, many of whom proceded to hug one another and run onto the pitch and congratulate the players in scenes of pure jubilation.

Speaking on the significance of the win, Player-Manager, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, said: "It's really important that we have managed to get this club back into playing in Europe. Bangor is a City with so many football fans and to see them on the pitch at full time celebrating with us was great.

"We'll be starting our pre-season training in early June and although I can't take over fully due to licensing problems, I will be at the club as assistant manager for at least another season and I will have a say on who comes in during the summer.

"We're all looking forward to our European adventure!"

After the match, youngster Henry Jones was given the Supporters Player of the Season award.

Bangor will find out who they will play in their Europa League matches when the draw for the first round of Europa League qualifying is made on June 19. First leg will be played on June 29 and second leg will be played on July 6.

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