BANGOR City must look to win their crunch match against rivals Prestatyn Town this weekend if they are to retain hope of catching up with Welsh Premier League leaders The New Saints.
The Citizens currently lie third in the Welsh Premier table, ten points behind their Oswestry-based foes, after they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Port Talbot Town last weekend.
They face Neil Gibson’s Prestatyn Town, who will be equally keen to keep up with the leading pack, as the race for European places begins to hot up.
The sides shared a memorable New Year double-header, with City surrendering a three-goal lead to draw at Nantporth, before being outmanouvered in a 4-1 defeat in Bastion Gardens on New Year’s Day.
City will be boosted by the return of skipper Jamie Brewerton, who missed last weekend’s draw through suspension, as competition for places increases following a raft of January signings.
Recently-departed Mark Smyth could make a swift return to The Book People Stadium following his acquisition by Neil Gibson, while the Seasiders have also been bolstered by the recent signing of experienced former TNS defender Tommy Holmes.
At an already-vital stage of the season, this match has all the ingredients to be a classic, and City will be eager to come straight out of the traps after only managing a point against Port Talbot Town last weekend.
Despite a string start by City, it was the visitors who drew first blood, when Ashley Evans, making his debut after a move from ailing Llanelli, found the top corner with a half volley following a Matty Crowell corner.
City hit back soon after when Les Davies played in Simm, who coolly finished for his 16th goal of the Welsh Premier campaign.
And number 17 soon followed when good work on the left saw Chris Roberts produce a delightful cross which Simm planted in the bottom corner a minute before the break.
City began the second period with the same energy, and a great one touch move between Chris Jones and Simm played in Liam Brownhill, whose shot rebounded to Robbie Booth after agonisingly coming off the post, but Hall magnificently intervened on the line to deny the Citizens.
The Steelmen however, with new manager Scott Young and several new players, look a different proposition since qualifying in the top six, and after weathering the storm, they finished strongly.
Refusing to give up, they soon equalised when Carl Payne’s persistence forced Lee Idzi into a desperate scrambling save, and Evans was on hand to tap in for a debut brace.
Port continued to fashion chances, with Payne forcing Idzi into another stop at the death, as it became apparent that City were the ones hanging on for a point.
City’s match against Prestatyn Town gets underway at the earlier time of 2pm at The Book People Stadium this Saturday (February 9).