Missed chances cost Seagulls a victory
COLWYN BAY twice came from behind to take a point in a 2-2 home draw against Bradford Park Avenue - but they should have won it with the last kick of the game.
With the referee loooking at his watch Lee Davey broke free on the right and set up a glorious chance for fellow substitute Alex Titchiner eight yards out, but the keeper was able to smother his sidefooted shot on the line.
The final whistle went straight afterwards with the Bradford players rushing to congratulate their keeper.
A hugely disappointed Titchiner said afterwards: "The ball got stuck under the keeper's body and I don't think he knew too much about it actually, but of course I should have scored.
"I didn't want to blast it in case I put the ball over the bar and on another day it would have gone in no problem. It wasn't to be today and I've got to put it behind me and concentrate on Monday."
It was one of several late chances that the Bay had to win the game after conceding two very soft goals in the first half, and player-boss Dave Challinor added: "We are falling short in both areas at the moment, gifting the opposition sloppy goals when they are doing nothing to us, and not sticking our chances away at the other end.
"In the last 10 minutes or so we've had five unbelievable chances, with the last one the chance of all chances. The keeper has made a good save, but he should never have been given a chance; 99 times out of 100 Titch would put that away.
"The encouraging thing is that we created lots of chances today and the attitude is good. We are working on finishing in training, and if we can get the quality right there by practising over and over again, then it will start to come naturally in matches.
"This season is a steep learning curve both for me as a manager and the players and as long as we learn and improve as we go along, then that is all we can ask."
Personally I think that overall the quality of the side's general play has improved from last season and the crowd of 440 were certainly treatend to a very entertaining game today, with both sides going for the win and the result in doubt right to the final whistle.
But the Seagulls know they must start putting away their chances to pick up vital points.
They had the better of the first half-an-hour against Bradford, with Ian Sheridan rattling the crossbar after nine minutes, but the Yorkshire side broke away to take the lead against the run of play on 30 minutes.
Danny Facey ran onto a long ball from the back and, spotting Chris Sanna off his line, scored with a perfectly judged lob over the stranded keeper from nearly 30 yards out.
Karl Noon, who worked hard up front all afternoon, held off a defender to put Colwyn Bay level with a good finish on 44 minutes, but Sanna was at fault again as Bradford regained the lead three minutes into added time at the end of the first half.
He came off his line to try and punch clear a free kick from near the corner flag by Martin Drury, but failed to get a touch and James Knowles clipped the ball into the net from beyond the far post with Sanna out of position.
That was a choker right on half-time, but Colwyn Bay equalised again on 51 minutes when a Michael Lea corner was headed on by Challinor and Danny Grannon for Sheridan to volley into the net from close range.
Both sides chased a winner after that in an absorbing second half, but the Bay finished very strongly and had several chances to win it in the closing minutes, when Bradford had their skipper Drury sent off for a second yellow card.
Kerr made a fine save to deflect a shot from Noon round the post in a one-on-one, and the keeper got down well to block a close range shot from Lee Davey and later raced out of his area to just beat Davey to a 50-50 ball - although Lee seemed to pull out of the challenge at the last minute.
Davey then broke on the right and saw his low cross blocked out for a corner by a defender with two Bay players behind him waiting to score, before Titchiner missed that gilt-edged last-gasp chance.
New signing Michael Lee had a good debut at left back against a very experienced and dangerous winger in Simon Baldry.
"Baldry has played for Huddersfield and was Bradford's main threat when we watched them at Northwich recently," said Challinor. "We knew they would play to him today, but I thought Michael was excellent against him and on that performance the reports we have had about him look to be true."
Now the Bay face a tough trip to FC Halifax Town on Monday, but with no new injuries they should have everybody available and Challinor says it is a game the players should be relishing.
"Its the best away game of the season with a big crowd and a big stadium. It is a really nice place to play with a good atmosphere and for a lot of the younger lads it is a chance for them to show what they can do on a big stage." he says.
"We got well beaten there last season so this will be a good test to see how far we have come."
Colwyn Bay: Sanna, Denson, Lea, Challinor, Grannon, McLachlan, Sheridan (Davey 67mins), Allen, Noon, Newby (Titchiner 76mins), McGraa (O'Sullivan 61mins). Subs not used: Bailey and Brandreth.
Man of the match winner: Karl Noon.
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