Opening day win puts Bay top
COLWYN BAY produced a really solid team effort to mark their return to the Evostik Premier Division after a seven year break with a tremendous 3-1 win at North Ferriby United.
And they head the table tonight on goal difference.
An early Karl Noon goal and two strikes by Jon Newby gave Colwyn Bay the points with a performance that delighted player-boss Dave Challinor and newly appointed team captain Damien Allen.
Damien has had experience of being a captain before with both Stockport reserves and Morecambe and that was a big factor in him getting the job.
"I also considered Danny Grannon and Luke Denson, because as young players they both made massive progress last season, and they epitomise what we are trying to do at the club," said Challinor.
"But in they end I didn't feel it wast right to burden young players with the extra responsibility and just let them concentrate on their own game for now."
Damien is happy to take the captain's armband and was delighted to lead the side to such a good opening day victory.
"It was a great start for us. This team (North Ferriby) got to the play-offs last season and are being strongly backed to do even better this year, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the win today," said Damien.
"People have been predicting we would struggle in the Premier Division this season, but this performance showed that we are not an easy team to play against."
Colwyn Bay were in front after nine minutes when Ian Sheridan raced onto a weak backpass and drew keeper Steve Wilson off his line before squaring the ball for Karl Noon to sidefoot home.
And it could have been a lot more before half-time.
Luke Denson had a volley from a corner tipped onto the crossbar by Wilson, Sheridan hit a post with a right foot shot, with Noon's follow up shot was beaten away by the keeper.
WIlson also dived full length to save a cleverly worked Mick McGraa free kick and Sheridan had a shot deflected over the bar off a defender and also put in a fine run past two defenders only to mishit his shot from a good position.
North Ferriby conceded eight first half free kicks to just three by Colwyn Bay to show the pressure they were under and Chris Sanna's first real save was not until the 36th minute when he dived to turn a free kick from Chris White round the post for a corner.
Bay eventually got their second goal on 38 minutes when Noon played in Jon Newby on the right and he fired a low angled shot in to the far corner of the net from 18 yards.
North Ferriby came much more into the game as an attacking force in the second half, with Denson and McGraa both heading off the line and Sanna saving a Ben Morley header, but it took a very harsh penalty to get them back in the game on 79 minutes.
Gary Bradshaw blasted a shot against Mick McGraa at point blank range following a free kick on the edge of the area and the referee amazingly gave a penalty for handball (surprising even the North Ferriby fans!), even though Mick had no chance of getting his arm out of the way.
Bradshaw then scored from the spot and it looked like being an anxious last 10 minutes for the Bay to hang on.
They had a close shave when Tom Matthews fired a shot narrowly wide with Sanna beaten, but the Bay had threatened on the break during that second half, and on 85 minutes a long ball upfield was headed on by Noon and Newby just beat the keeper to the ball on the edge of the area and toe-poked it past him and into the net for Bay's killer third goal.
I thought the Bay defended well when they had to and when they attacked they did so in numbers with the midfield quick to move up in support .
Jon Newby won the man of the match award with his two goals, but everybody played their part with Mick McGraa again catching the eye, and I thought new signing Fraser MacLachlan had an excellent game in centre midfield, continually breaking up North Ferriby's attacks with his tackling.
Dave Challinor agreed: "Fraser is a destroyer, a ball-winner. He'll break things up and stop you playing and he will certainly do a job for us."
Challinor added: "It was very important we got off to a good start and we've worked our socks off to get a fantastic result. Now we need to make sure we look after ourselves over the next couple of days and take this performance into Tuesday (at home to Ashton United) because we have now set a benchmark for ourselves with this win.
"North Ferriby are a good side and play decent stuff, but we matched up against them and did well. Certainly for our first game it was good for us to be up against a side similar to ourselves who like to play a bit and it was a good game to play in.
"In the first half we nullified their threat and we could have been out of sight at half-time. We expected them to come at us a lot more in the second half , which they did, but we have defended well and they have only got back in the game with a highly debatable penalty.
"That could have given us a tricky last 10 minutes or so, but we have showed good character to keep them out and then the third goal has come at a good time for us and killed them off."
Chris Sanna, who surprisingly requested to be put on the transfer list this week, again did what he had to do very professionally.
Chris didn't want to make any comment on his reasons for his transfer request, but says he will carry on playing for the time being.
Managing director Darren Cartwright said the club are disappointed he wants to go, but added: "Initially Chris was planning to quit football and only agreed to come to us for a couple of weeks to help us out when we were struggling for a keeper. He ended up staying for two years, so we have done pretty well out of him!
"If he feels now he wants to go then that is his decision and we have to respect it, but he is the best keeper in the league in my view and as he is under contract we would certainly want a decent fee for him."
Colwyn Bay: Sanna, Denson, Beattie, Challinor, Grannon, McGraa, Sheridan, Allen, Noon, Newby, MacLachlan. Subs (not used): Titchiner, O'Sullivan, Jones, Brandreth and Metcalf.
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