AN EMOTIONAL afternoon at Stansty Park saw a 350-plus crowd pay tribute to former manager Martin Ford.

Club physio Mark Davies took temporary charge of the side for the game against Llandudno Junction, following Ford’s death earlier in the week.

Video and images by Rick Matthews

Park lost 3-2 on a day where the result mattered little to those in attendance, with Davies hailing the ‘unbelievable’ atmosphere at the ground.

With Ford’s family among the assembled crowd, Davies carried a picture of the club’s co-founder onto the pitch as he led the teams out before a vociferous minute’s applause.

Davies said: “It was just unbelievable to be honest. We had a lot of people helping us out with collection boxes and so many people donated generously to Martin’s family.

“The Llandudno captain came up to me with an envelope after they’d run their own collection for him - it was a great gesture.

“During the minute’s applause, I was okay at first but then I just went to pieces and my legs were shaking with the emotion of it all.

“It was a terrific game of football too, even if we didn’t get the win we wanted. Everyone put in a performance and I’m so proud of all the players and the fans who played their part in the day too.”

Relegated Junction registered an elusive first win of the season as Sean McCafferey’s strike put them ahead, before Park levelled through Nicky Chesters on 38 minutes.

Park rallied once more and drew went ahead on 83 minutes when Adam Roberts netted an equaliser, before he was shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt in the subsequent goal celebrations.

The 10-men were put to the sword in the closing stages as Jack Nettleton equalised, before firing a late winner for Junction.

John Haseldin hailed the ‘brilliant’ support of Holywell Town’s fans after overseeing a 1-1 draw at Porthmadog in his final league game in charge.

The Wellmen boss will leave the club after Friday’s NEWFA Cup final against Ruthin, ending his six-year tenure at Halkyn Road.

Assured of a fifth-place finish before kick-off, the Wellmen played out an entertaining draw at Y Traeth, with Haseldin clapped off the pitch by the travelling support at full-time.

He said: “We’d filled the bus to go down there and they gave me a brilliant send-off at the end of the game, and the bus trip home was fun too.

“It wasn’t a bad game considering it was our last league fixture of the season. Porthmadog are a pretty decent side at home and this was a really solid point for our patched up side.”

A bright start from for the Wellmen saw Shaun Tuck threaten the Porth goal, but his effort cleared the crossbar.

The hosts took a 20th minute lead through Cai Jones, who slotted home after Leon Doran found him with an inch-perfect cross.

With his side pursuing a swift leveller, Tuck was felled inside the area by a Porth defender but referee Cheryl Foster adjudged the midfielder to have dived and summarily booked him.

The Wellmen’s defensive qualities then came to the fore, with Porth duo Joe Chaplin and Julian Williams both denied by keeper Shaun Pearson.

Steve Lewis went closest to restoring parity just before the interval when he latched onto a piercing through-ball in the penalty area but was thwarted by a well-timed challenge from Port defender Rob Evans.

Haseldin’s men were level within 10 minutes of the restart when Brady McGilloway’s measured cross was steered into the net via the post by Lewis’s glancing header.

Now in the ascendancy, Holywell pressed for a second goal with Tuck’s goalbound shot blocked and Lee Davey denied by another well-timed challenge.

Porth weathered the storm, and very nearly took the lead as Ceri James’ shot flew back out off the crossbar and was cleared by Jon Jones. With a few minutes left, Tomos Emlyn’s shot was brilliantly turned onto the post by Pearson and the rebound fell to goalscorer Cai Jones, but he blazed the shot wide of the goal.

Haseldin added: “Coming from a goal behind with a bit of a scratch team was pleasing, but the fact we were denied a stonewall penalty was frustrating. If Tuck had dived I’d have substituted him straight away, but you could hear the contact even from the dug out.

“Overall we’re pleased and glad to be heading into the end of the season with a cup final to play.”