Hopley double in crucial victory

Tim ChannonFirst Team, General

Rob Hopley scored twice on his 250th appearance for the Seagulls

Rob Hopley scored twice on his 250th appearance for the Seagulls

TWO goals from Rob Hopley on his 250th appearance for the Seagulls helped them to a fantastic 2-0 home victory over Andy Morrell’s high-flying Tamworth side.
The result lifts Colwyn Bay above Stalybridge and within two points of Gloucester City and three behind Brackley Town to give their battle to avoid relegation a massive boost.
Ironically manager Gus Williams was in Poland with the Wales Under-16 side and missed what was the side’s first victory since he took over in January – but his team selection, with a newlook back four of Baynes, Wilson Royle and Lea, was a big success.
Jonathan Royle looked much more at home in central defence and Mike Lea was outstanding at left back.
In midfield new signing Kevin Holsgrove made a big difference and produced a great cross for Hopley’s second goal.
But the whole side upped their game and contributed to what could prove a crucial result with seven games left.
Players threw their bodies in the way of shots, keeper Chris Sanna made three or four excellent saves, and Danny Taylor cleared off the line when he came on as a second half substitute to help Bay keep a clean sheet for the first time in 16 games.
But Colwyn Bay had their chances, too, and in the first half Holsgrove was only denied by a flying save from Tamworth keeper James Belshaw to tip a screaming volley over the bar, while James Ellison had a goalbound shot cleared off the line.
The breakthrough came a minute into the second half when an attempted clearance from a free kick into the goalmouth rebounded into the net off the challenging Hopley.
“I am certainly claiming it,” said Hopley. “We’ve had so much luck go against us in recent weeks that we were due a bit, and luckily we got it today with that goal, but overall I thought we deserved the win.
“They came at us second half, but we dug in and really defended well. The back four were brilliant.
“It was a massive win for us and hopefully we can repeat what we did the season before last and go on a good run.”
After Hopley had headed his second on 85 minutes from Holsgrove’s cross, the Bay were unlucky not to add a third goal.
Tamworth keeper Belshaw made a fantastic double save, blocking Obi Anoruo’s shot and then deflecting Marc Williams’ follow up effort over the bar, and then Jay Ellison struck the inside of a post with a great effort right at the end.
Dan Nolan, who took charge of the team with the help of former Burnley winger and reserve team coach Ashley Hoskins in the absence of the manager, commented: “I thought we were excellent today. We pressed the second balls much better and made better decisions.
“We were more compact and Kevin Holsgrove made a difference. He was excellent and his delivery for Hoppo’s second goal was brilliant.”
He confirmed that Gus had picked the team and made the changes, with Dan’s input, and added: “It is always difficult to leave anybody out, but we chose a team to win this particular game and it paid off.
“I dread to think what Gus’s phone bill will be like this week because he has been calling constantly.
“Obviously Ash came in with Gus being away, and he was excellent. He took to the lads straight away and was really positive in the dressing room.”
Tom Buckley had to come off at half-time with a lower back problem, although it is not thought to be serious and Wes Baynes was brought off early in the second half as a precaution to protect his hamstring.
Colwyn Bay: Sanna, Baynes (Taylor 58mins), Lea, Wilson, Royle, Holsgrove (Haywood 86mins Saiel, Moss).
Attendance: 275.
Match mascot: Joshua Brewer (aged four).