When Steve Cooper and Lee Trundle went head to head as fierce rivals
Monday, 25th Jan 2021 07:07 by Keith Haynes
It was more than twenty years ago, the dominant force of Welsh league football were Bangor City, the pretenders were the Lillywhites and fierce rivals Rhyl. On one side was Steve Cooper a young footballer of some repute in the league of wales, on the other was non league journeyman Lee Trundle. Let’s have a look at how things turned out.
Let’s ease our way in to the week with a look back at the day Cooper and Trundle went head to head in a fierce North Wales derby game.
Steve Cooper found a home with Bangor City in the league of Wales signing for the club at the age of twenty in 2000 he played some fifty seven games over two seasons for the citizens scoring three goals. On the other side was ex Burscough,Stalybridge, Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Southport player Lee Trundle. Lee the aged twenty four had scored goals wherever he went but he had a longing, a real desire to be a professional footballer. On this day the player with magic feet was in a Rhyl side very much with everything to prove.
The two men went head to head on November 3rd 2000 in the league of Wales at Rhyl’s ground Belle Vue. Favourites were Bangor City, well let’s be honest the citizens were favourites for everything back then and had been been for some while. Rhyl, like the irritating little brother poking and prodding you in your sleep trying to emulate you, and make his mark. They certainly had a point to prove.
Bangor City fans have a long history of strong support
Rhyl too have enjoyed a loyal following
The opening goal at Belle Vue, scored by Chris Sharratt in the first minute, was hotly contested with City defenders – and supporters – claiming offside.
Nonetheless, the goal stood, but the visitors responded well.
Paul Roberts – leading the line alone – went close from 10 yards, Phil Johnson missed when well placed, and City played some neat controlled football. Then Rhyl scored again; Sharratt’s left wing cross was met back post by Danny Barton on the half hour for a decisive 2-0 advantage. Rhodri Giggs, whose pace and control were a handful for Rhyl, sped down the right wing and sent over a back post cross where Paul Roberts was crowded out by a host of Lilywhite defenders.
Half time: Rhyl 2 Bangor 0.
The second half started evenly enough with Bangor’s Robbie Williams showing true grit in midfield and Aled Rowlands rolling up his sleeves. But Meirion Appleton’s men failed to capitalise on chances, Paul Roberts working hard to get a clear sight of goal but sending his shot narrowly wide. On the hour Trundle, just months away from Football League fame, ended the contest with a fierce left foot finish. Five minutes later things went from bad to worse as Gary McCosh was unmarked to make it 4-0 to Lee Williams’ team.
Giggs went close for City with a right foot shot and made a good impression without quite forcing the game. City battled hard, the over-worked defence tried to cope, but the tide was coming in! A second goal for McCosh made it 5-0 on 70 minutes with a clear header and then with around a quarter of an hour left City’s tormentor in chief Trundle hit a powerful shot which was deflected past Dave Williams for six.
Bangor replied as the determined figure of Paul Roberts swept in a late consolation which he richly deserved, but mattered little in terms of the overall result. An interesting name in the Lilywhites line-up was Neil Gibson, a former Tranmere Rovers professional and Wales Under-21 midfielder who later went on to lead hometown club Prestatyn Town to unprecedented glories. Gibson’s stay at Rhyl in 2000-01 was brief.
Rhyl: Lee Williams, Mark Powell, Gary Curtis, Mark Antrobus, Jamie Brewerton, Steve Jones, Neil Gibson, Gary McCosh, Danny Barton, Lee Trundle, Chris Sharratt.
Bangor City: Dave Williams, Phil Johnson, Matthew Cross, Emrys Williams, Sean Hazelden, Scott Williams, Robbie Williams, Steve Cooper, Paul Roberts, Rhodri Giggs, Aled Rowlands.
Final Score Rhyl 6 Bangor City 1
Before his stint at Bangor City Cooper went on to sign for Wrexham who later bagged a late developing Lee Trundle, showing a flair for the strategic part of the game Cooper was encouraged by manager Bryan Flynn to concentrate on his coaching career. Fortunately he listened and led England under 17 to the 2017 World Cup final beating Brasil 3-1 in the semi final and Spain 5-2 in the final. We will be featuring Steve Cooper over the coming weeks and looking at his career and pathway to where he is today at Swansea City.
Cooper celebrates as manager of England under 17
Lee Trundle wrote himself in to Swansea City folklore after joining the club in 2003 when Flynn was manager. His first class football career returned 339 Goals in 694 games.
Trundle at Wrexham
Cooper at Wrexham
Image by Swansea City AFC
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