Home | 14 December 2016
History may have been made at the Corbett Sports Stadium as arguably the fastest goal ever scored in Wales put Rhyl into the lead after just 8.72 seconds. With most of the 199 getting to their seats early Rhyl pressure and an under hit back pass saw Carl Lamb pounce on the ball and he calmly placed the ball past Paul Harrison to put Rhyl into an early lead.
The New Saints immediately set about seeking an equaliser and the opening exchanges saw threats at both ends with Toby Jones forcing a great save from Paul Harrison after 11 minutes. Minutes later Greg Draper was adjudged to be onside as he broke through the defence and his pass into the centre found Alex Darlington who finished from close range past Owen Evans.
The match changed with the sending off of Owen Evans. The young keeper raced out of the area to make a clearance and was judged guilty of handling the ball leading referee Nick Pratt to show the Red card and give the Lilywhites a mountain to climb against the champions. Rory Crowther stepped up off the bench to take over between the sticks with Rio Ahmadi being sacrificed. Chances continued at both ends with a scramble in the Rhyl box seeing the ball eventually come under the grasp of Harrison. However 10 men Rhyl continued to create chances during an entertaining 1st half which saw both sides go in level at the break.
The second half continued in a similar vein as both sides created chances and the match changed in the 59th minute. Rhyl pressed to take the lead again and amidst claims for a penalty as Carl Lamb seemed to be pushed, Pratt waved play on as TNS raced down the other end of the field. Crowther came out to challenge Sub Scott Quigley and this time Pratt had no hestitation in pointing to the spot. Crowther came close to making amendments as he got a hand to the spot kick but Alex Darlington's penalty went in to put the champions into the lead.
Chances continued to be made at both ends with Crowther making a great double save to deny the champions and Pierce and Lamb both had great chances as the 10 men failed to overcome the odds stacked against them to gain a point against the Champions with The New Saints surviving to win 2-1. Rhyl Manager Niall McGuinness took heart from the battling performance which will give him optimism for the remaining first phase matches.