Away | 18 February 2017 | Attendance: 297
Rhyl won their vital relegation battle at Airbus UK Broughton as two second half goals from Steve Lewis and Toby Jones secured the vital three points and bring the Lilywhites just 2 points behind Cefn Druids and Aberystwyth Town at the bottom of the Dafabet Welsh Premier League table.
Rhyl started the match lively and should have been in the lead within the first three minutes. An early chance fell to Steve Lewis and then a minute later Lewis had a great opportunity from a Toby Jones cross but his finish was weak and went wide. Gradually the home side came back into the match and Obi Anorou came close but his shot was met by a fine save by Rhyl keeper Dan Lavercombe. The home side began to shade the overall possession but were unable to convert this into clear cut chances as the back three of Coyle, Rimmer and skipper Halewood stood firm.
As the half came towards an end a free kick from Toby Jones was met by a Chris Rimmer header but the chance went over the cross bar to leave the sides level at half time.
In the second half Airbus created an early opportunity but gradually the visitors began to gain a hold on the game. Early in the second half following an offside award Manager Niall McGuinness was asked, following an intervention by the 4th official, to leave the technical area and this seemed to spur the visitors on further.
Shortly afterwards Kristian Pierce placed a fine cross into the six yard box but the incoming Zyaac Edwards was unable to find the finishing touch. However minutes later the crucial breakthrough occured. A cross field pass to Lewis saw the striker bring the ball down and power past the defender and he finished in fine style past Shaun Pearson to put Rhyl in the lead in the 60th minute.
The visitors grew in confidence and with 21 minutes left Ashley Young came on for Josh Davies. Whilst this may have been seen as a holding tactic a minute later Rhyl doubled the lead. The ever dangerous Toby Jones was played into the box and he calmly used his feet to good effect to create the additional space to put away a fine finish past Pearson into the bottom corner of the net to put Rhyl into a 2-0 lead.
Over the last 20 minutes Rhyl's defence was comfortable with Airbus' endeavours to get back into the match and the best opportunity came for the hosts in injury time but once again Lavercombe matched the challenge.
Talking points from the match
The first clean sheet of the year and only the 6th of the season. The change in system over the last 2 matches to three centre backs has brought extra cover and today Lewis Coyle was worthy of mention putting a solid defensive performance in and he was very comfortable with the ball in possession.
The change in shape has seen Kristian Pierce take on the role of right wing back. For someone known for his attacking performances he has shown great discipline in this new role and when he got forward was capable of providing quality passes in crucial areas.
Survival Hopes boosted
The bottom six is arguably the closest ever with just six points separating Llandudno in 7th and Rhyl in 11th. With the format meaning teams are always going to be picking up points every match is vital. Our last win at home to Bala at the end of December led to a two week break in the league. Rhyl now have a two week break until they play Aberystwyth. Today's results means that a win against Aber on Friday 3rd March will put Rhyl outside the bottom 2 in what will be another massive 6 pointer for the team.