Home | 03 March 2017 | Attendance: 289
Rhyl rescued a point at the end on a night of high drama in a 2-2 draw at the Corbett Sports Stadium against Aberystwyth Town. The drama started well before kick off as the away team coach was caught up in the aftermath of a car accident on the way through Wales leading to a delayed kick off of 8pm. With the home team undertaking their pre-match warm ups, this was then further delayed to 8.10pm.
The chaotic build up for both sides probably had an impact on the defending in the first 25 minutes of the half. Rhyl took the lead in the 4th minute when on loan defender Phil Baker tried to clear from a Steve Lewis challenge but the ball fell nicely to Josh Davies who was able to turn and then calmly finish to score his first goal for the Lilywhites following his recent signing.
However the home sides defence was caught out twice in similar circumstances as the half went on. A free kick for Aberystwyth, which took over a minute from award to being taken, was launched into the area and as the defence failed to clear the high ball, Jack Abraham made a challenge which saw the referee point to the penalty spot. Mark Jones confidently despatched the penalty kick in the 14th minute.
Tempers flared minutes later as Luke Borelli sent Stefan Halewood to the ground and then as Halewood stood up Borelli feigned contact of which both incidents went unpunished by the referee. This set the scene for a scrappy period of play which was very stop start. From the many free kicks being awarded a ball in from Phil Baker, again saw the Rhyl defence fail to clear and Geoff Kellaway was on hand to blast the ball past Lavercombe from 6 yards out to put the visitors in the lead in the 26th minute.
As the half went on Rhyl began to create half chances, a good free kick from Zyaac Edwards was saved by Chris Mullock in the 29th minute and strong appeals for a foul on Josh Davies were ignored by the referee in the 38th minute. As the half came to a close a great chance for Steve Lewis was blocked close to the line to send the away team in at half time with a 2-1 lead.
Ashley Young came on at half time to replace Jack Abraham and the change made a difference as the home side began to get a grip on the midfield battle. 4 minutes into the half saw another strong appeal for a penalty as Steve Lewis was brought down but once again the referee ignored the strong claims. The pattern began to emerge of breaks by Aberystwyth as Rhyl pushed forward and on a number of occasions defensive errors presented opportunities for Geoff Kellaway. The ball fell to Kellaway on the right but a great block by Lewis Coyle denied the opportunity and then moments later the defence left Kellaway in acres of space but Lavercombe was on hand to save the shot which should have been put away.
The reward for Rhyl’s second half endeavour came in the 82nd minute. Rhyl were awarded a free kick a few yards outside of the area and Toby Jones confidently strode up to take the kick and lifted his shot over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net to bring the Lilywhites back into the match. In the last 8 minutes the hosts pressed forward and the best opportunity came from a corner deep into added on time but Oliver Buckley’s shot went over the bar to bring proceedings to an end just after 10pm.
On balance a point was a fair reflection for both sides in difficult circumstances which left all sides, with Llandudno and Cefn Druids also drawing, in the same position and Rhyl still two points adrift of safety.
Photos courtesy of Mark Chesterton
Talking points from the match
Both goals from Aberystwyth were as a consequence of hopeful balls into the area which the three central defenders failed to deal with which I’m sure will leave the trio and the coaching staff equally perplexed.
The introduction of Ashley Young at half time showed that sometimes there is no substitute for experience when the pressure is on and he was a calming influence on the improved second half performance.
The six pointer clichés
The format of the bottom six increases the pressure on teams, week in week out, as the need for points is relentless. Arguably this season in the closest it has been in the bottom 6 since the format came in. Does the fear factor have a significant impact on the standard of play and perhaps the teams that cope with this will survive.