Away | 10 March 2017 | Attendance: 429
Rhyl gained a last gasp point at Llandudno through an 88th minute equaliser from Stefan Halewood to keep their Dafabet Welsh Premier League survival hopes alive.
For the second week in a row the North Wales traffic network led to a delayed kick off as congestion on the A55 saw a number of players and officials delayed on route to the ground. The match started with Llandudno almost taking the lead in the first minute as a shot was deflected which went close and hit the bar. As the first half progressed Rhyl's chances were mainly attempts from the edge of the area with Toby Jones going close. Llandudno had a number of sustained periods of play with new signing Robbie Parry going close in the 20th minute. As the half progressed Rhyl keeper Dan Lavercombe was in fine form denying Llandudno on the occassions they broke through the Rhyl defence with Marc Williams going close towards the end of the first half.
For the second half the home side stepped up the tempo whilst, Rhyl struggled to get out of second gear at times. The hosts had the majority of chances with Danny Hughes seeing a fine shot saved once again by Lavercombe whilst the visitors best chance came from a Zyaac Edwards shot from the edge of the box.
However the pressure began to pay off and following poor defensive play from Rhyl, the ball was played across the penalty box for Marc Williams to finish decisively past Lavercombe to put the visitors into a deserved lead after 65 minutes. Rhyl made a number of substitiions with Oliver Buckley replacing Josh Davies and the introduction of pace made an impact. With 11 minutes left Christian Langos and Aaron Simpson replaced Lewis Coyle and Zyaac Edwards and with Rhyl beginning to run at the defence for the first time all evenings openings were created.
From a good run by Christian Langos down the Rhyl right a corner was awarded. A Toby Jones corner found Stefan Halewood at the far post and he positioned himself to make contact and send the header firmly into the back of the net to draw the Lilywhites level with 2 minutes to go. Both sides created half chances in injury time but Rhyl managed to grab a point on an evening when they looked unlikely to score.
All the previews use the words six pointer and cup finals for some of these matches at the bottom, but put simply teams battling for survival cannot afford to lose. On many occasions this season the efforts put in have failed to be rewarded and maybe for once the luck smiled on Rhyl. The feeling at the final whistle must have felt like a defeat for Llandudno after being so dominant for much of the game.
Use of Pace
The introduction of Oliver Buckley and Christian Langos gave the Llandudno defence a different set of issues to deal with which ultimately led to the equaliser. With all the away matches in this phase on 3G pitches is pace an option for the remaining away matches?
Over the last couple of matches Dan Lavercombe has impressed many with his shot stopping skills as the young keeper was arguably the Rhyl man of the match against Llandudno. Both young stoppers from Wigan Owen Evans and Dan Lavercombe who have appeared for Rhyl this season look to have bright futures ahead of them.