Away | 14 April 2017 | Attendance: 735
Rhyl’s relegation was almost certainly sealed with a 4-0 defeat to Aberystwyth Town at a damp Park Avenue on Good Friday. The result will ensure Rhyl finish in 11th place and with Barry Town United almost certain to finish in the top 2 of the South Wales League, relegation to the Huws Gray Alliance looks a certainty.
The game got off to a lively start with both sides pressing for an early breakthrough. For Aber Geoff Kellaway looked dangerous whilst Rhyl were proving a handful for the Aber defence.
However the crucial breakthrough came the way of Aber in the 26th minute. The Rhyl defence switched off as the hosts took a short corner allowing Luke Borrelli to run unchecked and blast home past Dan Lavercombe.
As the half went on Rhyl were unable to convert pressure into clear chances against an organised Aber defence, the closest chance was when Toby Jones went past an Aber defender on the Rhyl right only to see his shot deflected on to the post and out for a goal kick. The main threat from Aber continued to come down the Aber right and Kellaway which forced Rhyl into a defensive reshuffle with Tom Hartley replacing Lewis Coyle before the break.
With a big response required in the second half the Lilywhites were almost seemingly hampered by the task required. The change of ex Rhyl player of the season John Owen for defender Phil Baker in a tactical reshuffle gave the Rhyl faithful that the Aber defence may be breached but the change had a significant impact at the other end.
Once again Rhyl’s defensive frailties were to come to the fore early in the second half. In the 57th minute poor defensive play presented an opportunity to John Owen who grasped the opportunity and fired the hosts into a 2 goal lead. A minute later more hesitation in the defence allowed Luke Borrelli to take control and score his second of the night.
The addition of Zyaac Edwards and Christian Langos increased Rhyl’s creative options but an unlikely come back never looked like happening. The win was completed in the 82nd minute when a run down the Aber right by Kellaway found John Owen in the box and he finished well to grab his second of the night and Aber’s fourth. The final whistle saw scenes of jubiliation as the hosts Dafabet Welsh Premier League survival was secured whilst for the visitors the route maps for the Huws Gray Alliance will be dusted off.
The Vengeful Ex’s
The most typed match day tweets recently seem to be the phrase ex Lilywhite striker has scored. Rhyl conceded 19 goals in Phase 2 with 9 of them scored by ex Lilywhite strikers. Chief culprits were Jason Oswell and Ashley Ruane with 3 a piece, John Owen’s double last night and a goal from Mike Pritchard for the Druids.
Defensive Frailties on the road
Once again under pressure the Rhyl defence leaked goals at a crucial time on the road. In the 16 away league games this season we have shipped 55 goals and in half of these games we have conceded 4 or more. This is in marked contrast to conceding just 20 at the Corbett Sports Stadium. In many away games goals have come in quick succession leaving hopes of a come back well and truly shattered as was the case at Park Avenue.
A difficult return
The Lilywhites return to the Huws Gray Alliance after a 4 year absence and may well find escape a difficult proposition. With both Airbus and Rhyl aiming for a quick response last year’s champions and now Domestic Licence holders Caernarfon Town will also be after a second title in three years. The addition of teams such as Holywell Town and Denbigh Town will add to the spice of the challenge to face Rhyl next season.