Catherine Archer scored a late first half match winning goal, to provide Rhyl with three vitally important points, after Tonicha Dickers had cancelled out Port Talbot's early lead provided by Jesci Hare, in their Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League fixture at the Gen Quip Stadium. (reports Robert Clement).
There was early momentum from Port Talbot with them quickly into their attacking stride looking for a front foot start after four minutes, and they made a dynamic impact with a well timed close range finish by Hare, following a Lauren Amor free kick.
Rhyl responded to that setback five minutes later, with Archer heading narrowly wide of the upright from a right sided cross by Laura Williams, after having produced a swift darting run into Port Talbot territory.
The Belle Vue visitors continued to maintain the attacking momentum with Williams finding the support of Dickens, and the former Mostyn Dragons player made a significant impact, displaying quality and ability with an angled shot from outside the penalty box dipping just under the crossbar.
Port Talbot twice threatened to regain the lead midway into the half, only for Rachael Ball and then Jessica Hammett to send scoring efforts narrowly wide, having swiftly increased the attacking momentum.
Just after the half hour Port Talbot had their defensive qualities examined from a thirty yard free kick by Rachel Nattrass, but it was goalkeeper Chelsea Herbert who was agile and alert to produce an excellent reaction save, preventing the north Wales outfit from gaining the lead.
Rhyl gradually began to come more into the picture and Herbert was again actively involved to turn a low controlled shot from Dickens around the upright.
The Port Talbot defence continued to absorb pressure, and two minutes prior to the interval Rhyl registered their second goal, with Bodelwyddan born Archer heading the ball firmly into the net from close range, after a Dickens shot had rebounded back off the crossbar.
Port Talbot began to play with more urgency along with good flowing tempo in the second half, when Hammett successfully gained possession following a defensive clearance by Chelsey Harris, but the former Newcastle Emlyn product sent an on target shot which was smothered by Mills.
An Amor free kick after seventy eight minutes came close to providing Port Talbot with a crucial equaliser, but there was disappointment with the twenty yard effort skimming the top edge of the bar.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, Samantha Morgan maintained the high tempo accelerating to the edge of the Rhyl penalty box to let fly with a fierce shot, but it was Mills who superbly reacted, turning the wickedly driven effort around the woodwork.
“It was a roller coaster of a game along with a roller coaster of emotions, and I was proud of the girls in the way that they've come back from being a goal down, where we've learnt so much over the season, and the experience along with the youth kept us going until the end to hold out, but it's the three points on the table which I'm really pleased about, along with the commitment and effort that has been put in today”, said delighted Rhyl manager Tom Jamieson.
“I put Tonicha Dickens out on the left wing with our normal winger Ashleigh Mills being injured last week, and she took her opportunity well seizing the moment with a brilliant finish, using her left foot then right foot to chip the goalkeeper to bring us back in it after going behind.
“Tonicha then set up the second goal, once again chipping the goalkeeper only to then hit the bar, and when you're a forward it's all about anticipating, and I think that Catherine Archer did an excellent job of following through to beat the Port Talbot defender and head the ball into the back of the net”.
Jamieson added: “We knew that Port Talbot at half-time just wouldn't sit back with it also being a big game for themselves, and they came back strongly doing just that in the second half, so we tactically changed it a little bit going more for the counter attack, and when you do that you let the opposition come on to you, but you put your trust in defensive play and that they would snuff it out.
“I have to say that our goalkeeper Yasmin Mills produced the save of the game to stop a late equaliser, and she's done ever so well having joined us this season, being a great asset not only in her goal play but her attitude and enthusiasm for the game.
“It's the second time for us to win against Port Talbot having gained a 3-1 result last October, because on another day it could have been 2-2, but we hung on to get three more points, so I'm very happy”.
Port Talbot Town: Chelsea Herbert, Samantha Morgan, Jesci Hare, Chelsey Harris, Victoria Stratton, Rachael Ball (capt), Kathryn Salter, Jessica Hammett, Lauren Amor, Dannielle Franklin, Terri Beddows.
Substitutes not used: Morwenna Albury, Hazel Lockwood, Emily Marchant, Charlotte Pitt.
Rhyl: Yasmin Mills, Alaw Davies-Smith, Paige Williams, Tonicha Dickens, Caroline Gardner, Laura Williams, Rachel Nattrass (capt), Cassandra Thomas, Catherine Archer, Rachel Lloyd (Rebecca Bannister 59th min), Lucy Vaughan
Substitutes not used: Kim Sands, Joy Jamieson.
Referee: Richard Morgan (Upper Cwmtwrch).
Score summary: Port Talbot Town: Jesci Hare 4th min.
Rhyl: Tonicha Dickens 12th min. Catherine Archer 43rd min.
Yellow cards: Port Talbot Town: Rachael Ball 73rd min. Victoria Stratton 84th min.
Rhyl: Rachel Nattrass 66th min.
Red card: Port Talbot Town: Rachael Ball 90th min+2.