Rhyl FC
Rhyl FC
The Lilywhites

Rhyl FC 1 - 3 Gresford Athletic

Home | 08 September 2018 | Attendance: 297

After the highs of the recent wins against Caernarfon Town and Porthmadog the Lilywhites were brought back down to earth with a 3-1 defeat at home to Gresford Athletic. 

The match started brightly for Rhyl with the home team back in their familiar white shirts, having the majority of the early play.  However their fortunes nosedived in the 8th minute as a Rory Crowther short free kick went straight to Jordan MacCarter of Gresford about 25 yards out and after a neat interchange the forward applied a fine finish to put the visitors into the lead.

The hosts had a good chance three minutes later to get back into the game but Danny Sullivan was unable to apply the headed finish from a fine Joe Culshaw cross from the Rhyl right.

In the 19th minute Gareth Partridge broke through from the midfield and unleashed a great shot from 25 yards out but Ben Jones in the Gresford goal was equal to the shot and he managed to turn it round the post.

Jordan MacCarter had the next chance for Gresford but Crowther saved comfortably.  Rhyl continued to press and from a number of corners and free kicks looked a threat but on most occasions were unable to find the right header to test Jones. The best chance of the half fell to MacCarter who was played through for a one on one chance for Crowther and his shot went past Crowther but for the forward also agonisingly wide of the goal.

Cai Owen replaced Liam Smith after the half time break, as Rhyl changed their shape going to a more conventional back 4 with Pierce pushed forward rather than the wingback role.  Similar to the first half Rhyl had good spells of possession forcing many corners but unable to direct the headed chances towards the goal. 

The failure to convert the chances came to haunt Rhyl in the 59th minute when from a Gresford free kick 35 yards out the ball was floated to the Rhyl right and the defence failed to deal with the ball with the ball, and the ball come back across the 6 yard box to an unmarked Sam Molyneux who was presented with an open goal to make it 2-0 to Gresford.

Once again the main dangers for Rhyl came from headers with Barry Torrence and Danny Sullivan going close and inevitablity it was from a header that the breakthrough for Rhyl was made.  A ball from a Rhyl corner was met by Barry Torrence who powered his header home in the 73rd minute to give the Lilywhites hope. A minute later Rhyl should have equalised after a good run by Gareth Partridge into the box brokedown the Gresford defence and his lay off to Torrence was moved right to the advancing James Murphy but his shot was smothered by Ben Jones.

Rhyl's hopes of a comeback were ended in the 82nd minute as defensive decision making let Rhyl down.  Danny Sullivan attempted to shadow the ball out of play but the Gresford attack was able to disposses the defender who lost possesion and balance allowing the attacker to square the ball to Keiran Evans who was able to apply a sharp finish from close range to grab Gresford's third goal.

Late chances came to Kristian Pierce and then Mike Pritchard in injury time before the final whistle blew and Gresford celebrated a win over Rhyl.

For the hosts the defensive performance brought back memories of indecision during pre-season friendlies and the Management team will be required to stress the importance of playing the right ball in defensive situations.   For Rhyl the early table sees the positions 2nd to 12th seperated by 2 points illustrating the unpredictable nature of the league so far. However with leaders Airbus extending their lead to seven points after their win over Bangor City the need to eliminate such defensive frailities will be clear to the Management Team if the club is to mount a serious challenge.

Starting Line Up

1
Rory Crowther
2
Joe Culshaw
4
Max Peate
22
Liam Smith
(46')
5
Danny Sullivan
8
Dave McIntyre
(23')
21
Gareth Partridge
7
Kristian Pierce
10
Mike Pritchard
19
Barry Torrence
11
James Murphy
(78')

Substitues

25
Jonathan Hill-Dunt
24
Cai Owen
(46')
17
Aaron Hassall
(78')
18
Matthew Cook
(23')
20
James Stead