Rhyl FC
Rhyl FC
The Lilywhites

Date Added 07/09/2017

The Huws Gray Alliance starts again on Saturday 9th September with the eagerly awaited visit of Caernarfon Town to the Corbett Sports Stadium. Rhyl will be keen to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and are expected to face a tough challenge against a Caernarfon side which won the league in the 2015/2016 season and were runners up to Prestatyn Town last season.

Looking ahead

After training on Thursday night we spoke to Niall about the Caernarfon match and an update on squad news including the return of Alex Jones and Alex Titchiner, the absence of Tom Hartley and confirmation of international clearance for French based attacker Chris Boungou.

 

Looking Back

The visit of Caernarfon Town will be the first league encounter between the two sides since the 2008-09 season when the Lilywhites enjoyed doing the double over the Gwynedd team.

The first encounter came at The Oval when we travelled in mid August. A first half George Horan goal gave the Lilywhites a 1-0 win in front of a crowd of 374. The game at Belle Vue was in February 2009 with Rhyl emerging as 4-0 winners. A Greg Strong goal in the 25th minute gave Rhyl the lead and Luke Holden added a second in the 40th minute. The second half saw a 54th minute goal from Paul O’Neil before Mark Connolly was on hand to grab the fourth for Rhyl in the 87th minute in front of a crowd of 446 as the Lilywhites secured another win on their way to the Welsh Premier League.

For the Canaries their fortunes dipped as they finished bottom of the league that season and were relegated to the Huws Gray Alliance for the 2009/10 season. Their fortunes went from bad to worse as they ended the season in 16th position and faced relegation for a second consecutive season. This saw the side which competed with Rhyl in the Northern Premier League end up in the Welsh Alliance 1st Division for the 2010-2011 season.

The long return for Caernarfon 

It took Caernarfon three seasons to emerge from the league. A fifth place finish in their first season was followed by a runners up spot behind Champions Holyhead Hotspur. However in 2012-2013 the Canaries claimed top spot with 21 wins out of 28 finishing ahead of Denbigh Town and Holywell Town in a very competitive 3rd tier league.

For the four seasons since they have been amongst the top three in the Huws Gray Alliance. The first season saw a third place finish behind champions Cefn Druids and runners up Conwy Borough, and then the following season they finished runners up to Llandudno. In 2015-16 season they went one better winning the league by 9 points ahead of Cefn Druids. However off the field issues prevented the Canaires from securing the required domestic licence to progress to the Welsh Premier League.
Last season saw the club earn the license but a slow start saw them quickly lose contact with runaway leaders Prestatyn Town and they had to settle for the runners up slot.

Matches last season

Last season also saw the two teams clash in the MG Nathaniel Cup in early September and then in the JD Welsh Cup in January at the Oval. Rhyl won the first Cup match 5-1 with a Rio Ahmadi double and goals from Tom Hartley and Kristian Pierce together with an own goal. The clash in January in front of the Sgorio cameras created one of the games of the season as the hosts pulled off a 3-2 victory in extra time in front of 1,1185 spectators. Goals from Steve Lewis and Stefan Halewood twice brought the Lilywhites level before a Carl Owen goal in extra time clinched a win for the Canaries. Caernarfon went on to the Semi Finals of the Cup where they took the lead against Bala Town and were on course for a shock win before three late Bala goals saw them reach the final and an eventual first win of the JD Welsh Cup.

Focus on the opponents

As ever one of the danger men for Caernarfon Town is likely to be Darren Thomas, or as he is known locally “the Cofi Messi”. The lively player recently scored a last minute winner in the Gwynedd derby against Porthmadog last week to send the visiting fans home happy. Thomas was the scorer of one of the most infamous goals at The Oval in recent years when his goal to put Caernarfon two nil up against The New Saints in the Welsh Cup saw a wall behind the goal collapse under the weight of the celebrations from the adoring home fans. A familiar face for the visitors will be goalkeeper Alex Ramsey who played for Rhyl during the Huws Gray Alliance winning season and made the step up to the Welsh Premier League. This will be Alex’s second appearance of the season at the Corbett Sports Stadium. The first being his role as Academy coach for Shrewsbury Town when we hosted them in pre-season.