Rhyl FC
Rhyl FC
The Lilywhites

Date Added 13/04/2018

This weekend sees the 2nd and 3rd place sides in the Huws Gray Alliance do battle as the Lilywhites will be travelling to Airbus for a 2.30pm match at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium. For both Rhyl and Airbus, the expected strong challenge for the title hasn’t materialised and both sides are destined for a second season in the Huws Gray Alliance with Caernarfon favourites to claim the top slot and promotion having secured a Tier 1 license last Friday.

Saturday will be Airbus’ last game of the season and the Lilywhites know a win is required to enable them to finish above their opponents. The Lilywhites have suffered frustration over the last few weeks with consecutive attempts to play Denbigh falling foul due to their Central Park ground being waterlogged.

The Lilywhites should have a near full strength squad to choose from with the 2 week break providing an opportunity for players such as James Murphy, who will be facing the team he made his breakthrough in the Welsh Premier League with, hoping to be fully recovered from the knock picked up at Holyhead last time out.

Rhyl Manager Matthew Jones is looking forward to the trip East to Airbus and the rare occasion in the Huws Gray Alliance of competing on a 3G playing surface. He commented "It’s always a good test against Airbus and although neither side can now gain promotion, we are certainly looking to win this game to keep our recent run going. It was a really good game at the Corbett Sports Stadium between the two sides in October and we are hoping we can achieve the same result. We think our style and the way we play will suit the surface but it is after all Airbus’ home ground so they have the advantage, we have to ensure we are at our best."

Recent Form

The Flintshire side are in second place, seven points behind Caernarfon having played two more games. When the two teams clashed at the end of October, Airbus were top of the league before a 3-1 win for Rhyl broke their rhythm. After that they won 1 of their next 6 games, a 4-3 win at home to Holyhead. During this spell Andrew Thomas stepped aside as first team manager with coach, Steve O’Shaughnessy taking over as Manager at the end of November. However since Christmas they have won 7 of their last 10 games, with the only defeats being away at Guilsfield and Caernarfon and a draw against Denbigh Town. This period has also seen considerable change amongst the Airbus playing staff with Wes Baynes, Luke Busumbru, John Davies and Damase Kiwanda all leaving the club with ex Llandudno players Lewis Buckley, Danny Taylor and David Roberts joining.

Recent encounters

Rhyl’s last 5 games against Airbus have seen the Lilywhites emerge victorious. In addition to the 3-1 win in October, Rhyl won all 4 clashes last season. The away games were in November and February. The 1st phase game in November brought a 3-0 win with an early Rob Hughes goal and a Carl Lamb double securing a welcome three points for Rhyl after 5 consecutive defeats. With both sides in the bottom half for the second phase the trip to Broughton in February saw Rhyl knowing that a win was essential to keep any hopes of survival alive. This time a run of 4 games without a win came to an end as goals from Toby Jones and Steve Lewis brought a welcome 3 points.

The previous season saw a 0-0 draw played out between the two sides in December after an earlier 1-0 league win for Rhyl at the Corbett Sport Stadium. Prior to that Airbus did the double during the 14/15 season claiming a 2-1 win at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium in October 2014. In the 24 games between both sides in the WPL, Rhyl had the upper hand winning 15m drawing 5 and losing on 4 occasions.