Rhyl FC
Rhyl FC
The Lilywhites

Match Preview - Caernarfon Town v Rhyl - HGA January 2018

12 January 2018

Rhyl face league leaders Caernarfon Town at The Oval on Saturday afternoon (kick off 2.30 pm) with the Lilywhites looking to return to winning ways after last weekend’s high scoring 4-5 defeat at home to Porthmadog. After the game Manager Matthew Jones acknowledged the need to address defensive issues and the club announced on Friday afternoon the capture of Will Bell from Bala Town who comes into contention in the match day squad for Saturday.

Phil Marsh is also in contention for a return to the squad after missing the Porthmadog match after picking up an injury against Holywell Town as the Lilywhites seek to keep the attacking verve which has seen them score 19 goals in the last 6 games, but tighten up at the back where they have conceded 14 goals in the same period.

First Team Manager Matthew Jones added “we are looking forward to this one, the players have worked hard all week and shown great attitude in addressing a number of aspects of our game. It’s been a good weeks training in preparation for the game against Caernarfon. In terms of the squad, it’s great to have Phil Marsh back in contention after his recent injury and this should provide a timely boost."

Matthew Jones also reflected on the addition to the squad announced today commenting “we are delighted to welcome Will Bell to the club who will go straight into the squad on Saturday. Will comes with an excellent pedigree and this signing shows the value of Mark Connolly’s contacts, having played with Will at Bala. This signing adds yet more competition for places, in a squad that we feel carries a certain level of strength in depth, with players knowing they have to perform to stay in the side. This has raised standards amongst the group and we envisage this signing have a similar impact.”

With competition for places high, a number of players who have missed out on first team duties in recent weeks are lined up to play for the Reserves against Llandudno Junction on Saturday at the Corbett Sports Stadium (ko 2pm) to ensure they remain fit ahead of the season run in.

Recent Form

After losing to Holyhead in the second game of the season the pre-season favourites have gone from strength to strength. The recent change in the managerial hot seat when Iwan Williams departed for Llandudno and the promotion of Sean Eardley appears to have made little difference as the squad has remained working towards the same target. The win in the third round of the JD Welsh Cup against Barry Town United spoke volumes for the Cofi’s and their reward in Round 4 is a game at home to The New Saints which could be another potential shock.

Over the last 6 matches, Caernarfon have picked up 12 points with 3 wins and 3 draws. The three draws all came on the road at Airbus in Sean Eardley’s first game in charge and in the last two games they have drawn at Holyhead and last weekend at Denbigh, where they came back from being 3-1 down to claim an injury time equaliser. Three wins have been picked up at The Oval against Holywell Town, Penrhyncoch and Porthmadog on Boxing Day.

Recent Matches

Although this will be the first visit in the League to The Oval since the 2008-09 season as many will recall we had two contrasting trips west last season. The MG Nathaniel Cup took Rhyl to The Oval in September 2016 and Niall McGuinness’ team ran out comfortable 5-1 winners with an own goal starting the scoring followed by a double by Rio Ahmadi and goals from Kristian Pierce and Tom Hartley. This win was part of the best run of the season when the Lilywhites went unbeaten in 6 games winning 5 of them putting the Lilywhites up to third place in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League.

January 2017 saw the second visit, this time in the JD Welsh Cup in front of the live Sgorio cameras and a bumper crowd of 1185. The match under the floodlights was seen as a classic having all the ingredients of a memorable match. The underdogs took the lead twice with Rhyl equalising through Steve Lewis and then through Stefan Halewood to take the tie into extra time. In the last 30 minutes the Lilywhites failed to make their man advantage count following the sending off of Nathan Craig, who arguably should have seen red earlier in the game, and a late Carl Owen goal sent the home supporters into wild celebrations. This defeat set the tone for the second half of the season and the eventual relegation.

The last league visit to The Oval was in August 2008 at the start of Rhyl’s Welsh Premier League winning season. A 1-0 win was secured following a 34th minute header by George Horan from a Gareth Owen free kick in front of a crowd of 384 at The Oval. Overall in clashes in the Welsh Premier League, Rhyl had the upper hand winning 7 of the 13 clashes with two draws and 4 defeats. In line with Rhyl’s history in the League our form changed heading in to the new millennium. The last win for Caernarfon came in November 2001 when they won 3-2 at The Oval. Since then Rhyl have won 6 of the 7 matches with one drawn before Caernarfon’s relegation at the end of the 2008/09 season.