Rhyl FC
Rhyl FC
The Lilywhites

Match Preview - Rhyl v Denbigh Town - Huws Gray Cup

13 September 2018

Friday night sees the hotly awaited first clash of the season between Rhyl and Denbigh. (kick off 7.45pm not 7.30 as originally announced)

When the draw was made for the 1st round of the Huws Gray Cup in June the tie that drew everyone’s attention was the visit of Denbigh Town to Rhyl. The draw was made shortly after the managerial merry go round which saw Eddie Maurice Jones swap the red of Denbigh for the white of Rhyl. Heading to Denbigh was Matthew Jones, Rhyl’s Assistant Manager / Manager for the last 2 season’s to take up the joint managerial reigns at Central Park.

As the pre-season began to take shape with signings being announced a significant number of players agreed to leave Denbigh and in particular join Rhyl. Joe Culshaw, Danny Sullivan, Kristian Pierce, Matthew Worrall, Ben Nash, Matthew Cook, Gareth Partridge, Liam Smith and Jonathan Hill Dunt have all left Denbigh over the summer to sign up for Rhyl.

Moving the other way were Tony Davies and Sam Downey with another ex-Rhyl player Curtis Langton joining Davies in the defence. Another ex Lilywhite, Patrick Hinchliffe, has signed for Denbigh recently. Patrick has been overseas in New Zealand and subject to international clearance will play for Denbigh.

Looking Ahead

Last Saturday saw a disappointing defeat to Gresford, the club Eddie Maurice Jones managed before moving to Denbigh. Overshadowing the result was the injury to Dave MacIntyre and Eddie Maurice Jones stated “following the unfortunate injury Dave MacIntyre sustained last week, we were all devastated. We wish him all the very best and a speedy recovery.”

In looking ahead to the Cup clash he commented that “after a disappointing performance last week, the team and myself have put a lot of effort in to get things right for our next match. The fixture against Denbigh will be another tough game with similar circumstances as the Gresford encounter in terms of the connections between the two clubs.” In terms of the lessons learned from Saturday he was clear that “we must learn quickly that we cannot let our emotions effect our performance. We must rise above any distractions and not be sidetracked.”

In terms of what he expects from Friday night’s performance he stated that “I believe if we show more responsibility and cut out our minor mistakes in our defence display, we will gain the rewards. We are creating chances as a team but we need to be more composed to capitalise on our chances. This is what we are aiming to promote on Friday night and return to what we know the team is capable of. It will be great to see some familiar faces from Denbigh, whom I have a lot of respect for. They have shown what they are capable of this season which is already proving to be very competitive.”

The Huws Gray Cup brought mixed emotions for Rhyl last season. Mark Connolly’s first win as Caretaker Manager came at FC Queens Park and in the next round Llandudno Junction were defeated 8-0. However concerns were raised over the eligibility of James Murphy, who scored 4 goals, and Rhyl were eliminated from the Cup, eventually won by Flint Town United on penalties.

Previous Encounters

Denbigh’s last visit to Rhyl came in December 2017 in what turned out to be a crazy afternoon. The scoring started in the 34th minute when ex Rhyl player Josh Davies opened the scoring and Warren Duckett doubled the advantage six minutes later. Rhyl Caretaker Manager Mark Connolly took matters into his own hands and brought the Lilywhites back into the game with a rapid fire double to make it 2-2 at the break.

In the 53rd minute Rhyl took the lead through Phil Marsh and looked to be on course for the win as they pressed for a 4th. However Kristian Pierce grabbed an equaliser in the 69th minute as the game became very open. With both sides pressing on Joe Culshaw put Denbigh in the lead from a free kick and in the closing minutes Josh Davies grabbed his second and Denbigh’s fifth to clinch a 5-3 win.

Current Form

So far this season Denbigh’s new squad has taken time to settle having lost the majority of last season’s players. An opening weekend 3-1 defeat at home to Gresford was followed by a 3-1 loss at home to Flint. Then a defeat in their Derby Day clash away to Ruthin Town left Denbigh pointless in advance of the visit of Bangor City. However goals by Sam Jones and Mark Roberts gave Denbigh a two goal lead but Bangor levelled it up with goals either side of the break. A 58th minute Rhys Llwyd goal was enough to clinch Denbigh’s first win of the season. A 4-1 defeat at newly promoted Conwy Borough followed before a draw last weekend at home to Penrhyncoch which leaves them in 15th place in the table after the opening six games.