FT: Rhyl 2-1 Bangor City (Cymru Alliance)
Bangor lost at Belle Vue, undeservedly perhaps on the balance of play and chances but if you defend badly and waste good opportunities defeat is the likely outcome. Not the start new manager Taylor Fletcher would have wanted but with the league season effectively over he has time to plan and rebuild.
City stuck with the team which had beaten a poor Prestatyn side a week earlier and kicked off attacking the Grange Road (Social Club) end.
They might have been surprised by the energy and workrate of a committed Rhyl side for whom the veteran Matthew Cook excelled in midfield alongside youngsters Joe Sullivan and Aaron Hassall.
Maverick referee Nick Pratt, sporting a Movember Moustache, upset the blues followers by awarding the home side an early corner which his linesman had not seen. But it was Bangor who fired the first warning shot as Robbie Parry burst in from the right but blazed over.
Referee Pratt was the centre of attention moments later as Les Davies’ inadvertently poleaxed Max Peate with a very high foot. It seemed unintentional and the official flashed yellow when red was a real fear.
On the quarter hour the best chance of the match so far for Rhyl as Mike Pritchard headed over at the back post from Aaron Hassall’s cross. Five minutes later left wing back Jacob Farleigh fired as shot against the woodwork.
But on 24 minutes the hosts when ahead. Jordan Piggott did well to block an intial effort from James Murphy but the former Newtown winger crashed home the rebound from eight yards. Murphy can be inconsistent but on his day he is The Lilywhites chief attacking threat, and so it proved.
City won a freekick as Reece Fairhurst was carded for a foul on Alex Darlington which the former Wrexham man claimed but fired wide. Bangor won a couple of corners which came to nothing as the home sdie continued to graft in midfield. Some comments amongst City fans about the state of the Belle Vue pitch.
Without doubt City will not play on a better surface outside Nantporth for the next four or five months. Read into that what you will. The blues also won and wasted a couple of long range freekicks largely through poor delivery.
Three minutes before the break a Rhyl freekick just inside the Bangor half led to a City breakaway led by Alex Darlington but Fairhurst did well to recover on the edge of his box and the chance fizzled out.
So a half time deficit for blues boss Gary Taylor Fletcher to contemplate. City had been unsettled by the hard working Rhyl youngsters in midfield and allowed Matty Cook for too much time. He needed ratting out but the customary ratter-in-chief Yalany Baio was restrained.
Could the words of wisdom raise the bar for City after the break…
HALF TIME 1-0
No changes at the interval. City took the game by the scruff of the neck and should have been level inside ten minutes if not sooner.
A high ball down the left to Les Davies was headed on for Jacob Farleigh to cross but Robbie Parry headed over. Then a slip by Mac Peate let Alex darlington in on goal but he fired weakly at Hill Dunt. On 52 minutes Marc Williams fashioned a cross from the right but Alex Darlington this time headed wide.
With that initial onslaught survived Rhyl pushed forwards and the veteran Cook shot towards the near post from the right but Bulmer saved well, the resulting corner was cleared.
City on a fourth corner of the afternoon which resulted in Marc Williams having his effort cleared off the line. Next a yellow card for Robbie Parry who was out of sorts on the right.
Alex Darlington again failed to convert a decent chance as he scuffed his shot on goal, but moments later Rhyl might have doubled their advantage as a sliced clearance from goalkeeper Bulmer fell invitingly for Gareth Partridge but the heavily tattoed midfielder fired well wide from distance.
On 59 minutes a first chance for City as Sam Jones replaced Jacob Farleigh. This seems to co-incide with a change of shape as Jake Phillips slotted in at rightback, Jones in front of him, Marc Williams to leftback and Parry to left wing. Rhyl won and largely wasted a third corner of the evening.
Five minutes later the lively Jones got on the end of a good passing move from City but his shot on target lacked any real conviction. On 69 minutes former blue Joe Culshaw came on for Aaron Hassall who had worked hard in midfield. Moments later a high cross from Marc Williams out on the right cleared Hill Dunt but Robbie Parry fired narrowly wide and across goal.
Rhyl replaced Gareth Partridge with former Denbigh schemer Kristian Pearce on 73 minutes as they waited to take their fourth corner.
But on 75 minutes City deservedly drew level. Substitute Sam Jones got the better of Joe Culshaw on the right, fired goalwards and although Hill Dunt saved he could do nothing to prevent Alex Darlington from crashing home from six yards.
A yellow card for a weary Mike Pritchard for a foul on Jordan Piggott but next a freekick from Rhyl some fourty yards out to the left. City made a fine hash of clearing the danger and defender Max Peate guided the ball wide of Bulmer to the delight of the Rhyl fans at the Grange End.
Bangor promptly sent on Alex Boss for Les Davies who in fairness had led the line well. Boss took a left wing position. Rhyl replaced Mike pritchard with Liam Chambers.
Boss immediately got the better of rightback Owen and sent over a tempting low cross but no one anticipated. A sign that luck was well and truly against City came moments later as Mike Williams crossed from the left and watched in agony as the ball again hit the woodwork and bounced to safety.
A yellow card for Jordan Piggott was followed by Jake Phillips long throw down the right which led to a corner. The ensuing cross was punched away virtually from under his own crossbar and City were done. Owen, Murphy and Chambers had half chances for Rhyl as five minutes of added time were played out without serious threat on Dunt’s goal.
Defeat for City, the end of a long winning sequence, luckless perhaps but credit The Lilywhites for their attitude and application from start to finish.
Holyhead in the Welsh Cup on Friday night…