Rhyl 2-0 Port Talbot Town
Recent signing Daniel Thomas made his competitive debut for Port Talbot Town as manager Mark Jones replaced the injured Lee John with the former Goytre United forward and it was Thomas’s performance that would be one of the few positives for the side on the day. Port Talbot struggled for possession in the opening exchanges and were second best to the Rhyl defence when they did manage to push forward against the Welsh Premier League champions. Drew Fahiya caused early problems for Rhyl but could not turn his possession into an opening goal.
Thomas and Barrow also went close with long-range efforts but Rhyl soon setteld and began to dominate for long periods. Former Rhyl goalkeeper Lee Kendall was called into action midway through the opening half to save a shot from Luke Holden but on 32 minutes Rhyl took the lead when Matthew Williams had space to head a corner from Holden past Kendall. With the visitors heads down Rhyl increased their advantage ten minutes later when on-loan Macclesfield Town winger Tyrone Kirk crossed for returning striker Lee Hunt to score with a header at the back post. Port Talbot started the second half slowly prompting Mark Jones to make a treble substitution on 65 minutes as Gareth Phillips, Lloyd Grist and namesake Mark Jones replaced Martin Rose, Liam McCreesh and Karl Lewis.
It was Jones who had the biggest impact on the match for the visitors as he rattled the crossbar in one of the sides rare attacking moves. Rhyl continued to dominate for large periods however and although they could not increase their advantage although they had a number of opportunities to do so as Port Talbot struggled for possession. A solid display at the back by the home side maintained their lead as they claimed a convincing victory against a disappointing performance from the visitors.
31st August 2009 – Western Mail
Rhyl signing Tyrone Kirk shows class in victory
In winning the Welsh Premier title last season, Rhyl were defeated just twice, one of those losses in the corresponding fixture with Port Talbot. There was never a chance of a repeat as the Lilywhites, despite recent concerns as to their financial viability and a mass exodus of players, look well capable of another title tilt. It’s very much a case of quality rather than quantity at Belle Vue, clearly illustrated with the acquisition of Tyrone Kirk, signed this week on loan from Macclesfield Town. Kirk made a magnificent debut and will terrorise many an apposition defence this season and Luke Holden, who is attracting big-club interest, is another player of immense skill.
He was widely-tipped to join Coventry City, but, although interest from that quarter appears to have cooled somewhat, Charlton Athletic are the latest on his trail after a week spent there on trial. Rhyl’s player-manager Greg Strong was rightly delighted with his team’s latest triumph against one of the top tier’s rising clubs. “First half, we moved the ball around very well,” he said. “We were in a different class during that period and I feel all the hard work put in on the training field is beginning to show dividends.” Port Talbot keeper Lee Kendall, one of the Rhyl players to exit in the summer, made a magnificent save to tip over a beautifully-struck Holden drive early on, but he was beaten in the 32nd minute. Matthew Williams was the goal scorer with a neat glancing header from Holden’s astute delivery – and the visitors were hit again just before the interval. This time it was Kirk, a constant menace to Scott Barrow, who delivered a quality ball to the far post leaving Lee Hunt to finish off with a great header. Hunt was denied what looked a valid penalty when he was bundled over in the box and shortly after he was superbly denied by Kendall. But Strong was guilty of missing the clearest chance after Kirk set him up in front of an empty net.
Port Talbot boss Mark Jones, whose team have suffered just three defeats in 28 starts under his reign, acknowledged Rhyl’s success was thoroughly deserved. He said “They are a good side, strong at the back and with some excellent players up front and this lad Kirk is going to be a handful for any side. After last season’s loss to us, I’m sure Rhyl were really up for this one. They are going to end up in the top two, I’ve no doubt. But we kept plugging away. Martin Rose had a great chance from five yards and Mark Jones hit a beauty from 25 yards and, had it gone in, who knows? We now have to bounce back quickly as we have two important games this week, at Carmarthen in the League cup and The New Saints at home on Saturday.”
30th August 2009 – Wales on Sunday
Lilywhites put on unblemished show
Lee Kendall had a disappointing return to Belle Vue as his new club Port Talbot went down 2-0 to the team the ex-Wales Under-21 keeper won the Welsh Premier League title with last season. The Steelmen threatened first when Danny Thomas found Martin Rose in the box, but the striker’s shot lost its sting thanks to a timely George Horan challenge. Rhyl full-back Greg Stones soon made a good break from his own half and picked out Luke Holden, whose 30-yard screamer flew wide.
Kendall reminded the Lilywhites faithful of what they will be missing this season when he produced a fantastic tip-over from a Holden 25-yard rocket on 18 minutes. Opposite number Paul Pritchard was then called into action as he kept out a fierce right-foot drive from Danny Thomas. But the Lilies were steadily turning the screw and they deservedly took the lead on 32 minutes when Matthew Williams scored with a glancing header from a Holden corner. Three minutes before the break the home side’s impressive new signing Tyrone Kirk taunted full-back Scott Barrow before lofting a sublime ball to the back post, where Lee Hunt skilfully headed home number two. Kirk terrorised the Port defence again minutes after the restart but was unable to keep down the final shot.
Rhyl were denied a blatant penalty when Barrow shoved over Hunt in the box, then an instant volley from the Lilywhites striker was comfortably saved by Kendall. It looked easier to score when on 63 minutes Kirk arrowed the ball on to the head of player-manager Greg Strong, who somehow missed the target. Eight minutes from time Mark Connolly let fly with a free-kick for the champions but Kendall was able to palm the ball away from goal.
29th August 2009 – www.rhylfc.co.uk
Great display sees Rhyl win
A great team display from Rhyl earned the Lilywhites a well deserved win, with debutant Tyrone Kirk making a glittering debut. Rhyl almost took the lead after 15 minutes when Luke Holden’s fierce strike was tipped over the bar by ex-lilywhite Lee Kendall. Luke Holden’s corner on 32 minutes was met by Matthew Williams who glanced his header to the far post to open the scoring.
Lee Hunt scored three minutes before the break to put Rhyl in a comfortable lead when his looping header from Kirk’s cross found it’s way past Kendall. Both sides had chances throughout the second half. Paul Pritchard saved Daniel Thomas’ shot and a shot from Mark Jones hit the crossbar, while at the other end Greg Strong and George Horan both went close to scoring.
Principality Welsh Premier League
Saturday, 29th August 2009
at Belle Vue, Rhyl
Rhyl 2-0 Port Talbot Town
Matthew Williams (32 minutes)
Lee Hunt (42 minutes)
Port Talbot Town
Referee – Mr Huw Jones
Team – Paul Pritchard, Mark Connolly, Greg Stones, George Horan, Greg Strong, John Leah, Tyrone Kirk, Gareth Owen, Lee Hunt, Matthew Williams, Luke Holden
Subs – Dave Cameron (Unused), Martyn Naylor (rep Holden – 84), Shaun Dowling (Unused)
Yellow Cards – Luke Holden (23) Red Cards – None
Goalscorers – Matthew Williams (32), Lee Hunt (42)
Port Talbot Town
Team – Lee Kendall, Leigh De-Vulgt, Scott Barrow, Karl Lewis, Matthew Rees, Lee Surman, Daniel Thomas, Neil Thomas, Martin Rose, Liam McCreesh, Drew Fahiya
Subs – Gareth Phillips (rep Rose – 65)), Lloyd Grist (rep McCreesh – 65), Mark Jones (rep Lewis – 65)
Yellow Cards – Leigh De-Vulgt (15). Liam McCreesh (25) Red Cards – None
Goalscorers – None
Attendance – 414