Many older Rhyl FC fans who yearn for a return to
the English pyramid system no doubt fondly remember the days when the
club made their mark in the FA Cup.
The Lilywhites played more than 200 matches in the world-famous
knockout competition before their involvement ended in 1991/92 prior to
returning to Welsh football.
After seeing off Ashton United 1-0 in a replay in the preliminary
stage and beating Newtown by the same score in the first qualifying
round, Rhyl said goodbye to the FA Cup for the final time with a
disappointing 2-0 defeat at Colwyn Bay on September 28, 1991.
Nonetheless, the Belle Vue club had created a number of special
memories in the oldest national football competition in the world.
Here are two of the very best.
Notts County 1 Rhyl 3 (FA Cup third round 1956/57)
Regarded by many as the greatest performance ever by a Welsh non-league side in the FA Cup.
More than 16,000 were at Meadow Lane to see Football League Third
Division Notts County humbled by the Cheshire County League Lilywhites.
The North Wales side, who took to the field to the tune of Men of
Harlech, had last played in the third round when they lost to Darlington
2-1 in 1927.
The visitors took the lead at Notts County after 20 minutes when
Harry Williams lobbed the home defenders and found the net. Eight
minutes from the interval left winger Peter Bircumshaw levelled.
On the hour Rhyl made it 2-1 when Graham Meakin was upended in the box and Billy Hughes scored from the spot.
Meakin headed in Rhyl’s third in the closing stages to seal a memorable victory for the Cheshire League underdogs.
Rhyl took more than 2,000 fans to Nottingham for what proved an amazing occasion.
In the next round, the Belle Vue men were defeated 3-0 at Division Two Bristol City.
Rhyl: Hanson, Reynolds, Spruce, Roberts, Donaldson, Meakin, H Williams, J Williams, Russell, Hughes, Rogers.
Notts County: Linton, Southwell, Cruickshank, Russell, Loxley, McGrath, Carver, Wills, Wylie, Bircumshaw, Lane.
Barnsley 0 Rhyl 2 (FA Cup second round, second replay 1970/71)
Dic Jones’ Lilywhites were back page news in national tabloids after
goals by Eurwyn Davies and Laurie Davies saw off Third Division Barnsley
in an FA Cup second round, second replay at Old Trafford on December
At the previous stage, Rhyl had eliminated another Football League
outfit in Hartlepool United, a Mick Metcalf goal sealing a 1-0 first
Next up were Barnsley, against whom the first two clashes finished
0-0 and 1-1 before Rhyl proudly progressed 2-0 in the third encounter.
Some older Lilies fans argue none of the three games were classics
and that their team executed many bigger giant-killings in their
illustrious FA Cup history.
Sadly, Rhyl were hammered 6-1 in the third round by Swansea City, who went on to meet eventual losing finalists Liverpool.
Rhyl: Grenville Millington, Dave Congerton, Phil Weston, Howard Smart, John Evans, Jimmy Curran, Laurie Davies, Eurwyn Davies, Percy Allen, Mick Metcalf and David Evans.
Rhyl FC’s FA Cup record 1898-1991
Best performance: 4th round proper 1956/57.