North Wales football’s greatest stories – No17: Rhyl FC’s FA Cup heroics

A Rhyl FC programme from the 1970-71 season provided by Mark Jones. Mark is always interested in buying old programmes. If you have anything you think may be of interest e-mail Mark at or call him on 07753 966805

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)

A copy of the programme cover for the Barnsley v Rhyl FA Cup second round, second replay at Old Trafford, kindly provided by Mark Jones.
Mark is always interested in buying old programmes. If you have anything you think may be of interest e-mail Mark at or call him on 07753 966805

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 21, 1970.

At the previous stage, Rhyl had eliminated another Football League outfit in Hartlepool United, a Mick Metcalf goal sealing a 1-0 first round triumph.

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

Played 217

Won 113

Drawn 33

Lost 71

Best performance: 4th round proper 1956/57.

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