Rhyl v Prestatyn Town remains a big crowd puller in era of dwindling attendances

Rhyl (white) and Prestatyn Town do battle at Belle Vue. Picture: James Curran

While attendance figures across North Wales football have hardly pulled up any trees over the past couple of seasons, one fixture has remained a consistent crowd-puller.

Despite the fact Rhyl and Prestatyn Town have both dropped into the second-tier Cymru North in recent times, they still manage to attract good turnouts whenever they meet.

The latest bumper audience came on Saturday, when 976 packed into the Motion Finance Stadium to see league leaders Prestatyn edge a 1-0 win over their Denbighshire rivals.

The coastal foes only started meeting on a regular basis at first-team league level back in 2008-09, after Town pulled off a minor miracle by getting promoted to the Welsh Premier.

The first derby saw a massive 2,126 flock through the gates at Belle Vue to see a Rhyl side bound for championship glory that season wallop the Seasiders 7-2.

Four months later, the Lilies triumphed 4-1 at Bastion Gardens, but since that campaign, subsequent clashes between the teams have been much closer.

In Welsh Premier showdowns, Rhyl never lost to Prestatyn, winning four and drawing four.

Since both renewed acquaintances in the Cymru North, however, Town have won two out of four derbies.

While Rhyl have enjoyed superiority overall in league games, leading by five wins to two, with five draws, Prestatyn have recorded some memorable cup victories over the Lilywhites in the current century, including a Welsh Cup quarter-final penalties success, as well as notable triumphs in the NWCFA Challenge Cup final, plus an earlier round of that competition.

The teams also locked horns regularly in the Welsh Premier League Cup during their top-flight spells.

Here is a look back at all of the Rhyl v Prestatyn league meetings, including attendances in each of the 12 fixtures.

Welsh Premier League
Rhyl 7 Prestatyn Town 2
December 27, 2008: Attendance 2126

The first-ever league derby between these coastal rivals was watched by a massive crowd of 2,126 – what chance of us ever seeing that type of figure again?
Prestatyn used three keepers – Jon Hill-Dunt, who was sent off in the 25th minute for bringing down Carl Owen, player-manager Neil Gibson and then Andy Davies in the second half.
Rhyl were 5-0 up by half-time, goals from Jamie Reed, Matty Williams (pen), Josh Johnson and a Gareth Owen double putting them in total command.
The Lilywhites went off the boil after the break, Reed and Paul O’Neill adding a sixth and seventh for them late on, while Town also grabbed two consolations in the closing minutes from Ian Griffiths and Steve Harris.

Welsh Premier League
Prestatyn Town 1 Rhyl 4
April 13, 2009: Attendance 1280

Rhyl put one hand on the Welsh Premier League title – which they were to clinch in their next game – by winning at Bastion Gardens.
Prestatyn fought hard in the first half and it was not until the 39th minute that the Lilywhites made the breakthrough, Gareth Owen scoring direct from a corner.
Greg Strong headed a second, but Michael Parker reduced the deficit before the break.
Rhyl applied most of the second half pressure, but only made the game safe with two late strikes from Luke Sherbon and Jamie Reed.

Welsh Premier League
Prestatyn Town 0 Rhyl 0
December 26, 2009: Attendance 762

Much had changed by the time the teams met the following season.
Prestatyn were finding their feet in the Welsh Premier, while Rhyl were not quite the same force they had been the previous campaign.
In a Bastion Gardens stalemate, Rhyl were reduced to 10 men just before half time when Lee Hunt lashed out at David Hayes and was red-carded.
Keepers dominated overall, Paul Pritchard making some good stops for the Lilywhites and Jon Hill-Dunt doing likewise for the Seasiders.

Goalkeeper Jon Hill-Dunt has been one of the most prominent figures in Prestatyn Town v Rhyl derbies over the years. Picture: Andrew Lincoln

Welsh Premier League
Rhyl 1 Prestatyn Town 1
January 2, 2010: Attendance 828

One man dominated this derby at Belle Vue – Prestatyn keeper Jon Hill-Dunt.
The Seasiders stopper made a series of top-class saves to frustrate the hosts.
Prestatyn took a 34th-minute lead when David Hayes got the final touch to a free kick from ex-Rhyl hero Andy Moran.
Rhyl finally levelled midway through the second half with a tremendous John Leah volley.
This was to be the last league meeting between the teams for a while as Rhyl were demoted at the end of the season due to administration issues.

Welsh Premier League
Prestatyn Town 0 Rhyl 0
December 26, 2013: Attendance 814

Honours ended even when a new-look Rhyl took the field at Bastion Gardens on their return to the WPL.
Both teams had chances, Andy Parkinson rattling the bar for Town and Steve Lewis seeing his effort cleared off the line by Prestatyn’s Sean Hessey.
It was another good afternoon for the keepers – Rhyl’s Alex Ramsay and Dave Roberts for the Seasiders.

Welsh Premier League
Rhyl 2 Prestatyn Town 1
January 1, 2014: Attendance 823

Rhyl produced a big second-half comeback to take maximum points at the Corbett Sports Stadium.
Prestatyn dominated the first half and took the lead just before the interval when Sean Hessey’s 30-yarder squirmed in under Rhyl keeper Alex Ramsay’s body.
The second half was a different tale, the Lilywhites levelling on 55 minutes when Paul McManus smashed in a penalty after Dave Hayes had brought down Steve Lewis.
And Lewis notched the winner on 61 minutes when he headed in a Matty Woodward cross.

Welsh Premier League
Rhyl 2 Prestatyn Town 2
December 27, 2014: Attendance 1017

A thrilling encounter saw Rhyl recover from two goals down to snatch a draw at the Corbett Sports Stadium.
Town struck first when Andy Parkinson’s close range shot was saved by Alex Ramsay, but Zyaac Edwards slid in to score.
Scott Williams produced a phenomenal double save from an Aaron Bowen header before the Seasiders went two-up on the half-hour when Liam Benson back-headed into his own net from Ross Stephens’s corner.
Crucially, Rhyl pulled one back before the break when Ryan Astles headed home from a flag-kick.
On 55 minutes Ashley Stott brought the Lilywhites level and either side could have won after that, with Prestatyn finishing the stronger.

Welsh Premier League
Prestatyn Town 1 Rhyl 2
January 2, 2015: Attendance 1028

An own goal from Prestatyn’s Dave Hayes handed Rhyl an unassailable lead in the latest Denbighshire derby.
In a match of few clear chances on a difficult surface, the Lilywhites edged ahead with a Jack Kenny header on 28 minutes.
Hayes then put past his own keeper in the 66th minute before Prestatyn finally raised their game and Ross Weaver’s cracker pulled one back 10 minutes from time.
It was to be Rhyl’s night, however, in front of the WPL’s biggest crowd of the campaign.

Huws Gray Alliance
Prestatyn Town 1 Rhyl 1
August 21, 2018: Attendance 653

The first-ever meeting at second-tier level between the two Denbighshire rivals ended all-square.
Matthew Worrall handed the Lilywhites a 19th minute lead and the visitors should have been further ahead – having one goal controversially ruled out – before the Seasiders equalised through Alex Jones on 81.
Rhyl finished with nine men after the late dismissal of James Stead plus the fact they lost Dave McIntyre to injury after already using three substitutes.

Huws Gray Alliance
Rhyl 0 Prestatyn Town 3
December 26, 2018: Attendance 834

Prestatyn celebrated a first-ever league win over Rhyl at first-team level in a Boxing Day battle.
Goals from Alex Jones, Danny Davies and Ian Griffiths – who scored in the first-ever league meeting between the sides back in 2008 – sent the Seasiders home cock-a-hoop.

Cymru North
Rhyl 2 Prestatyn Town 1
August 31, 2019: Attendance 540

Rhyl claimed the bragging rights in the local derby to halt the 100% record of neighbours Prestatyn Town in an entertaining clash at the Educate Group Stadium.
All the goals came in the first half. James Murphy gave the Lilywhites an early lead, Rob Hughes levelled against his old club, but Steve Thomas soon made it 2-1 to the hosts.

Prestatyn celebrate their winner in the latest Cymru North tussle with Rhyl. Picture: John Pickles

Cymru North
Prestatyn Town 1 Rhyl 0
December 28, 2019: Attendance 976

The highest attendance recorded in a tier-two clash between the coastal rivals was settled by a seventh-minute strike from Danny Davies.
Rory Crowther’s excellence in the Lilywhites goal denied the Seasiders further reward.
One of the game’s main talking points was the outstanding battling effort of a very young Rhyl side featuring several under-19 players.

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