My 10 favourite games at Belle Vue – Dave Jones

Sport, Football, pic: 29th August 1988, Mercantile Credit Centenary Trophy, Neville Southall, Everton goalkeeper, Neville Southall played for Everton 1981-1998 and also won 92 Wales international caps between 1982-1998 (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Neville Southall played for Everton 1981-1998 and won 92 Wales international caps. In 2001-02 he made seven appearances for Rhyl FC. (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Yes, I know I did 10 great games at Belle Vue recently but they weren’t ALL my favourites! 😀

Here’s a personal list of my most memorable visits to BV covering the Lilywhites.

Nos 9 and 10 might make more interesting reading than some others!

1 Rhyl 5 Prestatyn Town 5 (Prestatyn won 4-3 on pens)

Okay, apologies this 2012-13 NWCFA Challenge Cup Final did not end in a Rhyl win, but it was the most thrilling match I ever saw at Belle Vue.

The teams finished 5-5 after extra time, Steve Lewis scoring a hat-trick for the Lilies and Dave Forbes a tremendous volley, but the Seasiders triumphed on pens.

Rhyl had won the Challenge Cup a record 15 times, while for Prestatyn it was a first success in the competition.

2 Rhyl 2 Swansea City 0

This WAS a Rhyl win – and what a result!

A very strong Swansea outfit from Football League Division Three were outplayed by rampant Rhyl in this FAW Premier Cup semi-final at BV.

An own goal from Alan Tait and a Steve Walters piledriver secured a home win in front of a 2,379 crowd.

3 Rhyl 5 Llanelli 1

Neil Roberts struck twice to sink Llanelli

Can’t remember a better Rhyl performance than this at Belle Vue as they took the reigning champions apart in 2008-09.

Goals from Greg Strong and Jamie Reed made it 2-1 at half time, then Neil Roberts (2) and Josh Johnson sealed the points in the second period.

4 Rhyl 3 FC Haka 1

Joy for the home fans in the 2007-08 Uefa Cup as Rhyl produced surely their best display in Europe at home to Finns Haka.

Despite trailing to an early goal, the Lilywhites hit back brilliantly to lead at the break through Andy Moran and Lee Hunt, then Craig Garside made it 3-1 in the second stanza.

5 Rhyl Ladies 3 Caernarfon Ladies 2

Emily Jones (facing) first made her mark for Rhyl in a cracking Welsh Cup tie

Never forget that Rhyl Ladies provided some great entertainment at Belle Vue, including this thrilling Welsh Cup win over Caernarfon in 2016-17.

Teenage super sub Emily Jones grabbed a double for the Lilywhites, including a decider when she lashed the ball into the roof of the net at the back post.

This was a stunner of a game and the fans created a great atmosphere.

6 Rhyl 1 Bangor City 2

Left to right: Bangor City’s Simon Davies pulls Sartid’s Boris Vaskovic’s shirt as Citizens’ Owain Tudur Jones watches (Photo by John Walton/EMPICS via Getty Images)

One of my earliest games covering Rhyl in the Welsh Cup and very special for me in the fact hero Neville Southall was in goal for the Lilywhites, while ex-Manchester United midfielder Simon Davies starred for City.

It was the first time I’d seen a really massive crowd at Belle Vue and the Citizens followers more than played their part, one of their fans doing a ‘streak’ onto the pitch.

Davies scored both for Bangor, one an absolute beauty that big Nev wouldn’t have stopped even in his prime. Gareth Wilson responded for the Lilies.

7 Rhyl 2 Bangor City 2 (Rhyl won on pens)

Rhyl’s Chris McGinn (Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images)

A Rhyl win this time! And it was a huge occasion for John Hulse’s Lilywhites as they pipped the auld enemy on spot kicks in the 2002-03 Welsh Premier League Cup final.

It was 2-2 in normal time, Andy Moran and Chris McGinn the Lilies hitmen, so it went down to pens and Rhyl did the business to secure their first major trophy in Welsh football for around 50 years.

Again, a magical atmosphere. The first silverware of the Hulse era and one felt something special was being built.

8 Rhyl 2 TNS 1

Mark Connolly

It was amazing to see Rhyl win the Welsh Premier title at home in 2008-09.

The previous occasion, in 2003-04, the trophy was lifted at Porthmadog.

This time it was in front of 1,514 spectators at BV against long-time rivals TNS.

Neil Roberts and Mark Connolly provided the goals on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

9 Rhyl 5 Stoke City 3 (or was it 4-2!)

Kris Commons in his days at Stoke City (Photo by Barrington Coombs/EMPICS via Getty Images)

There’s a few discrepancies here. This friendly took place before the 2003-04 season in which Rhyl went on to complete a quadruple.

Stoke are a fantastic club for keeping stats, and on their website the result of this game is recorded as Rhyl 4 Stoke City 2. I was covering this match and could have sworn it was 5-3, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it.

All I remember is Stoke sent a very strong team to Belle Vue and their scorers were striker Chris Iwelumo, who went on to play for Scotland and feature for Wolves in the Premier League, and Kris Commons, at the time a little-known midfielder at Stoke, but who later starred for Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Celtic, where he scored 64 goals in 147 appearances.

Commons also earned 12 Scotland caps, scoring twice for his country.

Pretty handy pub question that….which two former Scotland internationals scored in a friendly for Stoke City at Belle Vue in the early 2000s?

As for Rhyl’s scorers, yes you’ve guessed it…..I’ve forgotten! I am pretty sure Andy Moran bagged three though.

The Lilywhites were awesome against a Stoke outfit packed with first-teamers.

I was in a right state of excitement afterwards, thinking Rhyl might go on to do something that season if they played like that! And they did.

10 Rhyl 4 Wrexham 1

Wrexham’s Lee Trundle (l) is congratulated by teammate Darren Ferguson after giving his side the lead. Trundle secured a move to Wrexham after scoring a hat-trick against them for Rhyl in 2001 (Photo by Barrington Coombs/EMPICS via Getty Images)

Another friendly, this one played in February 2001 for some reason. Something to do with the Peter Parry-Wrexham connection I think.

It wasn’t any old game, though, as Rhyl whipped the Football League club 4-1 with a Mr Lee Trundle netting three goals for the hosts.

In no time at all, Wrexham boss Brian Flynn had signed Trundle for a five-figure sum, and the popular front-man pocketed seven goals in his first four games for the Dragons.

He then, of course went on to shine at Swansea City, Leeds United and Bristol City.

But for Rhyl FC, and that night he sank Wrexham at Belle Vue, the now Swansea ambassador might never have got a stab at the fame game.

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