Flashback – 5 years ago: Lewis hat-trick is key in seven-goal derby thriller

Wild celebrations after Bangor’s last-gasp winner from Steve Lewis (second from right)

Bangor City 4 (Lewis 55, 89 pen & 90+, Ahmadi 72)
Rhyl 3 (Clowes 26 OG, Wright 60, Mackin 78)
Welsh Premier League – January 29, 2016

It was only five years ago that Bangor City and Rhyl were still in the Welsh Premier League and providing derby classics like this seven-goal thriller at Nantporth.

Fast forward to 2021, and the Citizens are in the second-tier Cymru North, while the Lilywhites do not exist at all.

The long-standing Rhyl FC folded last year with a new club, CPD Y Rhyl 1879, having been born in the town but yet to kick a competitive ball due to coronavirus.

On January 29, 2016, the North Wales coast’s bitterest rivals kicked off their respective second phases of the WPL campaign both in the bottom-half Play-Off Conference – a sad state of affairs in itself.

Before kick-off, a well observed minute’s silence took place in memory of Councillor and Bangor supporter Eddie Dogan, who passed away earlier in the week.

Bangor forged the first clear chance when Chris Jones ran on goal but the dependable Terry McCormick stood firm.

There was little action in either goalmouth until the visitors took the lead in bizarre circumstances in the 26th minute.

Midfielder David Mannix launched a big diagonal into the box from halfway. City failed to clear and in the confusion Leon Clowes seemed to stumble and prod the ball into his own net.

The Lilywhites might have doubled their advantage as Dean Keates tested Connor Roberts.

The closest City went to drawing level was a Dec Walker free kick which McCormick kept out although Steve Lewis was not too far away as the final minute was played out.

Half-time: Bangor City 0 Rhyl 1

The hosts drew level 10 minutes after the restart. Chris Jones retrieved the ball on the goal-line and crossed from the left. McCormick could only palm the ball straight out to ex-Lilywhite Lewis, who controlled and smashed home from eight yards .

Within five minutes the visitors regained their lead. Former Liverpool defender Stephen Wright saw his looping header sail over keeper Roberts and into the back of the net.

Bangor were stung into action and Sion Edwards fired on target, McCormick for once fumbled, but Lewis could not latch onto the loose ball.

On 68 minutes a first change for City as Rio Ahmadi replaced Chris Jones. Moments later Damien Allen sent a free kick arching towards the far post but no one in a blue shirt could get a vital touch.

In the 72nd minute City drew level for the second time as Ahmadi pounced on McCormick’s fumble from Allen’s long range shot.

Walker was making hay down the right and Rhyl left-back Touray was booked for a pull on his shirt.

However, on 78 minutes Rhyl went ahead for the third time as former blue John Owen crossed for Levi Mackin to side-foot home with Roberts beaten.

The gangly Greg Stones was next into the referee’s notebook as City strained for an equaliser.

On 86 minutes attacking player Shaun Cavanagh came on for defender Adam Cummins as Bangor went for broke. In all honesty it seemed a lot to do with not long left.

But with 89 minutes gone City had a penalty for a daft challenge from behind by Wright on Ahmadi. With Sam Hart not playing the responsibility passed to Lewis who beat McCormick to level the scores at 3-3.

As the celebrations died down the fourth official took centre stage as he indicated five minutes of added time.

City won a couple of later corners and from the second Anthony Miley saw his snapshot hit the post.

Rhyl thought they might snatch a late decider but as Rob Hughes lost the ball it was Lewis who pounced on Keates wayward header and ran on goal to beat McCormick with a well flighted chip from 35 yards to the wild delight of the blues players and supporters.

Manager Nev Powell got flattened in the celebration but he seemed happy enough!

Bangor would finish the season ninth out of 12, while Rhyl ended up 11th and were only spared relegation as the team above them, Port Talbot Town, failed to secure a domestic licence.

Both sets of fans were wishing for better times, but they eventually only got worse.

Bangor: Connor Roberts, Dec Walker, Ryan Edwards, Leon Clowes, Adam Cummins (Shaun Cavanagh 86), Anthony Miley, Chris Jones (Rio Ahmadi 68), Damien Allen, Steve Lewis, Ashley Young, Sion Edwards.

Rhyl: Terry McCormick, Chay Dysart, Ibou Touray, Levi Mackin, Stephen Wright, Greg Stones, John Owen, David Mannix, Dean Keates, Zac Corbett (Rob Hughes 69), Cory Williams.

Attendance: 505.

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