Unforgettable seasons – 2003/04: Rhyl FC almost sweep the board

Rhyl FC captain Timmy Edwards is held aloft with the WPL championship trophy. Picture: Rhyl FC

The 2003/04 season was totally unforgettable for Rhyl FC.

Not only did the first team win an unprecedented quadruple and qualify for Europe for the first time, the reserves and third teams also lifted their respective league titles.

The Welsh Premier League title was the one everyone wanted – and John Hulse’s men certainly delivered the goods.

After losing their second match of the season at Haverfordwest, the Lilywhites went on a 30-match unbeaten run to become only the second North Wales club to scoop the WPL championship.

Sadly, the club as we once knew it is no more. But Rhyl FC’s contribution to Welsh football over 141 years must never be forgotten.

Here is a look back at how the 2003/04 title was won….

1 – Aug 16, 2003: Rhyl 2 NEWI Cefn Druids 0
Solid enough start from the Lilies with Andy Moran and Marc Limbert scoring the goals which sank Druids.
Doubtful anyone inside Belle Vue thought then they were watching the future champions in action.

2 – Aug 23, 2003: Haverfordwest County 2 Rhyl 1
Rhyl’s only league defeat of the season came at Bridge Meadow.
Andy Moran notched the visitors’ consolation goal.

3 – Aug 30, 2003 – Rhyl 2 Port Talbot 1
Gareth Wilson’s late decider clinched three hard-fought points for Rhyl in a game watched by just 198 spectators.
Crowds would soon be flourishing at Belle Vue. Andy Moran netted the other home goal.

4 – Sep 6, 2003 – Aberystwyth Town 2 Rhyl 2
Marc Limbert’s double rescued a point for the Lilywhites, who were not yet firing on all cylinders.

5 – Sep 13, 2003 – Rhyl 4 Barry Town 0
The glory days were gone for a Barry outfit which ended the season bottom and relegated.
Timmy Edwards (2), Marc Limbert and Steve Walters struck in a convincing home triumph.

6 – Sep 20, 2003 – Caernarfon Town 1 Rhyl 1
Lee Atherton’s goal made sure Rhyl took a point at The Oval.

7 – Sep 29, 2003 – Rhyl 2 Caersws 1
Andy Moran and Steve Walters hit the net for the Lilywhites in this hard-earned success against tricky Caersws.

8 – Oct 10, 2003 – Rhyl 1 Connah’s Quay Nomads 1
Rhyl ensured they made it six games unbeaten thanks to Timmy Edwards’ headed goal against long-time rivals Nomads.

9 – Oct 18, 2003 – Rhyl 4 Carmarthen Town 0
This was more like it!
Probably Rhyl’s best performance of the season so far saw the Old Gold whipped 4-0, Gary Powell scoring twice, Moran and Limbert one apiece.

10 – Oct 25, 2003 – Afan Lido 1 Rhyl 2
Goals from Marc Limbert and Chris McGinn ensured Rhyl celebrated their first away league win of the campaign.

Rhyl fans watch their team playing in the UEFA Champions League (Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

After 10 games

Won 6 Drawn 3 Lost 1 Points 21

11 – Nov 1, 2003 – Rhyl 3 Welshpool Town 0
Three of Rhyl’s most influential players in this season wiped out Welshpool.
Andy Moran, Timmy Edwards and Marc Limbert each found the net in this 3-0 outcome.

12 – Nov 15, 2003 – Total Network Solutions 2 Rhyl 3
Now we were watching a team shaping up as title challengers.
Andy Moran struck twice and an own goal sealed an away win at the home of full-timers Saints.

13 – Nov 22, 2003 – Rhyl 1 Cwmbran 0
Moran on the mark again as the Lilies chalked up a solid victory over the Crows.

14 – Nov 29, 2003 – Bangor City 2 Rhyl 3
A thriller at Farrar Road saw Rhyl again show their title potential with a crucial win.
The Lilywhites trailed twice, Lee Hunt – soon to become a Rhyl star – and Clayton Blackmore netting for the hosts, but a Gary Powell double and another goal from the unstoppable Moran sealed an away success.
Rhyl were down to 10 men, having had James Brewerton sent off, when Powell grabbed the 90th minute decider.

15 – Dec 6, 2003 – Rhyl 1 Newtown 1
Marc Limbert’s goal was not enough to deliver maximum points for John Hulse’s men.

16 – Dec 20, 2003 – NEWI Cefn Druids 0 Rhyl 2
Having just knocked TNS out of the League Cup in magnificent fashion, Rhyl gave their fans another early Christmas gift by taking three points at Plaskynaston, Moran the magician scoring both goals.

17 – Dec 26, 2003 – Rhyl 6 Porthmadog 1
Boxing Day saw Rhyl pile up their biggest league win of the season so far with a 6-1 demolition of Port.
Mark Powell, Chris Adamson, Steve Walters (2), Moran and McGinn split the half-dozen.

18 – Jan 3, 2004 – Rhyl 1 Haverfordwest County 1
Not quite revenge for Rhyl following their early-season reverse at Bridge Meadow, but a great debut for new signing Lee Hunt, who scored the home goal.

19 – Jan 10, 2004 – Port Talbot 1 Rhyl 2
Wins at tough places like Port Talbot earn you titles.
New and exciting strike partnership Moran and Hunt both found the net in South Wales.

20 – Jan 17, 2004 – Rhyl 5 Aberystwyth Town 3
Game of the season at Belle Vue.
Andy Moran bagged a hat-trick as the hosts edged an eight-goal stormer, Hunt and a stupendous long-distance effort from Limbert sealing the honours.

After 20 games

Won 14 Drawn 5 Lost 1 Points 47

21 – Jan 24, 2004 – Barry Town 0 Rhyl 3
James Brewerton scored first for the visitors before Moran and Hunt maintained their fine runs in front of goal.

22 – Jan 31, 2004 – Rhyl 7 Caernarfon Town 1
Rhyl made it 15 goals in three league games and were beginning to look totally unstoppable.
Chris Adamson and Moran both delivered doubles, Hunt, Edwards and McGinn also on the mark.

23 – Feb 14, 2004 – Caersws 3 Rhyl 3
Not a fifth league win on the bounce for the Lilywhites, but they fought hard to get a point at the Recreation Ground.
Timmy Edwards bagged a brace and Lee Hunt also struck for the visitors. Hunt scored in each of his first six league games for Rhyl.

24 – Feb 20, 2004 – Connah’s Quay Nomads 0 Rhyl 2
Walters and Limbert claimed the all-important goals as Rhyl saw off one of their jinx sides.

25 – Mar 13, 2004 – Rhyl 3 Afan Lido 0
After almost a month off with cup commitments Rhyl returned to league duties in style by blowing away Lido with goals from Brewerton and Moran (2).

26 – Mar 20, 2004 – Carmarthen Town 0 Rhyl 0
Despite having to settle for a draw at Richmond Park, the Lilywhites stretched their unbeaten league streak to 24 matches.

27 – Mar 23, 2004 – Welshpool Town 1 Rhyl 2
That title edged ever closer as Rhyl scrapped their way to victory on a difficult Maesydre surface.
The dynamic duo – Moran and Hunt – nabbed the goals.

28 – Apr 11, 2004 – Rhyl 1 Total Network Solutions 0
Andy Moran’s last-gasp winner secured a magnificent victory for the Lilywhites in front of a bumper crowd of 2,741 on a super Sunday.

29 – Apr 18, 2004 – Cwmbran Town 1 Rhyl 1
A difficult assignment in South Wales ends in a draw, Moran the away marksman.

30 – Apr 24, 2004 – Newtown 0 Rhyl 2
Timmy Edwards and Moran hit the back of the net as the Lilies take the spoils at what is always a hard place to get a result.

31 – April 28, 2004 – Rhyl 2 Bangor City 0
In their final home league game of the season, Rhyl find the going tough, but eventually a Timmy Edwards double sinks the Citizens.
The league is almost won….

32 – May 1, 2004 – Porthmadog 0 Rhyl 2
Gary Powell and the inevitable goal from Moran make sure Rhyl are Welsh Premier League champions for 2003-04 on a baking-hot day at Y Traeth.
The Lilywhites secure the title by a point from TNS.

Final league record

Played 32 Won 23 Drawn 8 Lost 1 Goals For 76 Goals Against 26.

League goals (76)

27 – Andy Moran
10 – Marc Limbert
10 – Timmy Edwards
7 – Lee Hunt
5 – Steve Walters
5 – Gary Powell
3 – Chris McGinn
3 – Chris Adamson
2 – James Brewerton
1 – Gareth Wilson, Lee Atherton, Mark Powell, 1 OG

Rhyl also won the Welsh Cup, League Cup and NWCFA Challenge Cup in this season, as well as reaching the final of the FAW Premier Cup

Welsh Cup

R3 – Nov 8, 2013: Llanfairpwll (a) 4-1 (Walters, M Powell, Moran, Limbert)
R4 – Feb 7, 2004: AFC Llwydcoed (a) 2-0 (Moran, McGinn)
QF – Mar 6, 2004: Afan Lido (a) 2-1 (McGinn, Moran)
SF – Apr 3, 2004: Cwmbran (N) 4-2 (Moran 3, G Powell)
F – May 9, 2004: Total Network Solutions (N) 1-0 (Taylor OG)
Goals
6 – Andy Moran
2 – Chris McGinn
1 – Steve Walters, Mark Powell, Marc Limbert, Gary Powell, 1 OG

League Cup

R1 – Sep 2, 2003: Cefn Druids (a) 2-0 (Moran, Limbert)
R1 – Sep 16, 2003: Cefn Druids (h) 3-2 (Moran 2, Graves) – won 5-2 agg
QF – Dec 9, 2003: Total Network Solutions (a) 0-1
QF – Dec 16, 2003: TNS (h) 3-1 (G Powell, M Powell, McGinn) – won 3-2 agg
SF – Feb 24, 2004: Bangor City (h) 2-0 (Walters, Moran)
SF – Mar 16, 2004 – Bangor City (a) 2-0 (McGinn, Limbert) – won 4-0 agg
Final – May 3, 2004 – Carmarthen (N) 4-0 (Moran 3, McGinn)
GOALS
7 – Andy Moran
3 – Chris McGinn
2 – Marc Limbert
1 – Stuart Graves, Gary Powell, Mark Powell, Steve Walters

NWCFA Challenge Cup

Feb 11, 2004 – Llandudno (h) 4-1 (Hunt 2, G Powell 2)
Mar 9, 2004 – Llandudno Junction (h) 2-1 (McGinn 2)
May 24, 2004 – Halkyn United (N) 6-1 (G Powell 3, McGinn 3)
GOALS
5 – G Powell, McGinn
2 – Hunt

FAW Premier Cup

Sep 8, 2003 – Connah’s Quay Nomads (a) 3-1 (Limbert, Moran, McGinn)
Sep 23, 2003 – Afan Lido (h) 0-0
Oct 7, 2003 – Newport County (h) 1-0 (G Powell)
Oct 28, 2003 – Connah’s Quay (h) 2-1 (Brewerton, G Powell)
Nov 17, 2003 – Newport County (a) 0-3
Dec 2, 2003 – Afan Lido (a) 3-1 (Moran 2, McGinn)
QF – Jan 27, 2004 – Barry Town (h) 8-0 (Moran 3, McGinn 2, Limbert, Brewerton, Hogg)
SF – Apr 7, 2004 – Swansea City (h) 2-0 (Walters, Tait OG)
F – May 12, 2004 – Wrexham (h) 1-4 (Moran)
GOALS
7 – Andy Moran
4 – Chris McGinn
2 – Marc Limbert, James Brewerton, Gary Powell,
1 – Steve Walters, Craig Hogg, 1 OG

Rhyl FC competition stats 2003-04

Welsh Premier League: Played 32 Won 23 Drawn 8 Lost 1 Goals For 76 Goals Against 26 Points 77 Final Position: 1st (champions)
Welsh Cup: Played 6 Won 6 Goals For 13 Goals Against 4 (Winners)
League Cup: Played 7 Won 6 Lost 1 Goals For 16 Goals Against 4 (Winners)
NWCFA Challenge Cup: Played 3 Won 3 Goals For 12 GA 3 (Winners)
FAW Premier Cup: Played 9 Won 6 Drawn 1 Lost 2 GF 20 GA 10 (Runners-up)

Total match record

Played 57
Won 44
Drawn 9
Lost 4
Goals For 137
Goals Against 47

Total Goals (all competitions)

Andy Moran 47
Chris McGinn 17
Marc Limbert 15
Gary Powell 14
Tim Edwards 10
Lee Hunt 9
Steve Walters 8
James Brewerton 4
Chris Adamson 3
Mark Powell 3
Own Goals 3
Gareth Wilson 1
Lee Atherton 1
Craig Hogg 1
Stuart Graves 1

Copyright Dave Jones © All rights reserved. CoverNews by AF themes.
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