CPD Y RHYL 1879 2 (Lamb 41 pen, Bennett 47)
PRESTATYN SPORTS 0
A crucial penalty incident close to half time which resulted in a sending off proved a key turning point in this blood and thunder Welsh Cup derby at Belle Vue.
Up to the 41st minute it was 0-0 between these tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier Division rivals, but then Carl Lamb’s goalbound shot in a packed penalty box struck the hand of Shane Middleman.
The Sports defender was very close to the ball, but the decision to give a spot-kick by referee Carl Hagan looked correct.
However, to then red card Middleman appeared harsh and vastly reduced the odds on an even contest for the rest of the match.
Lamb converted the penalty to make it 1-0 at half time.
Rhyl delivered another crippling blow to Sports’ hopes two minutes into the second half when Chris Bennett stylishly passed the ball into the net at the back post.
After this, the hosts created a load of chances and had they taken a couple would have been out of sight. But they were wasteful and this allowed Sports to mount a rally in the last 20 minutes from which they deserved at least a consolation goal.
Rhyl made a strong start and the visitors were indebted to keeper Ryan Jones for denying Tom Cain when a goal looked odds-on.
Lamb miscued a header from a great position before the lively Ryan Brady had a shot blocked at the other end. Shouts of handball were ignored.
Visiting defender Sam Brewerton rose well to a Tom Kemp free kick but could not keep his header down.
Then came the penalty drama which gave Gareth Thomas’ side the edge at half time.
After Bennett made it two soon after the turnaround, the chances flowed for 1879.
Bennett rounded keeper Jones, who was far out of his goal, but heroic defending denied the hosts a third.
Lamb had two opportunities but could not take them.
From the midway point of the second half, Sports decided they were not out of the tie and produced some great attacks.
Impressive substitute Antonio Jacovelli chipped just over from an angle, then Mark Price headed against the bar from a corner.
The 10-men pressed hard until the end, but it was not to be their day.
It was a bad-tempered affair; the tackles flew in throughout and yellow cards were handed out like confetti.
But credit to both sides for giving it absolutely everything and at the end of the day, it is just great to see football back.