North Wales Women’s Football League – November 7, 2021
CPD Y Rhyl 1879 1 (Nattrass 78)
Amlwch Town 1 (Hughes 67)
Honours ended even in a clash between two teams looking more than capable of challenging for the title this season.
Rhyl 1879’s 100 percent record was brought to an end but it took a magnificent defensive display from Amlwch to prevent the hosts making it four wins on the bounce.
And the home side were really impressive at the back themselves.
The visitors travelled with just 12 players, key figures Cerys Gadd and Sara Furlong among the absentees, but the dynamic dozen played out of their skins.
Kick-off was delayed for 23 minutes due to the non-arrival of the appointed referee.
A qualified official in the crowd kindly took the whistle for the opening 10 minutes after which a replacement referee, Steve Taylor, arrived at Belle Vue and led the remainder of the game very well indeed.
Rhyl’s top-scorer Emily Bentley had a golden opportunity in the fourth minute when she only had keeper Ceri Pritchard to beat, but dragged her effort wide.
Town skipper Carol Lewis produced a magnificent challenge on Bentley in the box before new home signing Niomi Taylor saw her strike palmed behind for a corner from which she headed off target.
Amlwch threatened on the counter and it needed a cracking tackle from the outstanding Rosie O’Brien on Shannon Thomas to stop the danger.
Pritchard in the Amlwch goal was having a blinder, a double save foiling both Bentley and Taylor on 33 minutes.
Taylor was through on goal in the 41st minute, but Pritchard blocked once more.
At the opposite end, keeper Lauren Jones needed to be sharp to nick the ball off Shannon Thomas.
Early in the second half, Lowri Thomas released Anna Roberts, whose attempt from an angle lacked power and was easily held by Jones.
In an identical situation at the other end, Bentley made space but failed to trouble Pritchard.
Becca Bannister’s fierce free kick was then well held by keeper Pritchard, who was donning a very bright coloured top.
On 67 minutes the deadlock was broken. Amlwch substitute Efa Jones delivered a low ball from the right and Tesni Hughes in the box slotted past Jones for 1-0.
Bannister looked set to equalise moments later but a marvellously-timed tackle from veteran Meinir Thomas denied her.
Then in the 69th minute came a major turning point.
Bentley’s attempted pass back to keeper Jones only let in Tesni Hughes, who struck the ball hard and true, but the Rhyl stopper made a stupendous save.
Had Amlwch gone two-up at that point, it could have been game over.
At it was, Rhyl went on to control the final 20 minutes.
With 78 on the clock, the hosts won a free kick a good 25 to 30 yards out.
Rachael Nattrass connected perfectly, her strike going in over the head of Pritchard to equalise. It took something special to finally beat the keeper.
The home team now went all out for the winner and Amlwch had to defend deep and heroically to keep them at bay.
Tegan Crockett’s neat touch from a right wing cross did not quite find its intended target, then Bentley blasted over.
Substitute Laura Williams headed just wide from a Nattrass cross and Bentley had a late chance from an angle, but lashed into the side-netting.
Although a Rhyl winner would not have been an injustice, Amlwch certainly deserved something for a great battling performance.
Overall, just about the right result.
PLAYERS OF THE MATCH
Rhyl: Rosie O’Brien
Amlwch: Ceri Pritchard
CPD Y RHYL 1879
Lauren Jones, Saskia Wynne-Thomas, Niomi Taylor, Steph Farley, Rosie O’Brien, Emily Bentley, Rachael Nattrass, Candice Nellist (Laura Willliams 76), Alicia Duke, Tegan Crockett. Rebecca Bannister.
Ceri Pritchard, Shannon Thomas, Catrin Thomas, Emma Roberts, Kim Lodge, Carol Lewis, Meinir Thomas, Tesni Hughes, Lowri Thomas, Anna Roberts, Leah Jones (Efa Jones 58).
PLAYER PERFORMANCES 🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽🌟⚽
CPD Y RHYL 1879
Lauren Jones: That save to deny Tegan Hughes a second goal was something else and got the biggest cheer of the afternoon. One of the best keepers in the league.
Saskia Wynne-Thomas: Really strong defensive effort on the right, kept to her job well.
Rosie O’Brien: Player of the match for me. Did a good marking job on the speedy Shannon Thomas and put in some fine passes.
Niomi Taylor: Great on the ball, always a problem for the Town defence and could easily have scored a couple.
Steph Farley: Rock-solid at the back, calm and assured on the ball.
Emily Bentley: Not her best day in front of goal, but she never stopped giving it 100 per cent and almost snatched a late winner.
Rachael Nattrass: Majestic equaliser from the free kick and almost laid on a winning goal.
Candice Nellist: Worked hard up front, substituted in the second half.
Alicia Duke: Busy performance, always looked alert.
Tegan Crockett: Made a great attempt to snatch a late goal. Aged just 17, young talent with lots to offer the team.
Rebecca Bannister: Her usual industrious, skilful self. Would have been good to see a midfield battle against Cerys Gadd, who missed out through illness.
Laura Williams (sub): A danger as usual in attack, went close to the winner.
Ceri Pritchard: Succession of fine saves, held the ball really well, had no chance with the only effort that got past her.
Shannon Thomas: Like a wasp up front looking to sting the opposition, worked really hard but was up against a good defender.
Catrin Thomas: Part of a solid defensive unit that went above and beyond the call of duty.
Emma Roberts: Tall, strong defender who hardly put a foot wrong, Elegant player, great to watch.
Carol Lewis: Captain fantastic. Some of her tackles were awesome, so well-timed and she conducted the defence around her so well.
Kim Lodge: Another who never stopped, made some nice breaks from the midfield linking with the attack.
Meinir Thomas: At 56 this superwoman just never lets up. Put in some amazing tackles and stood the pace as well as anyone on the field.
Tesni Hughes: Lovely finish for the goal and so nearly added a second. Buzzing workhorse up front.
Lowri Thomas: For one so young she really gets stuck in. Great passer and always aiming to make things happen. Tremendous effort.
Anna Roberts: Had a good chance early in the second half to make it 1-0. Worked superbly up and down the field.
Leah Jones: Another who worked so hard for the cause. Substituted on 58 minutes.
Efa Jones (sub): Involved in the goal and put in some crunching tackles. Produced a very good half hour for the team.