Kick off:19:30 Friday, 12 Dec 2008
at Belle Vue
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Lee Evans
A GOAL in each half from Mark Stewart, together with strikes from Ricky Evans and Kevin Holsgrove, gave NEWI Cefn Druids an unlikely victory over Welsh Premier League leaders Rhyl at Belle Vue.
Stewart had twice put The Ancients in fronty only for the hosts to level each time before Evans and Holsgrove gave Druids a two goal cushion in blustery conditions. Joint managers Lee Jones and Waynne Phillips made two changes from the side that defeated Caersws last weekend. Joe Price started in place of Holsgrove, who came on as a half-time substitute, and Phillips came in to replace Mike Heverin as Druids moved Evans up to support Stewart in attack as Phillips filled the right back role while Mark Powell moved into midfield.
Druids first half chance came in the seventh minute when Evans' through ball found Price on the left but his control took the ball too far and his attempted square pass could only find a defender.
Chris Mullock was in inspired form throughout the match and made his first save palming Josh Johnson's 25 yard drive behind for a corner in the 16th minute. Druids had a let off nine minutes later when Matty Williams latched on to a loose ball in The Ancients' penalty area. He rounded Mullock but his shot from a narrow angle came back off the top of the outside of the post.
The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute when a quick free-kick from Andrew Edgar was played out to the right allowing Stewart to run on to the ball before calmly slotting the ball through Kendall's legs and into the net. Mullock again denied Rhyl in the 40th minute as he dived low to make a point blank save on his line.
But there was nothing he could do three minutes later as the Druids defence was unable to clear its lines against the strong wind and rain and the ball fell to Greg Stones who unleashed a left-footed shot across goal from 25 yards out and went in off the inside of the 'keeper's left hand post.
Mike Thompson cut in well from the left in first half stoppage time but his attempted pull back across goal was easily gathered by Kendall. That proved to be Thompson's last action of the match as he made way for Holsgrove at the interval.
Stewart got his second of the night, and his side's second, two minutes after the re-start. A corner caused problems in the Rhyl defence and Lee T Jones' effort from six yards out was parried by Kendall into the path of Stewart who was able to tap home from close range.
Rhyl levelled for a second time on the hour mark when a corner from the left was met by Neil Roberts' header from 12 yards out which found the back of the net. Parity was restored for just 62 seconds as Evans played in Stewart on the edge of the area. The striker, chasing his hat-trick blocked by Kendall, but Evans was following up to control the ball before firing into the corner of the net to give Druids the lead for the third time in the match.
With 20 minutes remaining Druids doubled their advantage. A through ball saw Holsgrove time his run to perfection to split the home defence before controlling the ball under pressure from a retreating defender and Kendall, allowing him to curl the ball into the keeper's bottom right hand corner of the net.
A nervous ending for Druids was ensured when George Horan headed home from a left-wing free-kick with seven minutes remaining. Rhyl threw players forward in their search for an equaliser but Mullock was again on hand to deny them in the 89th minute after firstly saving with his legs, then blocking the follow up. The hosts continued to search for a leveller, but Druids dug in deep and claimed the victory.