Kick off:14:30 Saturday, 17 Jan 2009
at Belle Vue
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Paul Thomas
Man of the match Luke Holden provided two goal assists on his debut for a Rhyl side which maintained their three-point lead at the Welsh Premier summit with a hard-earned victory over battling Porthmadog.
Holden, 20, a recent signing from Bradford Park Avenue, was outstanding on the left for the Lilywhites, not only proving to be a constant handful for the Port defence but also displaying an outstanding work rate.
Rhyl's on-loan goalkeeper Michael Jones also had a steady first outing while third new recruit Luke Sherbon was given just a five-minute run-out near the end. The hosts could not have made a better start as after just 30 seconds a deep Holden free-kick from the left was headed home powerfully by centre-half Greg Strong.
It should have been 2-0 when Rhys Roberts was adjudged to have brought down Jamie Reed but Matthew Williams' 11th minute penalty was superbly saved by ex-Rhyl keeper Dave Vickers diving to his left. Vickers was fortunate to escape with a yellow card when he polaxed Williams moments later, but with the striker running away from goal, the keeper was given the benefit of the doubt.
Vickers made another fine stop from Williams before at the other end a back-pedalling Jones tipped away a Richie Owen shot which took a big deflection off Strong. Holden and Williams were denied again by Vickers before the break, the Port custodian certainly earning his wages on a testing afternoon.
Two minutes into the second half an exquisite Holden free-kick missed the target by inches, then Vickers bravely smothered at the feet of Matthew Williams. Ex-Rhyl player Marcus Orlik came on for Port just before the hour and he was soon going for goal, but Jones kept out his right-footer comfortably.
As conditions deteriorated the hosts stepped up the pressure but the final ball was often lacking and the baffling decisions of referee Thomas and his assistants did not help the mood of frustration at Belle Vue. Josh Johnson added life to the attack after coming on for Reed and his first time drilled cross from the right into the six-yard box was crying out for a finish but no-one could oblige.
It was not Matthew Williams' afternoon as when he flung himself at a brilliant Greg Stones delivery he again was unable to get the connection he'd have liked. Johnson went desperately close before Rhyl's second goal finally came on 84 minutes, Neil Roberts heading in his 14th of the season from a Holden corner. Carl Jones' 87th minute free-kick could have pulled one back for Port, but Jones did well to parry the skidding effort away.