Bangor City 1 Rhyl 3
RHYL resumed their role as trail-blazers in the title campaign by securing yet another victory over old enemy Bangor City, which made it six in a row.
This season’s hat-trick, emulating the treble of the previous term, was achieved through goals from Connal Murtagh, Andy Moran and Lee Hunt.
John Hulse’s lively outfit impressed as the more committed and more inventive, although City cast aside their transition status to compete with passion.
When just 2-1 behind at the start of the second half, Sion Edwards swept clear of his marker and shot quickly – that was the only option – but the attempt flashed too high.
City’s manager Steve Bleasdale, three weeks into the job and sorting out his inherited squad, reckoned that was the derby game’s decisive moment.
He said: "That was a great chance to equalise but young Sion fired over, which was a pity, but I cannot blame the lad, who is doing well for us.
"I think we lacked a bit of experience, a bit of know-how, and I am going to have to bring in new players to turn things around but it will take time, and everyone will have to be patient."
Hulse said: "I thought we looked stronger, were more comfortable and were never really troubled. Certainly, our keeper John Gann did not have to make a serious save.
"After experiencing two body-blows last month, being knocked out of the Welsh Cup and Premier Cup, which are money-makers, we are back as league leaders.
"But it is going to be a really tight struggle this time and I would not be surprised if it went right to the wire".
Rhyl were in the driving seat from the 11th minute, when Murtagh scored from 15 yards, after two earlier quick-fire efforts by Moran had been blocked by City keeper Ian Havard and captain Paul O’Neill.
Bangor counter-attacks brought the frustration of a disallowed goal by Mike Walsh, who was ruled offside, and seven fruitless corners.
Then Rhyl doubled their lead on 29 minutes, when Moran applied a glancing header to turn home Mark Connelly’s free-kick, but battling City were back in business just ahead of half time.
Ashley Stott launched into an acrobatic diving header to convert Ricky Evans’s superbly flighted set-piece and it was straight after the break that teenager Edwards just failed to provide the equaliser.
Rhyl’s right to the full set of points was confirmed with seven minutes remaining by ex-Bangor striker Hunt, who burst through the middle, evaded the advancing Havard and side-footed into an empty net.