Rhyl 3 Bangor 1
FORMER Bangor players Lee Hunt and Mark Connolly shared the goals that defeated their old club and secured Rhyl a priceless win in their quest for European football for a fourth successive season.
A competitive Easter Monday clash saw the Lilywhites play out the last 25 minutes with only 10 men following captain George Horan’s controversial sending off, but still their superior strength saw them to an eighth win in a row over City.
“The lads showed tremendous character after Horan’s sending off, which I must say I thought was a bit harsh,” said Rhyl manager John Hulse.
“I felt that today was a big step towards getting that second place. If we can win now at Carmarthen this Saturday it should be enough.”
City chief Steve Bleasdale was disappointed after seeing his side slip to their first defeat in eight starts.
“I don’t think it was a 3-1 game,” he said. “I thought we deserved a point. We did well to equalise after going a goal down early on, but we switched off at set pieces which you can’t afford to do against a team like Rhyl.”
Rhyl started the better and took a ninth-minute lead when returning striker Dave Cameron, in for the injured Andy Moran, flicked on Chris Roberts’ corner and Hunt bundled in his 21st goal of the season.
Back came Bangor to level in just two minutes when defender Steve Wynne, who had been denied by a fine stop from keeper Paul Whitfield moments earlier, finished off a Mark Smyth cross.
Visiting keeper Ian Havard saved well from both Connolly and Cameron before the break, while Whitfield acrobatically beat away a menacing Kyle Jacobs 25-yarder.
Nine minutes into the second period the Lilies regained the advantage when Roberts’ pinpoint cross from the left was headed home from six yards by the marauding Connolly.
There was uproar among the home contingent on 65 minutes when Horan received a second yellow card from referee Phil Southall despite appearing to win the ball in a challenge on substitute Sion Edwards.
This was the signal for Bangor to up the pressure, but they were restricted to long shots, with converted defender Cameron outstanding at the back.
Jacobs came closest to a second for City with a 20-yard effort which took a wicked bobble off the pitch.
But Rhyl always looked the more dangerous in attack and three minutes into injury time the outstanding Hunt was felled by Jacobs in the area. Connolly dispatched the penalty to seal the points as that Euro vision gets closer.