Rhyl 2 Newtown 2
IT took a fortunate last-gasp equaliser from ex-Newtown defender Adrian Moody to save Rhyl’s unbeaten home record and earn them a point they hardly deserved.
A minute into injury time Moody let fly from 35 yards and Robins keeper John Rowley handed the Lilywhites a get-out-of-jail card by allowing the greasy ball to slip through his hands.
John Hulse’s men will be kicking themselves for failing to collect maximum points against a team they thrashed 6-0 at Latham Park earlier in the season.
With TNS only drawing at Aberystwyth, Rhyl could have closed the gap on the leaders to two points, but now they trail by four having played a game more.
Darren Ryan’s visitors took a shock 17th-minute lead when Gareth Hughes found Damien Daniels in space on the edge of the box and the full-back’s left-footed effort proved too powerful for keeper John Gann.
The Robins were a constant threat on the counter and almost added a second when Nicky Jones’ 30-yard dipper just cleared the bar.
From a quick break following a Lilies corner, Glenn Tolley went even closer with a left-footer which whistled inches over the top.
Against the run of play Rhyl equalised with their first on-target effort on 39 minutes. Alex Hay created space on the left to float a cross into the danger area and skipper George Horan netted with a powerful header.
Hay was just off target early in the second period, but lowly Newtown continued to look the more dangerous with their pace and skill.
On 71 minutes Tolley’s great ball into the area over the defence released Matt Lewis and, when Gann brought him down, referee Steve Hames had no alternative but to award a spot kick which Tolley converted.
Rhyl rallied in the closing stages, and bringing on robust forward Dave Cameron made a difference, but excellent Newtown defending restricted the hosts to few chances.
Hay, Conall Murtagh and Andy Moran had efforts on goal, but it looked like Rhyl were heading for defeat until Moody’s late strike. And the Lilywhites could have won it when Horan rose highest to Mark Connolly’s corner but missed the target.