The five things we learned as Rhyl stun league leaders Airbus UK with clinical victory

Rhyl got off to a winning start at home at interim boss Mark Connolly as they toppled the league leaders Airbus UK with a 3-1 victory at Belle Vue on Saturday.

Airbus had been in League Cup action on Tuesday evening, suffering a narrow defeat to Welsh Premier League side Connah’s Quay Nomads, whilst Rhyl progressed to the next round after beating FC Queen’s Park last Sunday afternoon.

The two sides met with more hope than expectation on Rhyl to get a result, given the form going into the game but it was the Lilywhites who claimed victory over their North Wales counterparts.

Statement Made
In the three weeks since Mark Connolly’s appointment as Rhyl interim manager, a huge emphasis has been made on the club’s fortunes being turned around quickly. A late defeat to Gresford on his debut was followed by a convincing 2-0 win at Queen’s Park in the cup last weekend. A win against the title chasers puts out a clear message to suggest Rhyl’s squad are in a false position and should be fighting Airbus and Caernarfon for promotion.

Top Scorer Silenced
A lot of talk going into this fixture will have been focused on the threat of Airbus’ top scorer Alfons Fosu-Mensah. The Dutch striker has scored 10 goals in the league this season and been pivotal to the Wingmakers success in the first ten matches. He shown glimpses of his ability in the first half, troubling Tony Davies a number of times, but the Rhyl defence was able to nullify his threat and limit the chances he had.

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Image: Mark Chesterton

New Boys Make Impacts
October has been a month of change at Belle Vue with the club bringing in six new faces in an attempt to turn their poor start around. Four of the six signings started the game and all four made an impact in the squad. Tom Walsh’s exquisite lob over Coughlin in goal had doubled Rhyl’s lead after 8 minutes.

The midfield duo of Phil Marsh and Jordan Barrow were crucial in breaking down Airbus, and the newest recruit Jay Jeffries had a solid game at right-back, following up his impressive display in a midweek friendly. If they can continue their good form, it could set the Lilywhites up for a promising remainder of the season.

Clean Sheet Goes Begging
A statistic which has fallen under the radar for Rhyl is in the first nine league matches leading up to this fixture, the Lilywhites were yet to keep a clean sheet in the Alliance. The defence held out the league leaders for 67 minutes before George Peers slotted home.

Conceding goals has been a problem the Lilywhites have failed to address and it’s up to Connolly to find a way to plug the leaks at the back.
Star Men

Alex Titchiner – Rhyl

Rhyl’s main man up front produced one of his finest displays in a Rhyl shirt against a top quality Airbus side. His determination off the ball, and quality on it kept the Lilywhites on the front foot.

The striker got the game off and running with a simple assist for Mark Connolly to get the opening goal. He also won a late penalty which was saved before capping off his great performance with a drilled finish from 18 yards.
George Peers – Airbus

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A second half substitute, George Peers made a quick impact with his simple finish inside the box to half Airbus’ deficit. His work rate in the final half hour of the game gave the Wingmakers a chance to steal something from the game, he could be a talent to watch for the Wingmakers as they attempt to return to the Welsh Premier League.

(Featured Image: Mark Chesterton)

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