RHYL’S title dreams appear to be over after first placed GAP Connah’s Quay took the points in a 2-1 top of the league clash.
The Lilywhites had looked in control of the title decider, opening up a lead through Ryan WIlliams’ thunderbolt free-kick, but an even more impressive long-distance strike from Ricky Evans turned the tie in Quay’s favour.
The hosts won it with Danny Forde’s 75th minute header, but Rhyl boss Greg Strong pinpointed the 38th minute equaliser as the match’s turning point, and said that his side still had “plenty to play for” despite effectively being ruled out of the championship race.
“It’s very, very frustrating. I think for the first half, up to an even a little after the goal, we were the better side, but Ricky Evans has scored a superb goal out of nothing. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say “what a goal”.
“The lads are down, I think in their heart of hearts they know that they could have won this game If we’d played to our full potential. We were doing well, keeping the ball in their half, but goals change games.
“We’ll just keep carrying on and keep looking to win our remaining games.
"We’ve got four matches left and two cup semi-finals, so there’s still a lot to play for. We’ve got to keep going.”
The defeat gives GAP a ten point lead over Rhyl at the Huws Gray Alliance summit, and Quay need just two points from their remaining games against Cefn Druids and Penycae to successfully defend their 2010/11 title.
After a couple of early scares, Rhyl took a deserved lead through Williams on 27 minutes, with the midfielder arrowing a free-kick in off the bar.
Paul Mooney, who impressed throughout in midfield, came close to adding a second with a stinging drive, but a moment of inspiration from Evans, whose lofted effort from close to the half-way line caught everyone off guard, saw the hosts go in level at the break.
Danny Forde’s header 15 minutes from time then sealed the points for Quay, sending a strong Rhyl contingent home disappointed.
The Lilywhites’ season continues with a trip to Penycae on Sunday.