LITTLE more than two years since the old club was forced to dissolve, CPD Y Rhyl 1879 were crowned champions of the North Wales Coast East Football League Premier Division on May 4.

This sees the club promoted to Welsh football’s third tier, pending being granted a licence.

It wasn’t easy, though, as visitors Meliden FC, under new management, were not in a mood for a party at Belle Vue and came into the game having won their last four games.

But Macauley Taylor opened the scoring on four minutes with his 10th goal of the season - a brilliant through ball by James Jones split the Meliden defence, and found Taylor, who beat the offside trap, one-on-one with the goalkeeper.


Lilywhites are one point away from the title after two more wins

Taylor dinked the ball past him and slotted the ball into the empty goal for a 1-0 lead.

Not wanting to miss out on the action, striker Carl Lamb doubled 1879’s lead on 13 minutes, as Leon Atkins finding him free on the edge of the box with his back to goal.

He turned and fired the ball past the keeper for his 26th strike of the season.

With 15 minutes to go, Meliden got the goal they had been pushing for and deserved, as a loose ball was forced over the line by their number 10, Dan Beattie.

But with the final blow of referee Gareth Edwards’ whistle, CPD Y Rhyl 1879 were crowned league champions in their first season in existence.

Manager Gareth Thomas was magnanimous in victory, saying: “An awful performance: two goals, and then it was flat.

“They (Meliden), to their credit, have come here and worked hard. They will feel a little unjust that they have got nothing from the game, but it was all about getting the one point we needed and we got all three.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, 21 months in the making. We set out the target when we started and to finally get over the line is great.

“It is really good for the lads at the end of the day, and we can’t criticize them as we have been playing Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday for the last two-and-a-half weeks.

“They are all working hard and they looked leggy today, but we got the result and we are champions”.

When asked about the moment that shaped the season, Thomas said: “I think, firstly, the character we showed to come back in the Kinmel Bay game when 2-0 down, and we scored a couple in the last minute to win 3-2. I think that was a big turning point.

“I think the other turning point was up until Christmas and the first break with COVID-19. We were shipping goals left, right and centre and, to the players’ credit, we carried on training, and then we played at Llandudno on Boxing Day after everyone had stopped playing.

“We went there and got beat 4-0. Despite that, the lads trained right the way through, and have reaped the rewards for it, as since that break restarted, we have got stronger, and that’s only the fifth goal we have conceded.

“We are 23 games in, won 21 and drawn two, and not lost a game in the league yet against sides at our own level, and I think players need a lot of credit for how much work they have put in.

“We have got Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday, we will set the target, and we are on 97 goals so it would be nice to get to 100 league goals, and yes, it would be great to go unbeaten if that happens it happens.

“We will have to check on them again Saturday, we took a few knocks there tonight, a few players missing, but that’s why we have a big squad.

“We will need them all with three to go, and we may find out whether we have another cup final or not.”

Next up, the Lilywhites will play Rhuddlan in their final home game of the season, where they will receive the league trophy, on Wednesday, May 11, with a 6.30pm kick off.