CPD Y Rhyl 1879 got 2024 off to a slow start with a 4-2 defeat at CPD Nantlle Vale on Saturday (January 6).

Vale were able to capitalise on their first attack after just five minutes, as striker Ashley Owen beat the offside trap, cut in from the left, and fired home spectacularly.

And the hosts were able to get a second just before the break, when Caio Inch converted from a Jamie Jones through ball after jinking past two Rhyl defenders.

The second half began with 1879 making a tactical change; James Cairns was replaced by Oliver Buckley, with Adam Hold moving into midfield, and Sion Williams to left-back.

This had an instant impact, with Buckley causing havoc every time he had the ball at his feet.

Pressure was building and the Maes Dulyn crowed sensed the home side were holding on, but on 72 minutes, and against the run of play, Jamie Jones would get Nantlle’s third.

Not letting the score deter them, Rhyl continued to push for a goal and they didn’t have to wait long; an Adam Hold corner on 74 minutes ended with an almighty goalmouth scramble when Macauley Taylor was able to get his foot through the ball and over the line.

With the bit between their teeth, the Lilywhites pressed on and were awarded a free kick for a foul on Mark Roberts outside the box on the right with two minutes remaining.

Dead ball specialist Adam Hold stepped up and dispatched a stunning freekick that bent around the wall and into the far side netting.

With the score at 3-2, 1879 went for the equaliser and paid the ultimate price, as they pressed forward for a corner, Vale were able to win the ball back and counter-attack, with Ashley Owen able to receive the ball 40 yards from goal.

As Ryan Woods rushed out, Owen took the ball wide and slotted into the empty goal to make it 4-2.

Following the game, Rhyl manager Gareth Thomas gave credit to Nantlle Vale on their performance.

The defeat ended a 11-game undefeated run for Rhyl, which stretched back to September.

Next week will see Rhyl travel back to Gwynedd, this time to the town of Pwllheli, the second game in a run of six away games in the league.