So so close

9 10 2007

Rhyl 1 Bangor City 1
Loosemore’s League Cup

The pit awaited us. An uneasy feeling has started to make its presence felt in my system when I enter this location now. I can’t put my finger on the exact problem but I don’t feel comfortable, maybe it was the thought of my £7 going towards funding the Rhyl dream, maybe it was the odious denizens. The dark recesses of Belle Vue is where “they” dwell and it’s not wise to loiter.

It’s unwise to spend a prolonged duration here because the neurons in your brain may be transformed. You may begin to suffer from a psychological state which makes you prone to extreme delusions of grandeur. All of their fans seem to suffer from such a condition; instead of accepting that they are, presently, the most consistent WPL side in North Wales their fans are convinced that there is more to it. Rhyl it seems will perpetually exist on a plateau that so far removed from mere mortals that the rest of us that submission is the only plausible move.
At Rhyl they are all at it too; their owner feels free to lecture those upstarts in Wrexham about the way football should be. Anyone else would think that they are a pub team with a Meccano ground, a bit of money and a manager with a persecution complex but then who am I to judge the grand plan of the creator. By the time I arrived the game had just commenced.
We were in yellow for some reason. Despite reports from Rhyl fans on the internet they had not pitied us; they had picked a full strength team. We’d also picked a full-strength team. About 10 minutes after the start a Rhyl player lay prone in Bangor’s area. He was on the ground for a few minutes. He sported a shaven head and played up front so our spirits were raised as we believed that Hunt was the victim; He’d have to go off and our defenders faces would be safe. Unfortunately it was Cameron.
Kendall was in his usual from. He objected to Dewi criticising Cameron. Dewi was a “four-eyed so and so”. A little period of badinage occurred between us and the legend. Although it wasn’t Oxford Union debating standard it was entertaining. Kendall was unsettled, and that was a good sign.
Bangor seemed to have most of the play in the first half but Rhyl had the best chance; Webber cleared the ball off the line. Rhyl were less than subtle, as per usual, but this time it didn’t look like we were going to be bullied. The ref, Petch, allowed Rhyl to carry on playing in this manner by declining to show any cards. 0-0 was the half time score but the feeling was distinctly positive.

Ten minutes into the second half and Bangor had scored!!! Les headed a Limbert free kick into the path of Webber. Webber’s head steered the ball past the legend. The goal filled me with joy. We were closer to Rhyl’s plateau, we would win now!!! Then Rhyl started to create chances so it didn’t seem as though it was going to be a comfortable second half.

After about twenty minutes the pattern of the half was set. Bangor soaked up Rhyl’s attacks and Bangor counter-attacked. Rhyl used brutality. Les was particularly effective at terrorising O’Neil et al. We scored again, we were on Rhyl’s plateau. Then, just as quickly, we weren’t. The Linesman had flagged for offside so Smythy’s goal wouldn’t count.
Despite all of the Rhyl attacks it looked like we’d survive with our victory intact. It was going to be sweet yet there was still a nagging doubt. I consoled myself with the thought that in roughly 10 minutes we’d look back on the tension and laugh.
Kendall continued with his act, even when Limbo was adressing the ball for a corner kick. Unfortunately he had the last laugh, after regaling us with tales about his combined transfer fees he strode purposefully into our area. The corner came over, Kendall flew at it and the ball was in the goal; nightmare. At the point of the goal the second half seemed to have lasted 50 minutes and this made it even more unpalatable. The good guys had lost again, although it was a draw, it felt like a loss. The taunting teenagers to our left rammed the point home.
I said hello to Paul O’Neill’s dad on the way out. A wall of sullen teenage expressions was resplendent outside the ground. The condescending visages rubbed salt into our wounds as we trudged past.
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