Rhyl Development 2 (Purvis, L Williams)
Northop Hall 2 (Pennington, Morgan-Read)
North Wales Women’s Football League – May 15, 2018
While Northop Hall edged a point closer to the league title Rhyl could easily have handed the leaders a shock first defeat of the season at Belle Vue on Tuesday night.
Reduced to 10 players are just 17 minutes of what was at times a volatile clash, Hall struggled to get to grips with a Lilywhites outfit determined to claim a major scalp.
The visitors started the stronger and inside the first three minutes Laura Pennington had one effort cleared off the line before Haf Morgan-Read rolled an attempt against the post.
Rhyl settled and first-team regular Laura Williams skewed a header off target from a Ceri Purvis cross.
Williams then saw a fierce 20-yarder tipped over the bar by Hall keeper Bethan Thomas, but from the resulting Rachael Nattrass corner, Purvis’ glancing header made it 1-0 to the hosts.
Northop were getting increasingly frustrated at a number of dubious refereeing decisions going against them and Rebecca Hughes was shown a straight red for dissent.
Soon after Hall manager Steve Thomas was sent to the stands.
The leaders were unsettled and Rhyl should have taken advantage, Williams put clean through by Purvis only to lash wide.
Just before the break a stinging Purvis missile led to a fine one-handed save from Thomas.
Purvis so nearly made it 2-0 early in the second half when her firm strike came back off the post.
And moments later it was one-apiece. Pennington ran at the Rhyl defence and played a neat one-two with Annmarie Jones before slotting in her 47th goal of the campaign.
It was now end-to-end stuff, Pennington’s volley being kept out by Lauren Jones before Thomas pulled off a magnificent stop from a Williams thunderbolt.
Substitute Sade Benjamin miscued when through on goal before the Flintshire side grabbed the lead.
Pennington received the ball out right from a short corner and her cross into the box was bundled home by Morgan-Read.
Purvis’ header was cleared off the line, but Rhyl made it 2-2 when Williams netted with a trademark rocket.
Both sides went for the winner, but it never came.
Hall need just one victory from their remaining three games to clinch the title,
Player of the match – Ceri Purvis (Rhyl): Could have had at least a hat-trick.