Although Southport and Rhyl have never previously met in a ‘League Match’*, the clubs were drawn against each other on several occasions in the Welsh Cup during the 1930’s. Southport’s best run in this competition was in 1932-33 when they reached the semi-final stage before being defeated by Wrexham after a replay.
In the Seventh Round, Southport won 2—1 at Rhyl—then members of the West Midland League—and were rather lucky to do so. The game took place on 23rd February, 1933 and the Welshmen who were led by Player/Manager Frank Barson, the former Aston Villa, Manchester United and England centre half, did the bulk of the attacking. In the first minute Pardon hit the upright and Rhyl struck the woodwork on no less than four occasions during the game. Rhyl’s attacks were thwarted and again by some magnificent goalkeeping on the part of Matt Middleton. Matt had made a name for himself the previous season following his herioc displays in the cup-ties against Newcastle United. He was transferred to Sunderland in August 1933 for a substantial sum.
Southport took the lead after twelve minutes through Jack Appleby and early in the second half Jimmy Cowen put them further ahead. Late in the game Flannagan beat Middleton with a header but Southport, who were also well served by full-backs Bill Birkett and Ted Robinson, held on to win.
In the Eighth Round Southport overcame Newport after a replay at Haig Avenue and in the semi final replay fost to Chester, having drawn at Wrexham, after the Welsh F.A. had ordered that the game be replayed on a neutral ground.
RHYL: Fairhurst, Allport, Roberts, L. Jones, Barson, Evans, Turnbull, Crowe, Flannagan, Pardon and M. Jones
SOUTHPORT: Middleton, Robinson, Birkett, Bell, Wyness, Littlewood, Sellars, Appleby, Williams, Cowen, Turner.
*The above article was first published in the Sandgrounder matchday programme in the 1980s.