A Cup Match of two halves!
Harbourmen give Town a fright before the second half goals
Match Report by Gareth Luke Jones
Following a disappointing defeat at the hands of Guilsfield, the JD Welsh Cup was a welcome break for Matty Jones and Dewi Llion’s men to put their league troubles aside and hopefully start with what could be a promising cup run against a Holyhead Town side who secured their place in the 1st round proper of the Welsh Cup after two hard fought victories over Menai Bridge and Llanberis.
The club were resurrected in 2016 secured an unprecedented treble in it’s first season winning the Anglesey League, Huws Gray Megan cup and the Lucas Oil Cup. 2017/18 was equally impressive as the club secured back to back promotions, clinching the Gwynedd League title. They currently ply their trade in the Welsh Alliance league Division Two and therefore on paper should have been an easy passage for the Reds into the second round of the cup.
The Management Team made several changes to the team that fell to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Guilsfield, with Gwydion Owen coming into goal for the injured Craig Vernon, Bailey Jackson and Sion Jones replacing
Miles Todd and Harri Lovett in defence, whilst Jake Walker came into the side up front with Pat Hinchcliffe dropping to the bench. The final change to the starting line up saw Jordan Barrow making his long awaited debut after international clearance was received earlier in the week coming into the heart of the Denbigh midfield with Sam Jones taking his place amongst the substitutes.
Denbigh started the game brightly and in the second minute following a fine long ball up-field from the boot of Bailey Jackson, Scott McHarrie shot inches over the Holyhead cross-bar from a Jake Walker knock down.
Minutes later Tony Davies glanced just wide from a Jordan Barrow corner. The pressure finally paid off when on six minutes another Barrow corner was inadvertently punched into his own net by Mike Bentley in the Holyhead goal whilst under pressure from Mark Roberts.
Holyhead were struggling to get a foothold in the game, however on 13 minutes a punt up field glanced backwards off the head of Tony Davies as he attempted to intercept leaving Asa Thomas to run clear and calmly lob Gwydion Owen in the Denbigh goal to bring the scores level.
This seemed to be the wake-up call Denbigh needed and straight from the kick-off Jake Walker restored the lead. Not content with this immediate reply, from the reverting re-start Jordan Barrow stole possession back, and seemed to be the only one to spot the keeper off his line and nonchalantly Beckhamesque sent the ball sailing over Bentley in the Holyhead goal from his own half to put Denbigh 3-1 up after 15 minutes.
For most teams, this would have resulted in the white flags being raised, but Holyhead were having none of it and after 18 minutes were back in the cup tie with Asa Thomas bagging his second of the game to make the score 3-2.
Denbigh seemed to have hit the self-destruct button and on 26 minutes a misplaced back pass from midfield to defence put Thomas in for his hat-trick but Gwydion Owen was alert and quickly off his line to pull off a fine save.
On 43 minutes the Holyhead comeback was complete and following a calamity of errors and missed tackles in midfield Gary Owen found himself clean through on the Denbigh goal and calmly slid the ball under the advancing Gwydion Owen to take the sides in all square at the break.
The dressing down and tactical changes made by the Management duo at half-time were a necessity with Denbigh facing an embarrassing first round exit at the hands of lower league opposition.
Sam Jones came into the midfield replacing Bailey Jackson with Lewis Sirrell dropping back into defence and after 56 minutes the changes paid almost immediate dividend. Curtis Langton found Sam Jones on the left wing with a defence splitting pass and his low pulled back cross took the keeper out of the equation for Mark Roberts to calmly tap home to put Denbigh 4-3 in front.
On 62 minutes Sam Jones was at it again, this time latching on to Tony Davies header from Barrow’s corner and his turn and shot although parried by the keeper, ended up in the back of the net and Denbigh restored their two goal cushion.
On 67 minutes Pat Hinchcliffe replaced Jake Walker and within minutes was making his mark on the game. Following another great ball from Jordan Barrow, Pat Hinchcliffe beat his man on the right wing and picked out the advancing Mark Roberts who drilled home from six yards to make it 6-3.
The cracks in the Holyhead defence were now evident and on 75 minutes Curtis Langton regained possession in the opposition’s box following a corner and found the impressive Sam Jones who clinically curled home with his left foot to make it 7-3. [ see pic. ]
77 minutes saw the introduction of Ross Weaver into the action for Sion Jones who had impressed with a number of long forays into the oppositions half.
Barrow’s debut got even better on 80 minutes with Sam Jones yet again in the thick of the action finding him in the box and his resulting turn and volley evading the keeper’s dive to make it 8-3 to the home side.
Three minutes later the rout was complete as Mark Roberts bagged his hat-trick and Denbigh’s ninth.
This was certainly a game of two halves and Holyhead Town can be very proud of their exploits and were more than a match for Denbigh in the first half. Matty Jones and Dewi Llion will have plenty to work on this week in training but will be pleased with how quickly Jordan Barrow settled into the side and how their tactical changes at half-time had such an impact on the performance and the result.
Denbigh Town FC
Gwydion Owen, Bailey Jackson, Sion Jones, Curtis Langton, Tony Davies (Capt), Scott McHarrie, Lewis Sirrell, Sam Downey, Jake Walker, Jordan Barrow, Mark Roberts.
Subs – Sam Jones, Pat Hinchcliffe, Ross Weaver, Craig Vernon
Holyhead Town FC
Mike Bentley, Jordan Lees, Mark Thomas, Joe Donovan, Luke Roberts, Sion Davies, Tom Roberts, Ry Lees, Jordan Murphy, Asa Thomas, Gary Owen
Subs- Leeroy Parry, Nicky Murphy, Dillion Roberts, Kirean Blackwell, Craig Brodie.
Referee – Mark James
Assistant – Iwan Pritchard
Assistant – Steve Taylor
Attendance - 75