Brilliant Denbigh victory against league leaders.
An excellent performance from Denbigh Town saw them beat Prestatyn at the league leader’s home ground, the Motion Finance Stadium.
Prestatyn have been unbeaten all season and are strong favourites to win the league being 13 points ahead of their nearest rivals. This was a result manager Eddie Maurice-Jones will take pride in achieving.
On a windswept evening when the rain lashed down at times, the pitch passed a pitch inspection earlier in the day. However with more rain during the game it became wet and heavy, and it was Denbigh that adapted better to the playing conditions in the first half.
Playing with the wind behind them they constantly threatened the Prestatyn goal with long balls being played behind the Prestatyn defence and allowing their forwards to run onto. In the early minutes it was such a ball from Aaron Hassall that saw Andrew Swarbrick break free only to be tackled just outside the penalty box. Jack Riley broke forward minutes later and saw his shot go just wide of the post.
At the other end Prestatyn responded by forcing a fine save from Hill- Dunt in the Denbigh goal. Ex Prestatyn keeper, Hill–Dunt was in excellent form and made several top class saves throughout the game to thwart his old team.
On 17 minutes Andrew Swarbrick was put through by a long ball from the midfield and rounded the Prestatyn keeper Jones to calmly slot the ball into the net to give Denbigh a 1-0 lead.
Denbigh stepped up the pace and were in dominant form for long periods of the first half. Hassall came close with a long shot from outside the box and Alan Bull shot just wide after a long run when the ball was rolling against him in the mud. Hassall and Bull combined well to lay on a chance for full back Nathan Williams only for his shot to be intercepted for a corner.
Prestatyn responded to this pressure and from a free kick just inside Denbigh’s half Hill-Dunt was forced to punch clear. Seconds later Nathan Williams put in a strong goal saving tackle on Prestatyn’s forward as Denbigh maintained their one goal advantage.
Midfielder Gareth Partridge laid on another through ball for Andrew Swarbrick to run onto. He beat Prestatyn’s defenders to the ball, but was beaten by the mud as the ball failed to run for him.
The next long ball to beat the Prestatyn defence came from Liam Smith and this set Alan Bull through and this time he controlled the ball well to fire home to put Denbigh 2-0 up on 39 minutes.
Half time came with Denbigh deservedly 2-0 up having played an excellent tactical game and using the wind and the weather conditions to their favour
Denbigh knew Prestatyn would look to come back strongly in the second half and an early free kick just outside Denbigh’s penalty box saw Hill-Dunt make a tremendous save by pushing the ball out for a corner. From the corner the keeper was forced into more action by forcing a strong header over the bar.
Denbigh’s response was to continue with the long ball that had been so effective in the first half. Hassall played a crossfield ball over to Alan Bull on the right wing. He crossed for Swarbrick to dummy the defender and leave Craig Pritchard to fire in from 12 yards as Denbigh went 3-0 up on 59 minutes.
This goal stunned the home crowd who knew they only need two wins to win the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance league, and it was becoming apparent that Denbigh’s performance was going to delay their becoming champions.
The game was now developing to an end to end game with both teams looking for chances. Jack Riley put over a great cross that Denbigh’s attack could not get on the end of while Craig Pritchard beat a defender to shoot just over the Prestatyn bar.
At the other end Denbigh where defending resolutely and as a Prestatyn attack was petering out and Denbigh’s Partridge was shepherding the ball out referee Jenkins deemed a challenge on the Prestatyn forward to be a foul and after some thought he pointed to the penalty spot. Jordan Davies stepped up to blast past Hill-Dunt to make it 3-1 after 75 minutes.
Fresh legs were needed by both teams as the pitch was starting to takes its toll. Denbigh introduced their three subs – youngsters Kieran Gaul, David Lawson-Cooke and Andy Thomas for Swarbrick, Bull and Hassall as they looked to hold onto the game
Prestatyn continued to push forward and thought they had been awarded another penalty when Jack Lewis fell in the area claiming a foul. Referee Jenkins deemed Lewis had dived and promptly yellow carded him.
The Prestatyn pressure continued and Hill-Dunt was forced into another top class double save much to the Prestatyn supporter’s dismay. Minutes later he was beaten only for defender Ben Nash to this time clear Denbigh’s lines.
Deep into Injury time Prestatyn had a final chance to peg back the lead only for that man Hill-Dunt to make yet another top drawer save.
This was a tremendous display for Denbigh which shows just how far the players have come in recent weeks. Fitness and ability is shining through and manager Eddie Maurice-Jones and his coaching staff and players will take great satisfaction in this result. All the players deserve so much credit for their hard work and effort.
Next up is a home game against Flint Town Utd at Central Park on Saturday 4th March – kick off 2.30pm
Prestatyn – Carl Jones, Tom Kemp, Jack Lewis, Connor Shackleton, Reece Fairhurst, Noah Edwards, Michael Parker, James Stead, Jack Kenny, Ben Maher, Warren Adam Subs: Paul O’Neill, Ryan Roberts, Alex Williams, Jordan Davies, Jack Higgins
Denbigh Town – Jon Hill-Dunt, Jack Riley, Nathan Williams, Ben Nash, Liam Smith, Craig Pritchard, Gareth Partridge, Mathew Cook, Alan Bull, Aaron Hassall, Andrew Swarbrick. Subs; Kieran Gaul, Andy Thomas, David Lawson-Cooke
Referee – Rob Jenkins
Assistant – Graham Hannah
Assistant – Tony Samuel
Attendance – 140