Winning run continues in tough away conditions.
After two great previous performances manager Eddie Maurice-Jones picked an unchanged team for the difficult mid table clash with Holyhead Hotspur.
Town were looking to build on impressive wins against leaders Prestatyn Town and Flint Town with another victory against a team that are always formidable opponents.
On a dank, misty afternoon it was Holyhead who started the better with their experienced striker Mel McGuiness latching onto a cross and forcing Hill-Dunt into a finger- tip save which clipped the cross bar and went over for a corner.
Town responded well and on three minutes where awarded a penalty after a Matt Cook cross reached Andrew Swarbrick who was brought down in the box. Aaron Hassall stepped up to take the kick but his shot was well saved by Hotspur keeper Pritchard diving low to his right hand side.
As Denbigh rued this miss, Hassall looked to make amends and minutes later he linked well with Alan Bull only to this time see his shot go just wide of Pritchard’s left hand post. A similar move seconds later saw the two join up again but for Hassall’s shot to go wide.
Town’s pressure was paying and on 14 minutes they won a free kick deep inside the Holyhead half. Gareth Partridge floated the ball into the box which found Swarbrick’s head and he laid it on for Town captain Ben Nash to fire home from close range to give them a 1-0 lead.
Holyhead looked to step up their game and they put pressure on the Denbigh defence. However, the young back four were limiting Hotspur to shots from outside the area which were not troubling Hill-Dunt in the Town’s goal.
The heavy pitch was playing its part in the game as the rain came down making conditions difficult for both sides.
Town’s Jack Riley made a break down the right wing and he found Craig Pritchard just inside the box only for his cross to be deflected for a corner. Gareth Partridge’s low corner found Hassall on the edge of the box and his shot fired into the box only to be cleared by a relieved Holyhead defence. Pritchard was involved again as he dribbled into the penalty area to lay the ball on for Swarbrick to shoot straight at Pritchard.
Holyhead, spurred on by a vociferous crowd were still putting pressure on the Denbigh goal and some desperate defending saw Ben Nash happy to clear for a corner.
From the corner Denbigh cleared and attacked with Alan Bull putting a pin point ball on for Hassall to run onto and jink into the penalty area only to be brought down for another Denbigh penalty. This time Craig Pritchard stepped up to shoot straight down the goal and beat Pritchard for Town to go two up on 24 minutes.
Mel McGuiness had a half chance to pull one back for Holyhead only for Nash to once again be in the right place and block his shot for a corner. Left back Nathan Williams then cut out a dangerous cross which would have put Hotspur’s winger Sharpe clean in on goal as Holyhead looked to peg the lead back before half time.
With a deserved 2-0 lead at half time, Town were slow coming out of the blocks for the second half and some uncharacteristic sloppy defending saw Hotspur’s Corey Jones able to slot home from close range after only 27 seconds to make it 2-1. Minutes later Hill-Dunt was forced to dive to the feet of McGuiness to thwart the home side drawing equal.
This brought Town to their senses and they started to put some crisp passing together on the ever increasing heavy pitch. Cook found Partridge and he laid on Pritchard whose cross just failed to reach Hassall. Hassall then found Bull whose shot was well saved by Pritchard.
Hotspurs continued to fight back and Thomas had a great chance to equalise only for Hill-Dunt to pull off a fine save and parry the ball out to McGuiness whose resulting cross came to nothing.
Town needed an extra goal to put the game beyond doubt and on 67 minutes manager Eddie Maurice-Jones thought fresh legs in the form of Jake Eyre would be the answer. He was proved right as Eyre replaced the hard working Swarbrick and a minute later after some great work by Alan Bull when he kept possession in the Holyhead penalty box for what seemed an age, he laid the ball onto Eyre to blast home from 8 yards to give Town a 3-1 lead.
Eyre almost had a second as he was put though by Pritchard only for his control in the mud to let him down. Pritchard (pictured) was at the heart of all Denbigh’s attacks as he laid on Eyre to cross only for Partridge to just fail to connect at the far post. And it was Pritchard who was put through in the penalty area on 75 minutes only to be crudely brought down by Dan McGuiness. This time the referee saw nothing wrong despite the appeals by the Denbigh players and supporters.
Kieran Gaul replaced Hassall on 79 minutes and he immediately puts a ball through for Eyre to run through only for Pritchard to clear just in time.
Andy Thomas replaced Bull on 84 minutes and Denbigh looked to play the game out. Holyhead were not finished and from a well worked corner their defender Alex Jones forced Hill-Dunt into an amazing save as he flipped the ball over the bar from a powerful header.
As the game went into injury time Hill-Dunt was called on again to make another great save from Holyhead’s attack that had had little change from a well organised defence throughout the afternoon
In testing conditions this was another fine performance from Denbigh who now move up to 9th in the League. They are a mixture of experience and youth who have matured into an attractive playing team and are well worth watching.
With only three fixtures remaining this season their next game is a home fixture on Friday 17th March at Central Park against mid Wales team Penrhyncoch.
Holyhead Hotspur; Paul Pritchard, Dan McGuiness, Kieran Hilditch, Corey Jones, Alex Jones, Rhys Roberts, Mike Kelly, Dean Garmey, Mel McGuiness, Dewi Thomas, Gavin Sharpe Subs; Brendon Hogan, Rob Llewelyn Jones, Martin McClymont, Mervyn Williams, Campbell Harrison
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, Jake Eyre
Referee – P Roszowski
Assistant – G Williams
Assistant – C Hagan
Attendance – 90