Dominant Denbigh win away.
Denbigh Town had an early 6.30pm kick off at Gresford Athletic on Friday evening and even though the weather was wet and gloomy the match started brightly enough.
There was an intent from the visitors and within the first ten minutes centre forward Jake Eyre had hit the Gresford bar. Keeper Jon Hill-Dunt dealt with one or two low crosses from the right-hand side as Gresford pressed forward but Denbigh looked the more dangerous with the movement of Eyre, Josh Davies and Kristian Pierce proving difficult to contain.
The first goal came on twenty minutes when Pierce collected the ball and charged into the box only to be brought down by central defender Max Peate. Pierce calmly put the spot kick away with a well struck shot leaving home keeper Mike Platt with little chance of getting close. Denbigh were on top and attacked again and again using the direct style of Pierce as often as they could. In fact, he was unlucky not to score again when his shot cum cross bounced off the cross bar. On the half hour Denbigh were awarded a free kick some thirty yards out. Matty Cooke decided that a shot was on. With the slippery ball spinning and swerving it was knocked back into the danger zone by the diving Mike Platt for Alan Bull to pounce to make it 2 - nil.
Gresford were reeling and Denbigh were not going to let them off the hook. Eyre nearly made it three only minutes later when he cleverly controlled a long ball and sent two defenders the wrong way before hitting it with his right bringing off a great save by Platt. Defender Liam Smith then pulled up with a worrying hamstring injury and was replaced by Jack Riley. Pierce continued to trouble Gresford on the right flank and after racing past the left back he sent over a hard-low cross which caused a scramble in the six-yard box before Gareth Partridge controlled the ball with his back to goal. After a quick dummy and sharp turn the ball was thumped into the roof of the net to put Denbigh into the comfort zone. As the clouds cleared referee Ellis Hughes blew for half time.
Things went a lot better for Gresford in the second half with Dave McIntyre and the industrious Josh Griffiths making a strong impact in the middle of the park. It was Gresford's turn to dominate proceedings and a few hopefully punts towards goal were dealt with by Hill-Dunt who now had the strong, low, evening sun in his eyes. On fifty-five minutes, he made an excellent one-on-one save after home winger Jack Chaloner was clear through. As Denbigh's bench were calling for their players to get back into the match quickly left back Nathan Williams was brought into action time and time again as the home side tried to use the right flank. It has to be said, though, that Williams dealt with the pressure very well with his strong tackling and perfectly timed interceptions. He also showed he had attacking flair when he ran down the wing past numerous Gresford players and as he closed on goal he squared the ball to the unmarked Eyre. The centre forward hesitated and tried to turn the ball on to his favoured left foot but the chance was gone.
Part way through this second period Pierce was seen to hobble and was replaced by Sam Tate. Gresford still looked for a goal and certainly the home supporters would say had more of the game although time was running out. Number 9 Joe Williams came close to scoring and Sam Tate also cleared off the line denying substitute Jack Edwards. A good last ten minutes or so from Denbigh saw Eyre and Josh Davies have a few decent efforts on goal.
When asked for his thoughts on a very welcome 3 - nil away win manager Eddie Maurice-Jones replied " I am very pleased with our performance. It was vital we had a reaction after last week's result and we certainly got it! The confidence gained will be a key factor heading into our game against Ruthin on Wednesday "
Denbigh - Jon Hill-Dunt, Liam Smith [ Jack Riley], Nathan Williams, Danny Sullivan, Ben Nash, Matt Cook, Kristian Pierce [ Sam Tate] Gareth Partridge, Jake Eyre, Josh Davies, Alan Bull [ Warren Ackroyd- Duckett]