Town deserved winners in 7 goal thriller.
Denbigh travelled to second placed Porthmadog looking to build on a comprehensive 5-1 win over Llandudno Junction.
Porthmadog 3-4 Denbigh Town
Last season the two games between these clubs produced 15 goals and supporters of both teams were looking forward to plenty of goals once again.
Denbigh’s striker Josh Davies had scored four for Porthmadog in their 6-4 win at Central Park last season, but now he is playing for his local team and was looking to help continue Denbigh’s run of form
New signing Rakim Newton was drafted in for the injured Gareth Partridge. Newton has played for Rhyl, Cefn Druids & Wrexham, but more recently he had been playing for Gottne IF of Sweden and Denbigh have had to seek International clearance before he could start.
Denbigh started the better with plenty of early possession and midfielder Matty Cook struck a fierce drive from outside the box which Port keeper Harvey did well to save by diving to his left hand side to concede a corner.
Kristian Pierce was then fouled outside the Port penalty area and he took the free kick which just missed the target as Denbigh began to dominate the game.
Pierce was linking well with Warren Duckett and the two of them fed full back Nathan Williams who just shot past the post in a great move. Denbigh’s midfield men were running the game with Steve Cunningham, Matty Cook and Craig Pritchard feeding Denbigh’s forwards Duckett and Davies with several chances. Pierce was involved again from a corner as he found Ben Nash’s head at the back post only for his header to be deflected for another corner.
The Port crowd was quiet as the hosts had given them nothing to cheer, but this changed on 30 minutes when Cai Jones fed the impressive Sion Bradley with a through ball which he fired just over the Denbigh bar.
Denbigh responded and a fine Craig Pritchard cross was met by Warren Duckett whose header was parried by keeper Harvey into the path of Josh Davies who fired in on 35 minutes to give Denbigh a deserved 1-0 lead.
Davies returned the favour minutes later by laying a ball on for Pritchard who shot over for just inside the penalty area.
Just as the game was edging towards half time, Port capitalised on a poor defensive clearance by Denbigh with Sion Bradley picking the ball up and crossing for Julian Williams to fire into the Denbigh net helped by a deflection on the way.
Denbigh responded immediately with the attack minded Newton providing a great cross which was met by Warren Duckett to head home and take Denbigh into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Denbigh manager’s Eddie Maurice-Jones’ half time talk was one of looking to maintain their lead and also look to further increase the lead. He knew Port would come out stronger in the second half and they did for a short period.
Then on 54 minutes a defensive slip by a Port defender let in the busy Craig Pritchard who with only the goalie to beat laid on for Josh Davies to fire in his second of the game to give Town a 3-1 lead.
Port looked to changes things with Gareth Evans being replaced by Ifan Emlyn but on 57 minutes a long back pass to Harvey was picked up illegally by the keeper on the edge of his penalty area. From the resultant free kick Pierce took a short pass into the path of Danny Sullivan who hit a low drive which sailed into the Port net. 4-1 to Denbigh and they were looking comfortable with half an hour left.
That only lasted a minute as Bradley broke again and blasted in past Jon Hill-Dunt’s right hand corner to reduce the Port deficit to 4-2.
Now was the time for Town to consolidate their lead, but Bradley was proving a thorn in their side. He broke past Ben Nash who brought him down and received a yellow card for his sins. Minutes later it was Bradley who broke through and forced an excellent save from Hill-Dunt diving at full stretch to his left.
Port’s Cai Jones received a booking for a foul on Newton just as Jake Eyre replaced the hard working Kristian Pierce. The fresh legs gave Town new impetus as Cunningham shot from 25 yards only for his shot to be blocked by a Port defender which gave rise to calls for a penalty from the Denbigh supporters. Referee Thomas waved play on and the ball broke to Pritchard whose shot went just over the bar.
Duckett was involved in some excellent play on his own on the Port touch line and crossed with venom to be met by Jake Eyre with a spectacular volley which just missed the goal. This was Duckett’s last play as he was replaced by Lewis Turner on 80 minutes as Town looked to play out the game.
Town then had a lucky escape came when Nash slipped to let Meilir Williams in for a one on one with Hill-Dunt but he shot wide. The Port pressure was building and on 89 minutes a cross to Josh Banks was headed into the corner of the Town goal to make it 4-3.
Referee Thomas then found 5 minutes of added time to the bewilderment of the Town followers. Now Town played out the game well in the Port corner and it was relief that the final whistle was blown to give Denbigh a much deserved 3 points.
Credit must go to the Town for a great team performance against a highly fancied Port team. They all worked tirelessly for each other and up front Josh Davies toiled relentlessly and was well rewarded with his two goals.
The next fixture is on Wednesday 20th September when FC Queens Park are the visitors to central Park – kick off 7.30pm
Richard Harvey, Leon Doran, Ceri James, Gareth Evans, Sion Bradley, Iddon Price, Cai Jones, Josh Banks, Joe Chaplin, Julian Williams, Robert Evans Subs Tyler French, Ifan Emlyn, Steve Bratt, Meilir Williams, Jake Jones
Jon Hill-Dunt, Rakim Newton, Nathan Williams, Dan Sullivan, Ben Nash, Matt Cook, Kristian Pierce, Steve Cunningham, Warren Duckett, Josh Davies, Craig Pritchard Subs: Jake Eyre, Lewys Turner, Liam Smith
Referee – Andy Harms
Assistant – Stuart Ellis
Assistant – Scott Campbell