DENBIGH RETURN TO WINNING FORM
Holyhead Hotspur 0 Denbigh Town 2
Match Report - Prepared by Iwan Jones
On a wet and windy Friday evening Denbigh travelled to Holyhead Hotspur looking to get back to winning ways after three defeats on the run. Town’s travelling band of intrepid supporters were treated to one of Denbigh’s best performances of the season as they overcame a highly fancied Hotspur team who have the best defensive record in the league for goals conceded.
Manager Eddie Maurice-Jones was able to call up Kristian Pierce returning from suspension in place of the unavailable Matthew Cook. An injury in the warm up to Liam Smith meant Rakim Newton stepping up to replace him as Denbigh lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
With a strong wind behind them Denbigh had the better of the early stages of the game. A long ball down the left wing was latched onto by Andrew Swarbrick only for him to be brought down by Holyhead’s keeper Paul Pritchard who was yellow carded for the offence.
As Denbigh took control of the game Josh Davies and Warren Duckett linked well for Duckett to shoot just over the bar. Kristian Pierce was working hard in midfield and he was fouled some 35 yards outside the box. From the resultant free kick Joe Culshaw floated a great ball into the back of the Holyhead penalty box to be met by Ben Nash’s head. Nash headed across goal and Andrew Swarbrick [ pictured ] was on hand to tap in from 6 yards to give Denbigh a deserved 1-0 lead on 18 minutes.
Swarbrick had a chance to make it two when he chased a ball which was running through to keeper Pritchard only for Pritchard to slip and give Swarbrick a brief chance at an open goal. Defenders hampered him as he tried to shoot and his shot went just wide of the goal.
Gareth Partridge then laid a ball into the path of Pierce who beat his defender, only for his shot to hit the side netting. Minutes later from another Joe Culshaw free kick, Josh Davies found space to head in with power to put Denbigh 2-0 up on 34 minutes.
Holyhead looked to peg back this Denbigh lead and their midfielder Mel McGuiness laid a ball on for John Littlemore to shoot but his effort went wide of the target. They looked to utilise the long throws of Keiran Hilditch at all opportunities but each time Denbigh’s central defenders Ben Nash and Dan Sullivan dealt with them admirably.
In the midfield Denbigh’s Warren Duckett and Gareth Partridge were commanding the central pitch with Craig Pritchard and Pierce working the flanks. Just before half time Pritchard played a ball onto Pierce whose fierce drive hit the post and bounced away for a gaol kick with keeper Pritchard well beaten.
Denbigh knew the second half would be a different game as Holyhead now had the wind behind them. They contained the Holyhead attack and limited them to long range shots at Hill-Dunt’s goal.
However Littlemore was proving a handful and he looked the one who would do most damage to Denbigh’s lead as he fired a shot at Hill-Dunt on 55 minutes which the keeper did well to save.
Town’s concentration needed to be at its utmost as they looked to hold onto the lead and but for the occasional lapse they held firm during a sustained period of Holyhead pressure. The experienced Sullivan and Duckett were using their years to thwart any Holyhead attacks ably assisted by their younger counterparts Nash, Culshaw and Newton.
Jake Eyre was introduced for Andrew Swarbrick on 63 minutes as Eddie Maurice-Jones looked to bring fresh legs into his attack and take the pressure of his defenders. Pierce was replaced by Nathan Williams on 71 minutes as the rain continued to pour, but Denbigh held firm as they looked to play out the game.
Up front Josh Davies worked tirelessly chasing and hounding defenders into errors and his persistence almost paid off on 87 minutes. He ran onto a Craig Pritchard ball rounded the keeper to put the ball into the net only for him to have been adjudged to be just offside and the goal was disallowed.
This was a fine team performance, much needed by Eddie Maurice-Jones’ men who had been disappointing in the previous game. They showed spirit and guile and thoroughly deserved the 2-0 win which will give them confidence going forward over the next few weeks.
Their next game sees them entertain second place Airbus Broughton at Central Park on Friday 17th November – kick off 7.30pm.
Paul Pritchard, Dan McGuiness, Keiran Hilditch, Tomos Clarke, Alex Jones (Capt) Reece Brown, Dewi Thomas, Corey Jones, John Littlemore, Mel McGuiness, Ryan Taylor. Subs: Alex Boss, Kenleigh Owen, Mike Kelly, Dean Garney, Ceiron Hall.
Jon Hill-Dunt, Rakim Newton, Joe Culshaw, Dan Sullivan, Ben Nash (Capt), Gareth Partridge, Kristian Pierce, Warren Duckett, Andrew Swarbrick, Josh Davies, Craig Pritchard. Subs: Liam Smith, Nathan Williams, Jake Eyre
Referee – James Walker
Assistant – C Hogan
Assistant – A Dogan
Attendance - 105