Ruthin claim local derby win
Ruthin Town 3 Denbigh Town 1
A highly anticipated Boxing Day local derby at the Memorial Playing Fields saw Ruthin come out deserved winners in a game when Denbigh never got into their stride.
Denbigh kept the same starting eleven which had won well at Rhyl a fortnight previously and they stood second in the table at the start of the day. Ruthin had won the fixture at Denbigh earlier in the season and were keen to get the double over their near rivals.
It was Ruthin who started the stronger and had a lot of early pressure with Jordan MacCarter firing well over after shaking off a Ben Nash tackle. It was 10 minutes before Denbigh had their first foray into the Ruthin half when a Joe Culshaw free kick was met by Josh Davies’ head but he could not get any power behind it and it was easily saved by Dylan Jones.
Warren Duckett and Kristian Pierce combined well only for Pierce’s shot to be blocked by Ruthin’s defence which worked as an effective unit throughout the game.
On the heavy pitch tackles were flying in from both teams and it was not long before the referee was brandishing a yellow card – Ruthin’s Osian Roberts receiving the first for a late challenge on Joe Culshaw.
Ruthin had a golden opportunity to take the lead when a Garmon Hafal cross found both Llyr Morris and Gwion Owen in Denbigh’s penalty area but they got in each other’s way and the resultant shot went way off Jon Hill-Dunt’s goal.Minutes later Hill-Dunt was forced into a save when he was grateful to catch a shot which seemed to roll up his legs and into his arms as he was lying on the floor.
On the 35th minute Denbigh had control of the ball in their own half when the heavy pitch played its part. A pass from Kristian Pierce to Ben Nash didn't have enough power and Gwion Owen nipped in to intercept the ball and take it into the Denbigh area and fire past Hill-Dunt to give the home side a deserved 1-0 lead which they took into the half time break.
Denbigh made a substitution at half time with Pierce who had picked up a knock being replaced by Corey Smart.Early into the second half some great play by Craig Pritchard saw him cross and Josh Davies flying header was well saved by Jones in the Ruthin goal.
On 56 minutes Ruthin made it 2-0, when from a Denbigh throw in, deep in Denbigh’s own half, they got possession of the ball, switched the play to Jordan MacCarter and he fired a low shot from 12 yards giving Hill-Dunt no chance.
Denbigh needed a response and got it on 61 minutes when Josh Davies was crudely fouled in the penalty area and the referee had an easy decision to make in awarding Denbigh a penalty. Davies stepped up to blast home giving Jones no chance.Davies had battled all afternoon with the central Ruthin defenders of Kev Evans and Mike Sharples and this was just reward for his persistence and hard work.
On 65 minutes Denbigh’s manager made his second change with striker Andrew Swarbrick replacing midfielder Gareth Partridge as Denbigh now looked to find the equaliser. But it was Ruthin who were having the better stages of the game now, winning a higher percentage of the 50/50 balls and this was making Denbigh’s job that much harder.
Then on 82 minutes from a Ruthin free kick on the half way line, the ball went down the right hand side and was played into the Denbigh penalty area to be picked up by Osian Roberts who was tackled unfairly in the eyes of the referee who pointed to the spot. Up stepped the league’s leading goalscorer, Llyr Morris to take full advantage of the opportunity by shooting into the left hand side of Hill-Dunt’s goal to make it 3-1
Denbigh endeavoured to get back into the game but it was not to be and Ruthin ran out deserved winners in front of a large crowd of over 500 people. A disappointing result for the Denbigh team which couldn't match their performances given in recent games.
Next up for the Town is a home fixture on Friday 29th December against Eddie Maurice-Jones’ former team Gresford with a kick off time of 7.30pm
Dylan Jones, Craig Wilkinson, Tomos Roberts, Mike Sharples, Kevin Evans, Ilam Huges, Jordan MacCarter, Osian Davies, Llyr Morris, Gwion Owen, Garmon Hafal. Subs: Will Ashley, David Finnie, Wil Owen, Mathew Williams, Ryan Goldston
Jon Hill-Dunt, Rakim Newton, Joe Culshaw, Liam Smith, Ben Nash, Matt Cook, Kristian Pierce, Gareth Partridge, Warren Duckett, Josh Davies, Craig Pritchard. Subs: Nathan Williams, Andrew Swarbrick, Corey Smart
Attendance - 521
Reporter: Iwan Jones
Photographer: Steve Whitfield