Town draw with League leaders
Denbigh Town 3 - 3 Caernarfon Town
Match Report by Iwan Jones
Photos by Roy Gunther and Steve Whitfield
Denbigh welcomed league leaders Caernarfon Town to Central Park for an eagerly awaited fixture. The game had high significance as Denbigh were seven points behind the Cofis with a game in hand and knew a win would give them a great chance of catching their opponents.
Denbigh had been boosted by the news in the week that former Team Manager Richard Williams-Cooke was returning to the Club as Assistant to Eddie Maurice-Jones.
Caernarfon brought a healthy following of vociferous supporters to the game that added atmosphere to the game.
Denbigh were under pressure during the first few moments of kick off and Caernarfon's new signing Shaun Cavanagh saw his header clatter Denbigh's crossbar with Jon Hill-Dunt beaten. However, it was Denbigh then who had the better of these early spells with Kristian Pierce firing a great drive which left Cofi keeper Ramsey rooted to the spot only for the shot to hit the upright. Denbigh’s captain Ben Nash picked up an early yellow card for a challenge on Jamie Breeze.
After nine minutes Town took an early lead when Craig Pritchard broke free on the Town’s right hand side dribbled into the box and laid on a deft pass for Warren Duckett to fire home from 10 yards.
The Reds continued to pile the pressure on the Caernarfon goal and had several chances to extend their lead but the finishing touch was not there. Pritchard was involved again as his shot was deflected over for a corner which came to nothing.
Caernarfon had their chances but the solid duo of Liam Smith and Ben Nash were keeping them at bay.
Rakim Newton had a great run down his right wing and played the ball onto Pritchard but his cross failed to meet a Denbigh player and the Cofis cleared to safety.
Hill-Dunt was forced into an excellent save shortly after when he had to dive low to his right hand side and parry Cavanagh’s shot away for a corner.
As the game progressed both teams were having good patches. Pritchard, Matty Cook and Josh Davies were involved in some intricate play but Davies’ shot failed to trouble Ramsey in Caernarfon’s game
On 35 minutes Denbigh were forced into an early substitution when their goal scorer Duckett limped off to be replaced by Andrew Swarbrick. Swarbrick was straight into the action and he broke free only to be fouled by Rhys Roberts who received a yellow card.
Just on half time the Cofis broke down their right wing and a low cross was blocked out for a corner by Ben Nash with, he claimed, the top of his chest. Caernarfon thought otherwise and appealed for a penalty and referee Jenkins and his assistant judged the block to be hand ball and promptly pointed to the spot. Nathan Craig stepped up to score past Hill-Dunt and the teams went into the break 1-1.
A stern talking to in the changing rooms saw Denbigh come out on the attack and straight away they got the break through. From a Joe Culshaw free kick the ball broke out to Swarbrick. From 10 yards his shot could only be half saved by Ramsey and the ball hit the net to give Denbigh a 2-1 lead. Swarbrick had a second opportunity straight after but this time Ramsey saved well.
Town continued to pile on the pressure and 7 minutes later some great play by Gareth Partridge, Pritchard and Davies saw Pritchard in space and able to fire home to give Town a comfortable 3-1 lead.
Caernarfon responded by making a double substitution with Kevin Roberts and Shaun Cavanagh leaving the field for Jay Gibbs and Kevin Lloyd to replace them. The change worked to their favour almost immediately when Hill-Dunt was forced to thwart a Caernarfon break by diving at the feet of the Cofi forwards.
The pressure was now on the Denbigh goal and a real goal mouth scramble saw shots being blocked at close range by Town’s defenders. The ball broke to right back Joe Williams who hit a fierce drive through a bunch of players and into the net to make it 3-2 on 61 minutes.
The game was now getting feisty and tackles were flying in. Both Denbigh and Caernarfon had players receiving yellow cards. Chances were coming at both ends – Denbigh having the better ones but seeming to take too many touches at times and allowing Ramsey to save from close range
Kristian Pierce collected the ball in midfield and was on a great run but was fouled by Rhys Roberts. Referee Jenkins had no alternative but to produce another yellow card for Roberts and he had to leave the field. Denbigh should now have had the advantage but they could not capitalise on having the extra man.
They produced further chances with Partridge, Pritchard and Swarbrick having excellent opportunities to wrap the game up, but these were missed and as the game went into its latter stages Town were playing deeper and deeper in their own half.
As the game went into injury time the ball was played down the Caernarfon right wing and Joe Culshaw chased back into his own area with a Caernarfon forward. As they both challenged for the ball referee Jenkins felt Culshaw impeded the forward and pointed to the penalty spot much to the anguish of the Denbigh team and supporters, but to the delight of the travelling support.
Up stepped Nathan Craig to shoot past Hill-Dunt and make it 3-3 with the last kick of the game.
For the neutral this was a great game. For Denbigh though who were looking for a win from the game and it must be treated as two points dropped. They were in control of the game at 3-1, saw their opponents reduced to 10 men and then could not see out the game from a winning position.
Another great advertisement for the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance, this was an enthralling game and great entertainment.
Denbigh now move onto their next fixture – an away fixture at Llandudno Junction on Saturday 13 th January – kick at the earlier time of 2.00pm
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, Tom Weir
Alex Ramset, Joe Williams, Chris Williams, Gareth Edwards, Rhys Roberts, Kevin Roberts, Gareth Evans, Nathan Craig (Capt), Jamie Breeze, Shaun Cavanagh, Danny Brookwell, Subs : Jay Gibbs, Kevin Lloyd, Clive Williams, Telor Williams, Liam Jones
Referee –Rob Jenkins
Assistant - Connor Sears
Assistant – Ryan Davies
Attendance - 300