Town hit junction for six!
Llandudno Junction 1 - 6 Denbigh Town
Report by Iwan Jones
Photos by Steve Whitfield
For the third time this season Denbigh travelled to The Flyover at Llandudno Junction hoping to make amends for two poor previous Cup losses when they had been second best to the Railwaymen.
Denbigh were on the back of a 3-3 draw with league leaders Caernarfon and so a win against bottom of the table Junction was a must if they wanted to stay in contention as challengers to win the League.
Manager Eddie Maurice-Jones started with the same eleven that had performed so heroically last week. Meanwhile Junction had changed their manager in the last week with chairman, Denley Smith stepping into the manager’s shoes along with Mark Hughes as his assistant as they looked for some winning performances to move them off the base of the League.
It was Junction who started the better with Hill-Dunt being forced into an excellent save following Town’s defenders failing to cut out a through ball.
Town bounced back with Warren Duckett brushing off a challenge from Daniel Roberts and pushing forward to let leash a fierce drive that keeper Keighan Jones did well to tip away for a corner. Josh Davies then got his head to a great cross from Rakim Newton only for it to have no real power and it was an easy save for Jones.
Town’s pressure paid off on 18 minutes when some cool play by central defender Liam Smith on the half way line, which saw him pass a pin point ball for Josh Davies to run onto in the penalty area. He danced past his man and fired in from six yards to give Town a 1-0 lead.
Junction responded by upping the pressure on Denbigh’s goal and from a free kick left winger Tierney’s header forced Hill-Dunt into a finger tip save just under his crossbar. Denbigh’s defence held strong against some increasing Junction possession until the 24th minute when a cross came in which should have been easily cleared. But a lack of communication and indecision in the box with a case of “you have it”, “no you have it” leading to Junction’s Sean McGaffrey nipping in to fire home from eight yards to give the Railwaymen a deserved equaliser.
With their tails up it was now Junction who were on top. They were first to the balls on the short pitch, which did not suit Denbigh’s style of play.
However, a little against the run of play, on 30 minutes a cross from Town’s Matty Cook found Gareth Partridge in space on the six yard line and he had time to loop his header over the grasping arms of Jones to give Town a 2-1 lead.
This brought Town into the game more with Cook, Partridge, Kristian Pierce and Craig Pritchard now having more and more of the ball and using it effectively.
As the game petered out to half time full back Rakim Newton went on a run down the right wing and fed Craig Pritchard with a great touch. Pritchard shot from the edge of the box only for the shot to be blocked by a defender and the ball bounced out to that man Gareth Partridge. He fired a shot past Jones to send the visitors into the break with a 3-1 lead.
The second half saw Town with more chances as both Davies and Pierce had chances to extend Denbigh’s lead. Denbigh’s fourth came on 55 minutes from Pierce following a Joe Culshaw cross field pass to Pritchard. He dribbled into the area to lay a peach of a pass for Pierce who took his time before hitting a low drive giving keeper Jones no chance.
Three minutes later Pierce got his second and Denbigh’s fifth with Pritchard being involved again as he made progress down the right wing, crossed to find Duckett who shielded the ball well and laid on a ball for Pierce to fire in again
That was Duckett’s last piece of action as he was replaced by Andrew Swarbrick and minutes later Pierce was replaced by Nathan Williams. With Town now in an unassailable lead Junction continued to persevere but could not get past Denbigh’s strong defensive unit.
Midfield playmaker Matty Cook made way for Corey Smart with 20 minutes remaining with Town well on top. Immediately after the restart Hill-Dunt took a long goal kick which found Josh Davies in the opposition’s half. He turned his defender using his strength and from the edge of the area blasted in his second and Denbigh’s sixth.
More chances came to Denbigh before the final whistle with Smart, Culshaw, Pritchard and Davies all having chances to add to the score sheet. At the end it proved to be a comprehensive win, but credit to Llandudno Junction’s team they never gave up.
Denbigh’s manager Eddie Maurice-Jones was more than happy with the first win of 2018 which sees Denbigh move into third place, five points behind leaders Caernarfon, but with a game in hand.
Another tough fixture next week sees Denbigh welcome Porthmadog to Central Park on Saturday 20th January – kick off 2.30pm
Keighan Jones, Leon Doran, Connor Courtwell, Jordan Kane, Daniel Roberts, Alan Roberts (Capt), Adam Eden, Sean McGaffery, James Hobson, Bryan Roberts, Conn Tierney. Subs: Owen Jones, Jack Nettleton, Liam Jones, Curtis Cooper
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
Referee –Dan Fogerty
Assistant – Iwan Williams
Assistant – Tony Hepton
Attendance - 52