Town up to fourth as Pritchard nets winner
Denbigh Town 1 - 0 Porthmadog
Report by Iwan Jones
Photos by Roy Gunther and Steve Whitfield [ see seperate album which will be uploaded tomorrow 13/4/18 ]
Denbigh welcomed Porthmadog to Central Park on a Wednesday evening for the first game at the ground in over a month due to the recent bad weather.
Porthmadog were on a winning streak having won their last three games and had moved up to seventh in the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance League. Denbigh still held hopes of a top three final position in the league and manager Eddie Maurice-Jones was able to field a full strength team.
The game lived up to its expectations as it proved to be an end to end thrilling game with a Craig Pritchard goal on 75 minutes deciding the encounter. The woodwork foiled both teams on three occasions each and although Denbigh came out winners, Porthmadog were unlucky on several attempts not to have scored earlier in the game.
Maurice-Jones opted to play two up front with Andrew Swarbrick and Matthew Worrall leading the attack. As early as the third minute Matty Cook found Worrall in space and he fed Pritchard only for his shot to rattle against the crossbar and bounce out to safety.
Porthmadog had an early chance with Julian Williams linking well with Cai Jones and Denbigh’s Rakim Newton made a timely challenge to thwart the attack
A loose kick by Denbigh’s keeper Keighan Jones was intercepted by Port’s Sion Bradley who crossed to Williams only for his header to hit a Denbigh defender and bounce off the crossbar for a corner.
The game was flowing well and after 12 minutes Denbigh had an excellent chance to go one up when they were awarded a penalty after a foul on Newton in the area. Up stepped Worrall but his weak shot was saved by Port’s keeper Richard Harvey diving to his left and safely gathering the ball.
Worrall almost made amends straight after when he met a great cross from Newton only for his header to be tipped over the bar in acrobatic style by Harvey. The Port keeper was having a busy spell as he dived low to his left to save well from a Joe Culshaw free kick after Gareth Partridge had been crudely fouled on the outskirts of the penalty area.
Porthmadog responded with an excellent shot from Rob Evans hitting the Denbigh crossbar and going over for a goal kick.
On 35 minutes Denbigh thought they had the lead when central defender Dan Sullivan headed in off a Culshaw cross only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.
As the game moved towards half time tackles were flying in and referee Andy Harmes had cause to produce two yellow cards - one for Town’s Dan Sullivan for a late tackle of Port’s Iddon Price and then Port’s Ceri James for a late challenge on Rakim Newton.
Half time came with the team’s level and it was Port who came out of the blocks the stronger in the second half. Keighan Jones was forced into several fine stops from the Port attack. Defenders Liam Smith and Ben Nash were working overtime in stopping the Port attack and this was Port’s best period of the game.
Maurice-Jones knew he had to change something and he made a double substitution with Kristian Pierce and Warren Duckett replacing strikers Swarbrick and Worrall. Both subs were immediately in the action and Pierce was unlucky to see a low cross of his fly across the Port six yard box with no Denbigh player able to get on the end of it.
On 75 minutes Pierce was involved in the deciding goal when he worked well down the right wing cut inside and played a great ball onto the tireless Craig Pritchard who was able to glide the ball past the outstretched arms of keeper Harvey.
Denbigh knew they had to keep onto the lead and defender Joel Hewitt came on for Rakim Newton as they looked to keep onto their lead.
As the game moved into its final stages both teams had further chances to score. Joe Culshaw received a great ball from Duckett and his fierce drive hit the crossbar and bounced away to safety.
At the other end the impressive Sion Bradley had a great chance to equalise but his effort went over the bar. Seconds later it was Bradley again having a shot towards Jones’ right hand side with venom, with Jones having to pull off a stunning save to keep Denbigh’s lead.
This was Port’s final chance and Denbigh were able to play the game out and claim three hard earned points. A great game, played in great sprit by both sides, it was a superb advert for the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance.
Denbigh now move up to fourth with their next game on Saturday 14th April away to Queens Park to be played at Lex’s ground in Wrexham, kick off 2.30pm. This is followed by the twice postponed home game against local rivals Rhyl on Wednesday 18th April kick off 7.30pm,
Keighan Jones, Liam Smith, Joe Culshaw, Dan Sullivan, Ben Nash, Matt Cook, Rakim Newton, Gareth Partridge, Matthew Worrall, Andrew Swarbrick, Craig Pritchard. Subs: Joel Hewitt, Corey Smart, Kristian Pierce, Warren Duckett, Jon Hill- Dunt
Richard Harvey, Cai Jones, Tomos Emlyn, Ceri James, Sion Edwards, Tom Taylor, Iwan Lewis, Iddon Price, Sion Bradley, Julian Williams, Rob Evans Subs; Joe Chaplin, Craig Papirnyk, Ifan Emlyn, Leon Doran, Josh Banks.
Referee – Andy Harmes - Rhyl
Assistant – Glenn Gray - Rhyl
Assistant – Tony Hepton – Rhyl
Attendance - 110