Honours even in top of table clash
Guilsfield 2 - 2 Denbigh Town
Report by Iwan Jones
Photos by Steve Whitfield [ samples attached full album available tomorrow ]
Denbigh travelled to Clos Mytton in Mid Wales looking to extend their run of four winning games. They came up against a hard working well organised Guilsfield team that were fourth in the table, four points behind third placed Denbigh. A close tense game ended fairly with the sides drawing in a game which had all its goals came in the second half.
Following the excellent win against Rhyl, Denbigh’s manager Eddie Maurice-Jones welcomed captain Ben Nash back from his training course at Real Madrid, but with Matty Cook away on holiday, Warren Duckett and Joel Hewitt injured and Corey Smart unavailable he was forced to make changes to his starting eleven.
Andrew Swarbrick started up front partnering Matthew Worrall with Nash standing on for Hewitt. Young seventeen year old Gruff Jones was called up from the Reserves as a substitute along with manager Maurice-Jones.
Denbigh started brightly on a warm sunny spring afternoon and should have been ahead with 30 seconds when some great work by Kristian Pierce saw him lay a ball to right wing back Rakim Newton whose cross just failed to reach the overstretching Matthew Worrall who had the goal at his mercy.
This spurred Town on but an over enthusiastic challenge by Pierce on 5 minutes earned him an early yellow card and he knew he had to tread carefully for the rest of the game which was refereed most competently by International referee Cheryl Foster.
Guilsfield looked dangerous on the break and following a cross from their right wing the ball fell to Chris Catherall, whose shot from 8 yards was well blocked by Town’s defender Nash and cleared with Guilsfield appealing for hand ball.
Joe Culshaw was involved in several dead ball crosses and corners which frustratingly could not find the head of any Denbigh attacker and were subsequently cleared to safety by the solid Guilsfield defence.
Guilsfield should have gone one up on 18 minutes when from a long throw Robbie James was in acres of space in Denbigh’s penalty area but he could only direct his header at Keighan Jones in Denbigh’s goal and he saved easily.
The game was now flowing evenly with both teams having chances. Worrall did well beating two defenders only to have his fierce shot blocked. From the resultant corner Guislfield broke and the ball reached Asa Hamilton who sprinted down the right wing and crossed for Gareth Jones who was tackled brilliantly by Kristian Pierce who had tracked back well to thwart the attack.
Denbigh had the ball in the back of the net on 30 minutes following some great work by Worrall whose strength saw him brush off a defender and cross for Andrew Swarbrick to fire in from close range but he was adjudged to have been offside by assistant referee Graham Bell.
Just prior to half time Denbigh had their best chance when the cool Liam Smith fed hard working Gareth Partridge, he crossed for Worrall to shoot from 8 yards but his shot was blocked by some frantic Guilsfield defending with the block sending the ball just over the crossbar.
Guislfield came out the stronger in the second half and from a Hamilton cross from the right wing Jake Cross was unmarked at the edge of the six yard box and with the goal at his mercy he headed against the post and Denbigh cleared to safety.
Minutes later Guilsfield were awarded a penalty when Dan Sullivan fouled Adam Jenkins as Jenkins turned just inside the penalty area. Asa Hamilton took the kick and slotted the ball home neatly.
The game now went through a scrappy period with tackles flying in and referee Foster brought out yellow cards for Guilsfields Stuart Rogers and Gareth Jones and Denbigh’s Craig Pritchard.
With 69 minutes gone and Denbigh desperate for an equaliser Kristian Pierce had the ball on the half way line and he sent a superb ball over the Guilsfield defenders for Matthew Worrall to run onto in the penalty area and fire home from 10 yards.
Having done the hard work a lapse in concentration saw Town concede a second just three minutes later when Asa Hamilton was allowed time to evade tackles and move into the penalty area and shoot with venom past an outstretched Keighan Jones. Denbigh were so disappointed to have let in this goal having worked so hard to get back into the game.
Andrew Swarbrick picked up a knock on 75 minutes and was replaced by young Gruff Jones who impressed in his time on the pitch.
Denbigh were now piling the pressure on the Guilsfield goal looking again for an equaliser and Pritchard was crudely fouled some 25 yards dead centre from goal with 9 minutes remaining. Dan Sullivan stepped up and sent a screamer into the top right corner of Guilsfield keeper Lee Andrew’s goal giving him no chance.
This time Denbigh held their concentration and with Guilsfield bringing on two subs in the final five minutes they changed their formation by having three strikers up front. Denbigh held firm and were still looking for the winner when the referee blew for full time
A hard earned point for Denbigh and they will be pleased to have pulled back the deficit twice in another great game which had plenty of great football.
Next up is Town’s last home fixture of the season - against Eddie Maurice-Jones’ former club Gresford at Central Park on Wednesday 25th April – kick off 7.30pm
Keighan Jones, Liam Smith, Joe Culshaw, Dan Sullivan, Ben Nash, Rakim Newton, Kristian Pierce, Gareth Partridge, Matthew Worrall, Andrew Swarbrick, Craig Pritchard. Subs; Gruff Jones, Warren Duckett, Eddie Maurice-Jones, Jon Hill- Dunt
Referee – Cheryl Foster - Chester
Assistant – John Spender
Assistant – Graeme Bell
Attendance - 95