Two goals for Robbo in away Denbigh win
By Iwan Jones
Holywell Town FC 1 -3 Denbigh Town FC
Denbigh made the short trip to Holywell in search of three points as they looked to move up the Huws Gray Cymru Alliance League. Both teams had not had the best of starts to the season with the Wellmen one point above Denbigh at the start of play and so even at this stage of the season a win was vital for both teams.
Denbigh welcomed Craig Vernon back between the sticks. Ross Weaver was out injured and is likely to be out for a few weeks so Scott McHarrie moved into midfield. Miles Todd came in at right back. Up front Jake walker was unavailable and so Mark Roberts started as centre forward.
Holywell started the better and much of the first quarter saw Denbigh camped in their own half. However with the Wellmen have most of the possession they could’nt find a way past the well marshalled central defending of Tony Davies and Curtis Langton, with keeper Craig Vernon rarely being troubled by the Holywell attack.
As the game progressed Holywell’s keeper Andy Metcalf sliced a clearance from outside his penalty box towards Denbigh’s left wing. Ex Holywell forward Sam Jones ran onto it and shot only for Metcalf to redeem himself by getting back in time to safely catch the attempt.
Both teams had free kicks in dangerous positions but neither could find the end product and the half was petering out as a scrappy and forgettable affair.
However that all changed on 43 minutes when Tom Jones broke free in the Holywell half and fed his brother Sam Jones on the left wing. His low cross into the area was met by Mark Roberts storming into the penalty area to fire into the net from 10 yards.
A minute later it could have been two as Lewis Sirrell found Mark Roberts in the middle of the Holywell half. He spread the ball wide for right back Miles Todd whose cross found the feet of Sam Jones in the penalty area but whose shot from 12 yards was easily saved by Metcalf.
The second half was much more entertaining with both sides realising the importance of getting the three points. Once again it was Holywell having the better possession in the opening stages of the half.
On 54 minutes in one of their forays into the Denbigh box a scramble saw the ball fall to Joe Carey whose shot from 12 yards was blocked by Tony Davies standing a few yards away. The ball hit Davies’ arm according to referee Walker and he awarded a penalty and produced a yellow card for the unlucky Davies. Holywell’s captain, Jones stepped up and fired past Vernon to make it 1-1
Minutes later the Wellmen should have been ahead when after some good possession the ball found its way to Connor Little but whose header shot went wide of the goal.
Denbigh’s management team saw they needed to change their tactics or else they would come home empty handed. Striker Alfons Fosu-Mensah had missed the previous game through injury and although not completely match fit came on for Tom Jones who had worked hard in midfield. Rhys Llwyd replaced winger Sam Jones.
The change of play immediately had results when a cross field ball from Bailey Jackson found Fosu-Mensah on the right side of Holywell’s half. His strength and power saw him shrug off a Holywell challenge but his shot went wide of the target.
Denbigh’s midfielders Sam Downey and Scott McHarrie were working well together in midfield and their hard work closing down any pending Holywell attacks was helping keep the Wellmen at bay.
Another change was forced on Denbigh when the impressive Bailey Jackson had to leave the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. On came 18 year old new signing Harry Lovatt for his debut. Formerly with the academies of Chester City and Shrewsbury Town, Lovatt had played for the Reserves 24 hours previously and had impressed assistant manager Pete Lloyd.
Denbigh’s changes seemed to unsettle Holywell and as the Town pressurised the Holywell goal a defensive lapse saw Mark Roberts being able to latch onto the ball in the penalty area. He turned and was able to slide the ball past an advancing Metcalf to get his second goal and give Denbigh a 2-1 lead after 70 minutes.
Holywell made a double substitution as they chased the game, but it was Denbigh having the better chances. Roberts should have had his hat-trick on 77 minutes. Lewis Sirrell had moved to left back after Jackson’s injury and he played a brilliant long cross field ball straight to the feet of Mark Roberts just inside the Holywell penalty area. Roberts took a touch too many and his shot under pressure went wide for a goal kick.
Another chance came Roberts’ way two minutes later when Harry Lovatt’s insight saw him find Rhys Llwyd out on the left wing. He played the ball over to Roberts whose shot went just wide of the target.
The game had now upped its tempo. Holywell piled on the pressure and Miles Todd made a goal saving tackle as Holywell’s Jones was through on goal. From the resulting corner the game had its defining moment. Holywell pushed their men pushed forward and from the well delivered corner the ball found the head of a Holywell striker. His attempt brought out a simply stunning save from Craig Vernon as he pushed the ball against the crossbar and Denbigh cleared. ( see photo)
From the clearance Denbigh broke quickly and had four attackers facing one Holywell defender. Mark Roberts moved forward, and with options available he played the ball to Alfons Fosu-Menash who was able to coolly slot the ball home to give Denbigh a 3-1 lead with six minutes remaining.
With Denbigh now in control they were able to play the game out and bring home a much wanted three points.
Joint manager Matty Jones commented afterwards “This was a much needed three points to follow up on our cup win last week at Rhyl. It was’nt the best of performances but we dug in and limited their chances going forward. We took our goals well and Verno’s save towards the end was match winning”.
Next up is a mid week game against Prestatyn at Central Park
Andy Metcalf, Ryan Davies, Tom Hartley, Danny Desormeaux, Matthew Harvey, Matthew Kendrick, Tony Roebuck, S Jones (Capt), Joe Carey, Connor Little, Mark Winslade Subs – Jon Jones, Aidy Roxburgh, Mark Gunther, Dafydd Griffith
Craig Vernon, Miles Todd, Bailey Jackson, Curtis Langton, Tony Davies (Capt), Scott McHarrie, Lewis Sirrell, Sam Downey, Mark Roberts, Tom Jones, Sam Jones Subs – Sion Jones, Harry Lovatt, Alfons Fosu-Mensah, Rhys Llwyd, Pete Lloyd
Referee – James Walker
Attendance - 205