Relegation looming for Town after loss
By Iwan Jones
Denbigh Town 1-3 Holywell Town
This home defeat means Denbigh drop into the relegation zone and with one game left to play they now need to depend on other teams around them dropping points and Denbigh winning their last game.
With both teams fighting for survival this was always going to be a keenly contested game and it was a game full of incident. The win means Holywell remain below Denbigh in the league but with them having three games left the gap between the two clubs is now only a point. The other team also fighting for safety Penrhyncoch won away at Bangor City and so leapfrogged Denbigh into 13th position and they have a game in hand over Denbigh
On a cool dry evening in front of a healthy crowd, Denbigh called back Miles Todd into defence and Kristian Pierce into midfield and the opening gambits saw chances at both ends. Holywell had a free kick deep into Denbigh’s half which Zebb Edwards sent in low and Denbigh’s defence failed to clear and keeper Craig Vernon dived well to safely gather with Holywell’s forwards encroaching. Town’s captain Mark Roberts (pictured) had a double chance at the other end from close range which somehow the Wellmen’s defenders kept out in a real goalmouth scramble.
Holywell took the lead on 22 minutes from another Zebb Edwards free kick which floated into the penalty where ex-Denbigh player Matty Hughes rose higher than anyone else and looped his header over Vernon.
Denbigh responded with a Curtis Langton shot landing on the roof of the net. Shortly after Mark Roberts was so unlucky again when his acrobatic overhead kick hit the crossbar and from the rebound the ball hit Zebb Edwards’ head and bounced just over the bar for a Town corner.
The Wellmen increased their lead on 34 minutes when referee Platt awarded what many home and away spectators felt was a soft penalty when Damien Ketley went to ground after a Denbigh challenge. Ketley picked the ball up and slotted home the penalty to give his team a 2-0 lead.
As half time approached Mark Roberts had a great strike from 20 yards but this was straight at Holywell’s keeper Mike Platt and he was able to palm the ball away.
On 44 minutes as Dan Lloyd made headway into the Holywell box he was challenged and went to ground. Referee Platt pointed to the spot much to Holywell’s amazement – another soft penalty balancing the earlier one out? Kristian Pierce stepped up to fire past Platt to see the teams go in at half time 2-1 to Holywell.
The second half was nine minutes old when Holywell got their third – and what a goal it was. Zebb Edwards picked the ball up just inside his half and having spotted Vernon standing on the edge of his penalty area he hit a wonderful long shot which had Vernon scampering back towards his line but he could not keep the ball out and the Wellmen were now well in control
Denbigh immediately looked to change things with the promising youngster Harley Steel coming on for Jake Walker. Steel had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes when he went in high on a Holywell defender and referee Platt brandished a red card to the distraught Steel.
With Denbigh now reduced to ten men the task was looking harder yet in fairness they never gave up and showed great spirit for the remainder of the game but could not get the all important breakthrough. Vernon was called upon to make a great point blank save before Mark Roberts broke through the Wellmen’s defence only for his shot to go just wide of Platt’s goal.
Andy Thomas and Sion Jones came on for Denbigh in the latter stages to give Denbigh fresh legs but Holywell were able to play the game out and take the 3-1 win
This was a most disappointing result for Denbigh whose spell in Tier 2 of Welsh football is now looking in jeopardy. Captain Mark Roberts commented afterwards “That was a tough result to take. Can’t fault the effort of the lads – we simply did’nt take our chances. We just go again Saturday to get the three points against Llanrhaeadr YM and hope the results go our way. It would be a travesty if we were to go down given all the hard work from the management and committee”
Denbigh Town FC
Craig Vernon, Stuart Vernon, Miles Todd, Curtis Langton, Dan Lloyd, Pat Hinchcliffe, Scott McHarrie, Lewis Sirrell, Kristian Pierce, Jake Walker, Mark Roberts (Capt) : Subs – Sion Jones, Harley Steel, Billy Holmes, Bailey Jackson, Andy Thomas
Attendance – 217