Celebrating 25 years since Denbigh Town’s return to glory – champions again

All hail the champions! Back row (left to right): Graham Hunter, Adie Nixon, Craig Kelly, Lee Hogg, Bill Dawson (manager – blue), Mark Lewis, John Jones, Nathan Pope, Roy Cook-Hannah (in front – dark blue), Danny Jellicoe, Tim Dyer, Gethin Lloyd. Front row: Vinny Hayes, Shaun Kelly, Rob Jones, Peter O’Brien, Mike Payne, Mike James.

This year marks a quarter of a century since Denbigh Town won the Welsh Alliance Football League for the first time in their history.

The 1995-96 season saw Bill Dawson’s heroes finish top of the table in just their second campaign at the third tier of Welsh football.

Denbigh’s final league record that term was:
Played 28 Won 20 Drawn 3 Lost 5 Goals For 60 Goals Against 29 Points 63

Grassroots North Wales today celebrates the silver jubilee of one of the club’s finest-ever seasons.

Here is a game-by-game account of how the title was won

Aug 19, 1995 – Denbigh Town 2 Llanberis 1

Mike James’ last-minute penalty awarded for handball ensured Denbigh made a winning start.
It was a tough test against an experienced Llanberis outfit who looked like returning home with a point. Rob ‘Cefn’ Jones was Town’s other scorer.

Aug 23, 1995 – Llandyrnog United 0 Denbigh Town 1

It was Mike James again from the spot as Town edged a hard-fought Vale of Clwyd midweek derby at Cae Nant.

Mike James

Aug 26, 1995 – Caernarfon Town Reserves 0 Denbigh Town 3

Karl Stevens struck twice for the visitors in a convincing victory at The Oval, Phil Graham also on target.

September 2, 1995 – Bangor City Reserves 3 Denbigh Town 0

Denbigh did not have many off-days in this season, but one of them came at Farrar Road where a lively City Reserves outfit triumphed by three goals.
Town’s 100% record was a goner.

September 23, 1995 – Denbigh Town 5 Connah’s Quay Nomads Res 0

After a two-week break due to cups, Town returned to league action in style by going nap versus the Nomads.
Lee Hogg and Gareth Williams both struck twice for the hosts, Adie Nixon adding a single.

October 7, 1995 – Nantlle Vale 0 Denbigh Town 3

No-one got an easy ride at Maes Dulyn, but Denbigh’s fifth win in six league starts was as emphatic as it could get.
Mike James, Tim Dyer and Adie Nixon shared the goals in Penygroes.

October 14, 1995 – Denbigh Town 2 Porthmadog Reserves 2

The Vale of Clwyd hosts dropped their first home points against a determined Port team.
Adie Nixon and Gareth Williams scored for Town, but the visitors were good value for a draw.

October 28, 1995 – Llanberis 0 Denbigh Town 1

It is the points picked up at difficult venues like Ffordd Padarn which wins you titles and thanks to Lee Hogg’s net-finder Dawson’s dynamos returned home with maximum spoils.

November 4, 1995 – Denbigh Town 1 Bangor City Reserves 1

Thirsting revenge against the only team to beat them in the league thus far, Town had to be content with a split verdict against Bangor.
Lee Hogg was on the mark with his fourth goal of the campaign for Denbigh.

November 11, 1995 – Denbigh Town 2 Caernarfon Town Reserves 1

Opposing teams were arriving at Central Park highly motivated by now and Caernarfon were no exception.
However, Denbigh edged the honours thanks to a Mike James penalty and Vinny Hayes decider.

Denbigh Town’s Supporters Club committee of 1995-96. Back row (left to right): Mike Hargraves, Dave Jones, Emyr Lloyd, Clwyd Kelly, Rob Jones, Haydn Williams. Bob Rowlands. Front row: John Williams, Bobbie Hargraves, Delyth Rowlands, Tracey Jones, Ceinwen Rowlands, Robin Roberts.

AFTER 10 GAMES

Won 7 Drawn 2 Lost 1 Goals For 20 Goals Against 8 Points 23

November 25, 1995 – Denbigh Town 1 Llanfairpwll 0

This game saw the return of Denbigh hero Peter O’Brien, so often a match-winner in the recent past.
The match was heading for a 0-0 until with a few minutes left, O’Brien poked home from a goalmouth scramble. Cue massive celebrations!

December 2, 1995 – Denbigh Town 2 Llangefni Town 1

Llangefni were the latest Anglesey side to leave Central Park disappointed when they went down 2-1 on the first weekend in December.
On this occasion, Tim Dyer was the Denbigh star with a double.

December 9, 1995 – Rhyl Reserves 0 Denbigh Town 4

Peter O’Brien (right)

The magic of Peter O’Brien inspired Denbigh to one of their finest wins at a ground where they had lost 8-3 the season before.
O’Brien notched a hat-trick and Dyer converted a penalty as Town made hay at Belle Vue.

December 16, 1995 – Denbigh Town 3 Nantlle Vale 1

Town made it five league wins in a row as the Dyer-O’Brien partnership caused havoc again.
Dyer netted twice and O’Brien once as Dawson’s dazzlers completed a double over Nantlle Vale.

December 23, 1995 – Prestatyn Town 2 Denbigh Town 1

Pre-Christmas disappointment for the visitors as old rivals Prestatyn edged a 2-1 verdict at Bastion Gardens.
Tommy Jones and Lee Jones put the Seasiders two-up before an O’Brien wonder strike gave the visitors hope.

January 6, 1996 – Denbigh Town 4 Nefyn United 2

A great start to 1996 for the home side as they saw off the Penwaig, Lee Hogg (2), Mike Payne’s first of the season and O’Brien clinching the points.

January 13, 1996 – Porthmadog Reserves 1 Denbigh Town 3

An epic win for Denbigh on a ground where they were predicted to struggle.
Defender John Jones set the ball rolling with a beautiful strike before Lee Hogg reaped the rewards of one-on-one practice in training by applying two smart finishes.

January 20, 1996 – Denbigh Town 2 Rhyl Reserves 0

Man in form Lee Hogg sent the Lilywhites home crestfallen as another clinical double from the St Asaph sharp-shooter sealed Town’s third straight win.

February 17, 1996 – Glantraeth 2 Denbigh Town 3

Many looked back on this fabulous result for Denbigh as a title-turning moment.
They had struggled against Glantraeth in the past, but not on this day as Rob Jones, a superb diving header from Lee Hogg and an exquisite O’Brien finish ensured an away win.

March 2, 1996 – Llanfairpwll 3 Denbigh Town 4

A seven-goal thriller at Cae Gors added even more weight to the belief that this was Denbigh’s season.
Tim Dyer and Adie Nixon scored two apiece for the visitors, each man scoring late to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 success.
Nine wins in 10 for the Vale valiants.

AFTER 20 GAMES

Won 16 Drawn 2 Lost 2 Goals For 47 Goals Against 20 Points 50

Denbigh Town officials from 1995-96 (left to right): John Williams (Supporters Club chairman), Dave Jones (press officer), Emyr Lloyd (treasurer), Ken Roberts (chairman), Bob Rowlands (Supporters Club secretary), Gwynfor Lloyd-Jones (president), Bill Dawson (manager), Gareth Jones (secretary), Roy Cook-Hannah (coach).

March 9, 1996 – Denbigh Town 1 Prestatyn Town 0

Tim Dyer’s ninth goal of the season made it 11 wins in 12 starts for top-of-the-table Denbigh.
Not a classic by any means, but sweet revenge for the hosts against one of only two sides to beat them in the league up to then.
Could anything stop Denbigh storming to the title now?

March 16, 1996 – Nefyn United 3 Denbigh Town 2

An unexpected defeat for Town at Cae’r Delyn with David Jones outstanding for the home side.
Graham Hunter and Lee Hogg scored for the travellers, but this was Nefyn’s afternoon on the Llyn.

March 23, 1996 – Denbigh Town 1 Glantraeth 2

Another hiccup for the home side as Glantraeth repeated their 2-1 triumph of the previous season at Central Park.
Peter O’Brien scored for Denbigh, but Emrys Jones scrambled a late decider for the islanders.

March 30, 1996 – Denbigh Town 2 Halkyn United 3

Now the title jitters were truly creeping in for Denbigh Town.
A third straight league defeat, Halkyn the victors at Central Park, put Town’s glory dreams in serious doubt.
Paul Edwards and Phil Jones gave the visitors a shock 2-0 lead after just seven minutes.
Denbigh woke up, dominated the play, and after a Mike James spot kick on 20 minutes and a Nixon leveller after 50 made it two-apiece, it looked like there would only be one winner.
Yet there was a twist in the tale as Darren Wild made it 3-2 to Halkyn with a 25-yard rasper.
Despite late home pressure, Denbigh ended up pointless.

April 6, 1996 – Halkyn United 0 Denbigh Town 2

Four league games to go and Town could afford no more slip-ups if they were to finish as champions.
Seven days after losing at home to Halkyn, Denbigh faced a tough trip to Pant Newydd to tackle the same tricky opponents.
It was here the visitors showed true grit, first half goals from Lee Hogg and Adie Nixon setting them up for a key victory.

April 13, 1996 – Llangefni Town 0 Denbigh Town 1

The man whose return to the team in November proved so crucial to Denbigh’s season fittingly all but clinched them the title.
Peter O’Brien’s great individual 68th minute effort was enough to secure Bill Dawson’s men maximum reward at Llangefni.
It was a nervy encounter, with goalkeeper Nathan Pope’s heroics making sure Cefni never got the goal they often threatened to provide.
One hand on the trophy…..

April 20, 1996 – Connah’s Quay Nomads Reserves 0 Denbigh Town 2

Champions! It was really never in doubt as Town grabbed the points which made them 1995-96 Welsh Alliance title winners.
Top-scorer Lee Hogg broke the deadlock on 16 minutes and Adie Nixon made it two after 55.
The scenes at the final whistle were unforgettable – Denbigh Town were on top of the world!

May 4, 1996 – Denbigh Town 2 Llandyrnog United 2

The result was irrelevant – it was all about the occasion.
With the title in the bag, Denbigh could just concentrate on beating their bitter rivals on a sunny afternoon at Central Park.
It did not quite work out that way, Mike Payne and O’Brien putting the hosts 2-1 up before Jason Jones equalised late on for Dyrny.
But what a season it had been for Denbigh Town, who also went on to complete the double by lifting the Cookson Cup, beating Halkyn 2-0 in the final.

LEAGUE GOALS (60)

14 – Lee Hogg
11 – Peter O’Brien
9 – Tim Dyer
8 – Adie Nixon
5 – Mike James
3 – Gareth Williams
2 – Rob ‘Cefn’ Jones, Karl Stevens, Mike Payne
1 – Phil Graham, Vinny Hayes, John Jones, Graham Hunter

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