LOCK STOCK ARDAL NORTH WEST – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1
Denbigh Town 4 (Jacob Walker 5 & 60, Stuart Jones 86, Sam Tate 90+2)
Saltney Town 2 (Tommy Booth 42, Ryan McCleary pen 88)
Report: Iwan Jones
Friday night delight under the lights for Denbigh as they claimed top spot in the tier 3 Ardal North West after seeing off the challenge of Welsh Cup heroes Saltney.
Dewi Llion Jones’ men remain the only unbeaten team in the division following a hard-fought success over a side which reached the last 16 of the national knockout last weekend.
Saltney were beaten for the first time in 12 matches, but remain among the leading pack and have their fourth round home Welsh Cup clash with Cymru Premier side Aberystwyth Town later this month to look forward to. Andy Dutton’s side are the only tier 3 team left in the competition.
Depending on Saturday’s results, Denbigh may only be at the summit for a matter of hours, but it always serves as a boost to hit the peak.
With only five minutes played Denbigh had the lead when Jacob Barratt sent in an inch-perfect cross from the left to the back post where Jake Walker headed home.
The hosts continued to press, but Saltney looked dangerous on the break.
Stuart Griffiths in the home goal pulled off an amazing double save to thwart a Bordermen attack and sent a long ball to Mark Roberts.
His flick into the box just eluded Barratt, who was nudged as he went for the ball, but no infringement was given against defender Scott Beach.
Impressive Denbigh full-back Billy Holmes was fouled as he made headway down his left wing. From the free kick Barratt sent in an outswinger which was cleared to the feet of Paul Fleming outside the box.
The midfielder controlled the ball with one touch and let fly a vicious shot which Saltney keeper Josh Cooke did well to parry away for a corner.
As the first half progressed Saltney came more into the game and Griffiths was called upon to make yet another great save.
Holmes sent in a looping cross from the left to the far stick and found Lee Davey, whose shot hit the post from a very tight angle.
Just as half time approached, Denbigh were caught napping in defence as they were split by a long through ball which fell into the path of Tommy Booth, who rounded Griffiths and shot into an empty net for the equaliser.
At the start of the second half Saltney forced Griffiths into another fine save. Walker was then unlucky at the other end after a cross from Holmes found him only for his header to go just wide.
On 60 minutes Denbigh had the lead. Davey sent in a brilliant cross from the right wing and Walker and the defender went up for the ball. Walker reached it first and his strength saw his header directed past Cooke.
Denbigh looked to consolidate the lead and brought on Sam Tate and Keiron Roberts for the hard-working Barratt and Leigh Craven.
The home side got on top and more and more chances were coming their way.
Still Saltney had opportunities and a last-ditch tackle from Sion Jones stopped a certain goal for the visitors.
As the minutes ticked by, Denbigh needed a third and it came after 86 minutes with an unstoppable header from Stuart Jones.
Instead of playing the game out the hosts allowed Saltney to respond as substitute Carl Pleavin made his way into the penalty box. As he was dribbling away from goal he fell after a slight nudge and a penalty was awarded.
Ryan McCleary fired home to make it 3-2 and the visitors now had hopes of an equaliser.
That was until Sam Tate picked the ball up in the middle of the Saltney half on 92 minutes.
One glance and he saw Cooke was off his line and sent an exquisite lob from 30 yards which had the keeper scrambling back unsuccessfully to his goal. Tate was mobbed by his delighted team-mates as victory had been secured.
Stuart Griffiths, Sion Jones, Moses Barnett, Stuart Jones, Billy Holmes, Paul Fleming, Leigh Craven, Jacob Barratt, Lee Davey, Mark Roberts, Jake Walker. Subs: James Thomas, Sam Tate, Will Ashley, Keiron Roberts, Matty Morris
Josh Cooke, Lee Butterworth, Scott Beach, Jordan O’Brien, Jack Roberts, Ben Jones, Jake Johnson, Shaun Tinsley, Ryan McCleary, Adrian Callaghan, Thomas Booth. Subs: James Rutter, Harrison Robson, Keiran Farr, Carl Pleavin, Jake Gibbons.