IT’S fair to say that FC Queen’s Park don’t like meeting opposition from the Vale of Clwyd.
Just days after they conceded eight goals at home to Ruthin Town, the Wrexham-based side were being well beaten during their midweek trip to tackle Denbigh Town.
Looking to maintain their excellent run of form in the Huws Gray Alliance, Town began on the front foot and they pressed their opponents back straight from the kick-off.
It didn’t take long before chances started to arrive for Eddie Maurice-Jones’ hosts, with Kristian Pierce and Craig Pritchard both going close to breaking the deadlock.
Queens Park responded by playing a high line from defence, aiming to catch the Denbigh players offside.
With striker Josh Davies being closely marshalled, the Reds resorted to shooting from distance rather working the ball into the box, but it was evident that the pressure was telling.
Denbigh had eight corners within the first quarter-of-an-hour and Town were inches away from taking the lead from one such set-piece.
When one corner was cleared, the ball only went as far as Mathew Cook, whose shot was deflected before clattering against the crossbar.
Three minutes later and a quickly taken free kick found Nathan Williams, who sent over a deep cross to unmarked centre half Ben Nash.
However, the defender was left disappointed to see his side-footed volley miss the target.
Denbigh were dominant, but Queens Park do have some very skilful players in their ranks and they looked dangerous on the break.
It would have been an injustice had attacker Heldar Ramos scored on 25 minutes, but he went very close indeed after latching on to a through ball played behind Nash.
Back came Denbigh, who desperately needed a goal as a reward for their pressure.
Winger Craig Pritchard was becoming a real nuisance for the visitors, who brought him down a number of times until a player was eventually cautioned.
The deadlock was finally broken 10 minutes shy of the interval.
A cross by Pritchard was cleared well by the visitors’ defence, however the loose ball was well won by Denbigh midfielder Steve Cunningham in a strong block tackle.
Cunningham took a few steps forward and from a full 30 yards, he sent an absolute screamer high into the top left corner of the goal, leaving visiting keeper Joel Thomson with no chance.
Queen’s Park looked to respond before the interval, but they were hit with a sucker punch ahead of the break.
From a visitors’ attack, the ball fell to Kristian Pierce deep in his own half.
Seeing the way ahead clear, he raced almost the full length of the pitch chased by two opponents.
Pierce squared the ball to Josh Davies and after a quick dummy to lose his marker, his side-footed effort found the back of the net to put Denbigh 2-0 to the good at the interval.
The second half began with Denbigh defending against a determined Queens Park team, who appeared to have upped a gear.
Indeed, it took a very good save from Jon Hill-Dunt to stop Ramos from scoring.
As Ramos charged towards the goal, Hill-Dunt rushed out, spread his body and a strong left arm deflected the ball to safety.
It took some time for the Reds to settle again and the game soon began to lose its fizz.
That’s until midway through the second period, when Ben Nash mistimed a tackle 18 yards out and brought down substitute Edgar Lema.
The home supporters tried to be helpful by shouting to referee Dewi Owen informing him that contact was actually outside the box, but he was having none of it as he pointed to the spot with some certainty.
Up stepped Queen’s Park striker Michael Latham, but his low drive was well saved by Hill-Dunt, who dived low to his left.
The game progressed with little further incident, until the ball was fed from Denbigh’s midfield to the prowling Josh Davies, who shielded the ball from his markers.
He leaned one way and then the other, sending the markers in the wrong direction before curling a lovely left-footed shot high into the goal.