A LOSING start to 2019.

That was the experience for Denbigh Town following their promising festive run.

Having picked up four points from their previous two encounters, Denbigh paid a visit to Gresford Athletic on Saturday for their first Huws Gray Alliance contest of the year.

A goal in each half did the trick to secure the points for the hosts in a game in which Denbigh had chances, but they never really got going.

For the second game in a row Denbigh were hit by a red card and the player sent off on this occasion was captain, Tony Davies.

It was Denbigh who had the first chance on five minutes, with Mark Roberts' shot from 20 yards going just wide of the target.

However, Gresford got their noses in front after eight minutes.

Kieran Evans' corner was floated into the six-yard box and Jack Jones was left to head home unopposed.

Denbigh responded and some passing between Dan Lloyd and Sam Jones saw the latter win the corner, but this set piece was safely gathered by Ben Jones.

Lewis Sirrell shot just wide of the target after some great work from Pat Hinchcliffe and Gresford responded when former Denbigh forward Jake Eyre broke free.

Tony Davies’ rash challenge on Eyre saw him receive a yellow card.

Eyre picked up a yellow card himself soon after for a dangerous tackle on Lewis Sirrell as the contest entered a scrappy stage.

Tom Freeman threatened for Gresford when he picked the ball up in the centre circle.

He made his way towards the right wing before unleashing a fine shot that went just wide.

Town custodian Vernon was then called upon to make a great save from ex-Denbigh player Simon Smith, whose shot from 18 yards was deflected off Tony Davies, with Vernon palming the ball away for a corner.

Denbigh did have their moments and when Pat Hinchcliffe fed Mark Roberts, his shot was handled just on the edge of the area.

Stuart Vernon stepped up to take the free kick, which was safely gathered by Athletic keeper Ben Jones.

Denbigh did have the ball in the net when the second half got underway.

Pat Hinchcliffe fired an effort past Jones, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.

Denbigh were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute.

Tony Davies received a second yellow card for a tackle on Jack Chaloner on the edge of the penalty area.

Denbigh were forced into a reshuffle, with Sam Jones being replaced by Chandon Gioacchini, who made his debut for Town.

However, the extra man told when Gresford stretched their lead six minutes later.

Jack Jones got his second of the afternoon courtesy of a shot from 18 yards, which gave Vernon no chance.

Although they were trailing, Denbigh came more into the game for a period, with the energetic Sam Downey seeing his shot being deflected into Ben Jones’ arms.

Downey then made a great run down the left wing to cross low into the box, but no attacker was on hand to finish his good work.

There were fewer opportunities for the visitors as the game moved into its final quarter.

Gresford had two more chances at the other end to add to their lead, but Craig Vernon and central defenders Miles Todd and Bailey Jackson held firm.