A KEY clash failed to go in favour of the lads from Central Park.

This was a game Denbigh Town were targeting three points from versus a Llanrhaeadr team that is also battling for its survival in the Huws Gray Alliance.

It wasn't to be for Town, though, despite a promising first half performance.

They would eventually succumb to a 69th minute strike from Llanrhaeadr’s Iwan Matthews, which was enough for the Mid Wales side to claim all three points and leapfrog Denbigh in the league standings.

Joint Denbigh managers Dewi Llion and Matty Jones selected the same starting XI as the one which started at Penrhyncoch.

On a very heavy pitch and playing into a strong wind and driving rain, Denbigh had the early opportunities.

Kristian Pierce’s shot from 20 yards ended up going wide of the post.

Soon afterwards, Pat Hinchcliffe received a ball from Pierce and his shot was deflected off target for a corner.

Mark Roberts was unlucky when he received a ball from Stuart Vernon and his shot was palmed away by the Llanrhaeadr keeper Jimmy Haynes at the expense of a corner.

Denbigh’s best chance of the half fell to Kristian Pierce, after some great work from Mark Roberts.

Pierce rounded Haynes inside the hosts’ penalty area, but with the heavy conditions his shot on goal was cleared off the line by Dan Weaver and the ball went behind for a corner.

Llanrhaeadr responded and it took a vital interception from defender Bailey Jackson to stopped Iwan Matthew breaking through on goal. Soon after, the hosts had their best chance of the half when Matthews played a low ball from his left wing across Denbigh’s goal for Joe Vaughan to shoot just wide of Craig Vernon’s goal.

Town continued to have chances at the other end, with Sam Downey trying his luck from outside the box, with Haynes making a comfortable save.

Then, on 37 minutes, Lewis Sirrell had a well-struck shot from 18 yards tipped over by Haynes, who was the busier of the two keepers in the first half.

An innocuous challenge on Sam Downey saw him having to be treated for a blood injury and while he finished the first half, the knock meant he had to be replaced by Sam Jones in the second half.

Jones was in the thick of the action straight away when he was on the receiving end of a Scott McHarrie cross.

He brought the ball down on the edge of the six-yard box and shot, Jones' attempt was blocked and Mark Roberts was unable to capitalise on the rebound.

Bailey Jackson then broke down the left wing to cross and when the hosts cleared, it fell to Pat Hinchcliffe whose shot was comfortably saved by Haynes.

Denbigh's best chance of the second half arrived in the 52nd minute.

Hinchcliffe cut in from the right hand side and laid the ball to Mark Roberts, whose shot hit the foot of the post before bouncing away to safety.

Llanrhaeadr stepped up a gear after this and from Marc Griffiths’ free kick on the edge of Denbigh’s area, his shot went over the five-man wall and forced Craig Vernon into making a fine diving save.

Miles Todd replaced the injured Stuart Vernon on 66 minutes at right back.

However, it was down the opposite wing that the game's pivotal moment came in the 69th minute.

Tom Evans broke and crossed for Iwan Matthews in the box.

He turned and fired his shot well past the outstretched arms of Craig Vernon to give Llanrhaeadr a 1-0 lead.

Denbigh looked to respond, but they went through a scrappy spell when the heavy pitch seemed to hamper their forays on the Llanrhaeadr goal.

Town sub Jake Walker had an opportunist chance when his header went agonisingly wide of the target.

As the game reached its final stages, captain Tony Davies was pushed up front and he fired a dipping volley from 18 yards just went over the bar.

However, that elusive goal would not go Denbigh’s way and Llanrhaeadr were able to secure a rare three-point haul.