REPORT: Denbigh Town 2-2 Widnes
Tale of two halves as Widnes fight back to draw at Denbigh
Widnes FC came from two goals down to draw their second game of pre-season 2-2 away at Welsh side Denbigh Town.
At a sun-kissed Central Park in Denbigh, it was the Welsh second-tier side who took a 17th minute lead through Craig Pritchard before doubling their advantage courtesy of a close-range Warren Duckett finish 10 minutes later.
Widnes manager Joey Dunn rung the changes at half-time and his side were much improved in the second period. They wasted little time in halving the deficit as two substitutes combined as George Lomax linked up with his brother Chris Lomax who finished neatly with just five second half minutes on the clock.
George got himself on the scoresheet shortly before the hour-mark, as he directed an Alex Davies cross into the bottom corner with a fine finish to equalise for Widnes, who were perhaps unfortunate not to come away with the victory.
A 19-man Widnes squad made the trip to Wales with Mike Burke making his first appearance of pre-season alongside debutant goalkeeper Louie Mackin.
Denbigh started the better of the two sides, looking significantly sharper than Widnes in the early stages. Steve Akrigg had to be alert twice in the area to cut out dangerous crosses from the hosts with Mackin being forced into an easy save moments later.
The Huws Gray Alliance side took the lead as Widnes lost possession cheaply in midfield with Denbigh launching a quick counter-attack with Pritchard curling a fine effort beyond the outstretched Mackin from the edge of the D.
Duckett doubled Denbigh’s advantage as the half-hour mark approached, turning home a clipped cross into the area from close-range.
Widnes chances came from long range efforts. Chad Whyte saw a scuffed effort comfortably gathered by the Denbigh goalkeeper before Kev Towey saw a free-kick graze the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Manager Dunn made eight changes at half-time with Widnes looking significantly sharper and lively after the break.
The Lomax brothers combined early in the half as Chris broke free down the left with his well-weighted cross being diverted wide by brother George, who narrowly missed the target with a diving header.
The same combination weren’t to be denied minutes later. George turned provider as his clever turn on the half-way line engineered space that the striker would use to his full advantage. He raced forward before threading a delightful ball through to Chris Lomax who slotted home ahead of the on-rushing ‘keeper.
Full-back Jay Roberts then went on a marauding run with his cross into the area finding Bradley Woods in space, who could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper.
Widnes were level two minutes later. Alex Davies went on the overlap down the right-hand side and delivered an inch-perfect cross towards the penalty spot, picking out George Lomax who’s deft touch directed the ball into the bottom corner to equalise.
The visitors were on top and began to search for a winner as Denbigh began to tire. Chris Lomax tested the Denbigh ‘keeper who made a comfortable save after the Widnes winger had combined with Ste Rigby.
Lomax again went close shortly afterwards. Luke J Edwards cleverly released his teammate who could only drag his effort narrowly wide of the far-post.
Widnes took the game to the hosts who began to struggle in the sticky conditions at Central Park. The woodwork denied Dunn’s side what would have been a winner as Colin Quirk released Edwards into space who’s cutback was turned against the post by George Lomax from close-range before Denbigh quickly cleared the danger.
Edwards saw a stinging drive beaten away at the near-post before another dangerous Davies delivery was hooked towards his own goal by a Denbigh defender, but a stunning save kept Widnes at bay.
Widnes return to the Select Security Stadium on Tuesday night as Joey Dunn’s side host a Widnes Select XI, consisting of the Town’s best amateur players. Kick-off 7.45pm.
Widnes First Half XI: Mackin, Roberts, Rigby, Akrigg, Burke, Pollard, Edwards, Quirk, Towey, Whyte, Freeman (Graham 32).
Widnes Second Half XI: Cookson, Davies, Mitchell, White, Roberts, Woods (Edwards 61), Sheen, Graham, Rigby (Quirk 75), C. Lomax. G. Lomax.