AFC Darwen reserves retained their place in Division 1 of the Lancashire Amateur League after a hard fought victory over mid table Horwich RMI. Darwen were indebted to a late goal from Jack Prince to secure victory in what had been a scrappy affair with defences on top for most of the game.

All the early play was confined to the mid field as both struggles to dominate possession. The first effort on goal came in the eighth minutes from Horwich but a good save from Josh Cosgrove prevented them from taking the lead. Darwen first effort came two minutes from a free kick but this went over the bar. Darwen took the lead in the sixteenth minute with a goal from Nathaniel Becker, he collected a flick on from Jack Prince in the area and controlled the ball before firing home. Darwen again looked dangerous again in the twentieth minute when a free kick found the head of Fenton Brown but it was easily saved. Horwich almost equalised in the twenty fifth minute when a free kick found the head of Joe Howlin but luckily it struck the post before being cleared by the Darwen defence. The visitors were level in the thirty third minute with a penalty from Karl Dumbarton after a foul in the area, Josh Cosgrove looked to have saved the effort but it squeezed under his body into the net. Chances were few and far between as half time approached, Darwen saw a header go over the bar from a corner and Horwich had a half chance on the stroke of half time but the ball was hooked over the bar. This left the scores level at 1-1 at half time.

The second half continued as in the first with defences on top with neither side able to create any clear cut chances. The first effort of the half for Darwen came on the hour mark from a free kick but this went just wide of the post. This was followed shortly after with another shot on goal which was easily gathered by the Horwich keeper. The next real action came in the eighty third minute when Jack Prince set up Matt Cain but his effort sailed over the bar. Almost immediately Darwen back on the attack and after a great run by Nathanial Becker he slipped the ball to Jack Prince who fired home to put Darwen ahead. This seem to spur on Darwen and they had their best spell of pressure in the match. Luke Williams was unlucky not to extend Darwen’s lead when he saw his shot tipped over the bar by the Horwich keeper. With full time approaching another Matt Cain went over the bar and then another chance finished up in the hands of the visitor’s keeper. With no further action Darwen ran out just about deserved victors.

Report by David Ainsworth