After a bad result against Main Road Darwen went down to Cheshire to face Winsford who sat 1 point above them in the table. But it was a crucial game for Darwen as a win would move them 4 points clear of relegation.
The game started fast with Darwen and Winsford going end to end for the first 5 minutes. However Darwen thought that they had broken the deadlock 6 minutes in after a free kick was nodded on by Ryan McKenna to Martyn Hiller who placed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal, but to the disappointment of the Darwen supporters, the linesmen raised his flag claiming that Hiller was in an offside position when McKenna headed on the ball.
4 minutes later Darwen had another chance when one of the many crosses was met by the diving head of Luke McKenna but the ball went wide to the left of the goal. The goalkeeper wouldn’t have had a chance.
The first Winsford chance came a quarter of an hour into the game after a quick brake from a throw gave Liam Collins the chance to shoot, and shoot he did, but his powerful drive sailed high over the bar and troubled nobody.
Darwen had another great opportunity 18 minutes in when through ball by Jordan Scott found Ryan McKenna through on goal. But Andrew Jones, in the Winsford goal had spotted the ball and so by the time McKenna attempted his chip the keeper was already baring down on him, meaning the shot was well saved and the chance broken down.
20 minutes in and Winsford should have had a goal when the striker found himself through on goal 1 on 1 with Jackson. However, his shot was saved spectacularly by the Darwen keeper to his left who got a strong left arm down fast to the goal-ward bound shot.
The best opportunity of the half came from a Winsford in the dying moments of the half. A 30 yard free kick would be madness to attempt wouldn’t it? Not for Liam Collins, whose shot looked like a missile heading to the top corner of the goal. Fortunately for Darwen it smashed the underside of the bar. At the brake the game was level at 0 – 0
In the 54th minute Winsford did break the deadlock when a lapse in defence from Darwen meant Winsford had a 3 on 2. The winger passed the ball in from the right into an unmarked Karl Riley who dispatched the ball easily. 1 – 0 Winsford
In the 70th minute Winsford should have extended their lead with two identical chances when a ball over the top of the Darwen defence, with a hint of offside on both occasions, found Nathan Cotterell who had two one on one chances. Both were saved almost identically by Jackson who had a great game.
Crosses and shots were being fired into the Winsford box by Darwen who searched desperately for an equaliser. It came close in the 74th minute when a cross into the box came off Karl Turner whose effort was goal ward bound only to be cleared off the line.
The game was all Darwen at this point and the passion from the Darwen technical area couldn’t be faulted, pushing forward and trying to find an opening. And at one point you could have thought that maybe it just wasn’t Darwen’s day, but the players did not give up and in the 86th minute the brake through finally came. A spectacular cross from Jorden Scott met the flying McKenna whose unstoppable header almost broke the back of the net. 1 – 1
From then on Darwen looked as if they could have gone on and won the game, but they couldn’t find a way through for a second time.
Full Time 1 – 1