Darwen beaten by rivals Nelson
I’ve got to say I was excited about this match, having been denied the opportunity to watch these two play a few weeks prior due to the thunderstorm. But now with the weather cold but settled the match began…
10 minutes gone and the game was even, both teams having long spells on the ball and passing well, however chances were limited, good defending from both teams meant the attackers were out of luck for the large majority of the first 10 minutes. After a quarter of an hour the first real chance fell to Darwen, Nicholas Hepple won the ball from a goal kick and had space to run in towards goal, but first he had a defender to beat, Hepple turned once then a second time and a third! The space opened up and he managed to get a shot away but it was well saved by the goalkeeper!
3 minutes later the first goal of the match came but it was to Nelson. It was from a ball that looked to be heading to nothing was passed through the defence, with a look of offside, to Uvez Zama who finished coolly under the Darwen keeper. 1 – 0 Nelson
25 minutes in Darwen should have equalised when Conor Gaul received the ball from a throw in turned his man and shot left footed from 25 yards, I had the perfect angle as I watched the ball knuckle and curve, it could have ended up anywhere, but it smashed off the right hand post!
4 minutes later Nelson extended their lead when a goal kick met Zama’s head, hung in the air and was volleyed spectacularly home from 16 yards, nothing the keeper could do.
Darwen then pushed hard for the remaining 10 minutes having the only remaining chances of the half but nothing came of it. The half ended 2 -0 to Nelson and Darwen had a big half ahead!
Darwen came out fighting in the second half and were well and truly on top with the vast majority of possession and positive territory! However after 25 minutes Darwen had had no clear chances; they had been swinging in many crosses but with no results!
And so began a 20 minutes of total Darwen domination, 77th minute in Gaul laid off Karl turner on the edge of the box whose shot bounced awkwardly and was only stopped by the goalkeeper’s chest!
In the 78th minute a corner fell to Samuel Morris on the left of the box, but his drive towards the top corner was saved again!
83rd minute the Darwen winger beat his man on the edge of the box and crossed it low to McKenna who pulled off a Jamie Vardy-esc flick towards goal but somehow the Nelson keeper again palmed the ball off the line!
90th minute, Gaul was played an angled ball on the right of the box but was running away from goal and so attempted to chip the keeper; the ball was heading in had it not been for the hand of the Nelson keeper once more who managed to turn the ball around the post!
Then finally in the 94th minute a cross was met by several bodies in the box and was deflected towards goal and somehow the keeper pulled off another fantastic reflex save!
Then in literally the last moments of the game Nelson were rewarded with a free kick on the edge of the Darwen area; the ball was placed into the bottom corner without effort, Darwen deflated after so many of their opportunities had been saved had conceded an undeserved 3 – 0 loss; Nelson have a lot to thank their keeper for!