HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
AFC DARWEN 0 CONGLETON TOWN 2
A good defensive performance from Darwen today together with some excellent stops by home keeper Danny Jackson kept Congleton Town at bay for most of the match. Darwen had several niggling injuries keeping out some key players, requiring manager Adam Douglas to play for the ninety minutes.
The match started quietly with neither side creating anything worthwhile, but that changed on thirteen minutes when Town’s James Kirby was adjudged to have been tripped in the box. He got up to take the spot kick, but Darwen keeper Danny Jackson leapt to his left, pushing the ball away for a corner.
The match sprung into life again on the half hour when a strike from twenty five yards out by Mike Koral was again pushed brilliantly round the post by Jackson.
Darwen had their closest effort on goal seven minutes later as a Jordan Fitton free kick from outside the box evaded Ross Heywood in goal, but just cleared the bar.
With two minutes of the half to go, Koral got clear of the Darwen defence and angled a shot past Jackson but wide of the post.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 0 Congleton Town 0
Nine minutes into the restart the ball was picked up by Darwen’s Kallum Banks, who ran down the wing and crossed inside to Ryan McKenna, who in turn back heeled it into the path of Jon McDonald, but he could not keep his effort down, and the ball went sailing over the bar.
On the hour mark, a great double save by Danny Jackson kept Darwen in the game. Brian Matthews got behind the Darwen defence and unleashed a shot from inside the box which Jackson somehow managed to push out. The ball ran back to Matthews, who followed up with another strike which the Darwen keeper again blocked away.
A minute later Jon Hurst had a shot on target for the home side which didn’t have enough power to test Heywood in goal. With twenty five minutes to go a Scott Sephton effort from thirty yards was just seen in time by Danny Jackson to fist away.
Congleton took the lead with nine minutes to go. The ball got into the Darwen area, and a hopeful strike by Brian Matthews took a couple of ricochets before finding its way into the corner of the net.
Darwen had to push up and try to save the match but four minutes later were caught when Declan Fletcher got behind the defence to put the ball past the advancing Jackson and seal the match for Congleton.
The more experienced Congleton side created the better chances and deserved their win but Darwen gave a good account of themselves and will hope to build on this performance as the season progresses.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 0 Congleton Town 2
REFEREE: Conor Brown
ASSISTANTS: Derek Brannick, Simon Humphries
GOALS AND TIMES:
Congleton Town: Matthews (81), Fletcher (85)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Congleton Town: Scott Sephton
AFC Darwen: Danny Jackson
Scott, McKenna (AFC Darwen)
1 Ross Heywood
2 Jack Pritchard
3 Lee Jackson
4 Kieron Kenny
5 George Whiteoak
6 James Blair
7 Luke Sephton
8 Scott Sephton
9 James Kirby
10 Michael Koral
11 Scott Baker
12 Brian Matthew (replaced L Sephton, 53 minutes)
14 Declan Fletcher (replaced Kirby, 63 minutes)
15 Samuel Marshall
16 Ryan Read (replaced Koral, 84 minutes)
17 Callum Gardner
1 Danny Jackson
2 Keith Wedge
3 Sam Morris
4 Jordan Scott
5 Adam Douglas
6 Stuart Craig
7 Kallum Banks
8 Jonathan McDonald
9 Ryan McKenna
10 Jonathan Hurst
11 Jordyn Fitton
12 Liam Devlin
14 Bailey Wallace
15 Declan Cunliffe (replaced Fitton, 64 minutes)
16 Ryan Hurst (replaced J Hurst, 74 minutes)
18 Bradley Gresham