HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
AFC DARWEN 1 ATHERTON COLLIERIES 5
5 MINUTE SALVO DOWNS AFC DARWEN
Coming off the back of a disappointing midweek FA Cup exit, 1874 put in arguably best all round performance of the season, beating AFC Darwen 3-0 at the St Lukes Barton Stadium.
1874 started the game in a fast tempo, taking the game to Darwen, Tom Bailey turned and hit a tame shot towards the keeper, it was a signal of intent from 1874. Moments later, Eddie Moran won a corner for the greens, his delivery found Stuart Wellstead, who stooped at the near post to glance a header on to the crossbar.
Ryan Jackson’s return to 1874 was cut short, as an injury forced him off the field early on, his replacement Sam Hind, found Tom Bailey once again, the forward curled a great effort towards goal, but it was matched with acrobatics from the Darwen stopper who parried the ball behind for another 1874 corner.
Straight from the restart, Tom Bailey linked up well with Scott McGowan to create an opening, Bailey’s placed effort was strongly palmed away and mopped up by the Darwen backline.
1874, now playing with a greater tempo were taking the game to the visitors, but a series of narrow misses and good defending meant the game remained goalless.
Rick Bailey, recovered from his injury in midweek, was introduced for 1874, this proved to be a game changing moment.
His drive in midfield won 1874 a corner, and from the resulting spot kick he lashed in a brilliant strike from the edge of the area to give 1874 the breakthrough their play deserved.
With the wind in their sails, 1874 never looked back, only two minutes later, the lead was doubled, Scott McGowan showed great instincts to be in the right place at the right time as he seized on an error by the keeper the sweep the ball home to make it 2-0.
The result was put beyond any doubt on the 85th minute, McGowan once again with a great turn inside the area as the ball broke his way, his firm finish across the keeper put a gloss on to a scoreline which reflects a great performance for 1874.
1874: Hall, Connor, Mitchell, Thomas, Russell, Woolley (C), Moran, Wellstead, Jackson, T.Bailey, McGowan.
SUBS: Hind for Jackson (23 minutes), R.Bailey for Mitchell (77 minutes)
UNUSED: Kirk, Middleton.
MOTM: Stuart Wellstead
(Report courtesy of Atherton Collieries)