HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
AFC DARWEN 3 IRLAM 2
With Irlam on the ascendancy after taking the lead, it seemed that the visitors were going to take revenge for Darwen’s win on their ground last month, but a late resurgence with two goals gave the home side victory and moved them up a league place. Regulars Kiel Lonsdale, Alex Ralph, and keeper Ben Proctor were all absent through injury. James Whittingham took over in goal for the second time this season and put in an accomplished performance between the posts.
After a quiet start, the game burst into life after ten minutes. Bobby Langford took the ball down the wing, outpaced his defender and put a low cross into the box. Nick Hepple got himself into the perfect spot to slot home at the far post giving Darwen the lead.
Subsequently, very little happened until injury time and the end of the half. James Whittingham had to have treatment for a shoulder injury. A minute later Irlam took advantage of a lapse of concentration by the home defence after the injury when Daniele Greene cut through to fire a powerful drive into the top corner, levelling the match.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 1 Irlam 1
The second half began like the first and it was another goal that kicked off the action. On the hour mark an Irlam attack down the wing found Daniel Eyres on the edge of the box. He caught the ball sweetly and it flew into the top of net giving Darwen keeper Whittingham no chance.
After losing on form striker Nick Hepple at half time, and then manger Adam Douglas with a back injury, Darwen seemed to be short of ideas on how to save the game, but everything changed with nearly ten minutes of the match remaining. Conor Gaul captured the ball right of the halfway line and swept a cross to the far left of the pitch. This was gathered by Jamie Edwards and his ball into the Irlam box was brilliantly headed into the corner of the net by Bobby Langford.
With five minutes left Irlam came close as a ball into the area went beyond the keeper, but a Darwen foot cleared off the line. Two minutes later the home side took back the lead. This time a ball into the Irlam box caused panic. Desperate defending stopped two attempts but couldn’t keep out the third as Captain Keith Wedge headed home for his second goal of the season.
In the last minute a Conor Gaul cross caused more panic in the visitor box, with the ball eventually being cleared off the line. In the third minute of injury time Irlam had a chance to square the match, but from the edge of the area Steven Mills fired well wide.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 3 Irlam 2
REFEREE: Ian Gittins
GOALS AND TIMES:
Irlam: Greene (45+2), Eyres (55)
AFC Darwen: Hepple (11), Langford (78), Wedge (87)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Irlam: Steven Mills
AFC Darwen: Kallum Banks
YELLOW CARDS: Mills (Irlam), Gaul (AFC Darwen)
1 Jake Aldred
2 Alex Barlow
3 Richard Peters
4 Sean Sherwood
5 Conor Braithwaite
6 Steven Mlls (Capt.)
7 Gareth Mooney
8 Matthew Boland
9 Jordan Icely
10 Daniel Eyres
11 Danny Greene
12 Jacob Holt (replaced Braithwaite, 46 minutes)
14 Liam Bickett (replaced Eyres, 87 minutes)
15 Marcus Perry (replaced Greene, 77 minutes)
16 John Main
1 James Whittingham
2 Kallum Banks
3 Chris Bailey
4 Matthew Allen
5 Adam Douglas
6 Keith Wedge (Capt.)
7 Karl Turner
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Nick Hepple
10 Bobby Langford
11 Conor Gaul
12 Declan Cunliffe (replaced Hepple, 46 minutes)
14 Liam Cole (replaced SBailey, 68 minutes)
15 Jordan Scott (replaced Douglas, 59 minutes)
16 Mohammed Nabeel