HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
AFC DARWEN 4 SQUIRES GATE 1
After a dull and uninspiring first half by both teams, Darwen turned on the style to score three goals in a ten minute spell that ultimately led to victory and a hat-trick for Nick Hepple.
The game was twenty minutes old before Darwen created their first chance with Mohammed Nabeel heading a cross wide of the post. Eight minutes before the break, Alex Ralph worked his way into the box and fired a low shot which Gate keeper Joe Griffith managed to block. The visitors also had a few efforts in the half, but nothing to worry the home defence.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 0 Squires Gate 0
The second half was barely ten minutes old as the game finally kicked into life. A Squires Gate corner was headed off the line by Adam Douglas, and the clearance found Bobby Langford on the left wing. He raced down the sidelines and put a low cross in to the visitor box. This was collected by Nick Hepple who side stepped a defender to fire home.
From the kick off Squires Gate came close to levelling the game but desperate blocking by Ben Proctor and the defence in the penalty area denied the visitors.
Darwen doubled their lead on the hour. Conor Gaul won the ball in the opponent’s half, and headed for goal. He baffled two defenders with his trickery and laid the ball on for Bobby Langford to tap in.
Three minutes later, Joe Griffith managed to grab hold of a Jordan Scott pile driver from thirty yards out at the second attempt, but five minutes after Darwen’s second goal came their third as Bobby Langford drew defenders round him, and as he fell under a tackle he managed to squirm the ball out to Nick Hepple on the edge of the box, whose low drive easily beat Griffith in goal.
It had been mainly one way traffic in the half, but suddenly, with less than twenty minutes to go, a ball upfield found Squires Gate substitute Brett Dawson. He outpaced his defender, rounded Proctor, and poked the ball in for a well taken individual goal.
The goal gave the visitors some hope but only for two minutes. A Gate attack inside the Darwen half was broken down and the ball was fed to Conor Gaul. He advanced into the visitor half, beating off a tackle from a defender and slid the ball across to Nick Hepple on the edge of the box. The Darwen striker fired past Griffith to complete his hat-trick.
To Squires Gate’s credit., they didn’t give up, and Ben Procor had to punch away a corner, and then tip a Corey Moorhead effort away.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 4 Squires Gate 1
REFEREE: Samuel Barrot
ASSISTANTS: Jamie Waters, Joseph Neadley
GOALS AND TIMES:
Squires Gate: Dawson (72)
AFC Darwen: Hepple (55, 65, 74), Langford (60)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Squires Gate: Paul Alexander
AFC Darwen: Nick Hepple
YELLOW CARDS: Penswick (Squires Gate), Nabeel (AFC Darwen)
1 Joe Griffith
2 Andrew Richards
3 Paul Carroll
4 Mike Hall
5 Daniel Penswick
6 Corey Moorhead
7 Jordan Casey
8 Mark Thornber
9 Tarren Moxon
10 Paul Alexander
11 Ben Seear
12 Conor Smith (replaced Moxon, 81 minutes)
14 Joe Noblet (replaced Thornber, 67 minutes)
15 Ric Seear
17 Brett Dawson (replaced Casey, 62 minutes)
1 Ben Proctor
2 Keith Wedge
3 Chris Bailey
4 Jordan Scott
5 Adam Douglas
6 Matthew Allen
7 Alex Ralph
8 Mohammed Nabeel
9 Nick Hepple
10 Conor Gaul
11 Bobby Langford
12 Declan Cunliffe
14 Daniel Russell
15 Alex Grice (replaced Bailey, 81 minutes)
16 Reece Malone
18. Karl Turner (replaced Hepple, 90+1 minutes)