THE EMIRATES F A CUP
EXTRA PRELIMINARY ROUND
RUNCORN TOWN 3 AFC DARWEN 2
A typical FA Cup tie from two evenly matched teams with an ending befitting the oldest cup competition in the world.
Cairns had an early opportunity when he found himself one on one but his shot flew straight at Whittingham.
Darwen took the lead in the seventh minute when from a corner on the right Matt Allen headed powerfully home from six yards.
A shot from Robert Doran was tipped over the bar by Whittingham as the home side responded.
Runcorn Town equalised in the fourteenth minute when a McManus corner found James who headed the ball back across the goal to an unmarked Craig Cairns who turned it into the net.
Robert Doran set Cairns up but the strikers lob over Whittingham drifted agonisingly wide of the far upright.
Darwen looked especially dangerous from set pieces and Metcalf did well to punch the ball clear from Nabeel.
Runcorn took the lead in the thirty fourth minute. Doran headed the ball into the path of Craig Cairns who rounded the keeper before side footing the ball into the empty net.
Half Time: Runcorn Town 2 AFC Darwen 1
Town had edged the first half but it was Darwen who started the second half the stronger.
The impressive Nabeel did well to get round Roxburgh but his shot deflected off McManus for a corner.
When McManus pushed Mark McKay in the penalty area referee Daniel Locker immediately awarded a penalty which McKay converted to level the match in the fifty sixth minute.
Some clever ball control from Cairns resulted in a chipped cross to Doran who headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Daniel Jarrett flashed a volley across the goal as Town looked for a winner.
Darwen’s Brown almost broke the deadlock with low shot towards the bottom corner, it took a full length save from Andrew Metcalf to fingertip the ball for a corner.
Just as a replay looked likely in the ninetieth minute Darwen had a great chance to secure victory, a pinpoint cross from Nabeel found Ralph who fired over the bar from six yards.
From the goal kick Doran headed on to Cairns who was brought down in the area by Kiel Lonsdale.
From the resultant penalty, the striker hammered the ball home in the third minute of added on time.
Full Time: Runcorn Town 3 AFC Darwen 2
(Report courtesy of Runcorn Town FC)
REFEREE: Daniel Locker
GOALS AND TIMES:
Runcorn Town: Cairns (14, 35, 93p)
AFC Darwen: Allen (7), McKay (56)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Runcorn Town: n/a
AFC Darwen: n/a
YELLOW CARDS: McManus, German, Cairns (Runcorn Town), Brown (AFC Darwen)
1 Andrew Metcalf
2 Daniel Jarrett
3 Aidan Roxburgh
4 Mark McGregor
5 Marcus James
6 Paul McManus
7 Kevin Exell
8 Matthew German
9 Robert Doran
10 Craig Cairns
11 Sebastian Julien
12 Luke Wilson-Jones
14 Christopher Herbert
16 Joshua Maguire
17 Mark Reed
1 James Whittingham
2 Jordan Scott
3 Scott Patterson
4 Matthew Allen
5 Anthony Hodges
6 Kiel Lonsdale (Capt.)
7 Mohammed Nabeel
8 Danny Banks
9 Mark McKay
10 Gary Brown