HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
AFC DARWEN 2 WIDNES 3
Despite a fight back in the second half, Darwen were unable to get anything from the match as their opponents moved up to second place in the league table. Joshua Cosgrove made his debut for the first team when replacing injured keeper James Whittingham for the last half hour.
The first chance appeared after three minutes. When a Darwen corner was cleared upfield to Ben Hodkinson, he advanced on goal and his shot looked goal bound until James Whittingham stretched out a hand to divert the ball for a corner.
The home side created a few chances but none were taken, and it was Widnes who opened the scoring on eighteen minutes when a quick break down the right saw a cross find Jack Banister unmarked to fire home.
Eight minutes later the visitors made it two when the Darwen defence failed to properly clear an attack. Whittingham beat off the first shot on target but the rebound fell to Ben Hodkinson for an easy tap in.
On the half hour, Widnes keeper Richard Mottram fumbled a shot but recovered under pressure from Bobby Langford to kick the ball away for a corner. Four minutes later Widnes came close and James Whittingham made a great save from Banister. Two minutes after this, Mottram blocked a Nick Hepple effort after he played a one-two with Bobby Langford. Ryan Steele then put a thirty yard free kick just over the bar.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 0 Widnes 2
Within two minutes of the restart Darwen were back in the game when a Liam Cole corner was headed home by Captain Kiel Lonsdale.
The home side’s joy was short lived, as two minutes later Widnes restored their two goal advantage on their next attack. Several shots were blocked by the Darwen defence but the ball ran outside the box where Widnes Captain Kevin Pollard was waiting and he struck a powerful drive into the top corner giving the Darwen keeper no chance. The visitors were close again on fifty three minutes, with a shot just over the bar.
On the hour mark, Darwen scored again to set up a tight finish. Nick Hepple received a pass and powered into the Widnes box, and despite the attentions of defender and keeper, manage to slide the ball into the net, reducing the deficit to one goal. Unfortunately the striker was forced off with an injury after scoring.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 2 Widnes 3.
REFEREE: Matthew Scholes
ASSISTANTS: Lee Berry, Abid Hussain
GOALS AND TIMES:
Widnes: Banister (18), Hodkinson (26), Pollard (49)
AFC Darwen: Lonsdale (47), Hepple (61)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Widnes: Jack Banister
AFC Darwen: Kiel Lonsdale
YELLOW CARDS: none
RED CARDS: none
1 Richard Mottram
2 Jay Roberts
3 Dylan Sweeney
4 Kevin Pollard (Capt.)
5 Steven Akrigg
6 Michael Burke
7 Kevin Towey
8 Michael Grogan
9 Ben Hodkinson
10 Daniel Laverty
11 Jack Banister
12 Elliott Jones (replaced Akrigg, 60 minutes)
14 Reece Airey
15 Stuart Cook (replaced Roberts, 83 minutes)
1 James Whittingham
2 Jamie Edwards
3 Fenton Brown
4 Tim Drugan
5 Ryan McKenna
6 Kiel Lonsdale (Capt.)
7 Sidi Fofana
8 Ryan Steele
9 Nick Hepple
10 Bobby Langford
11 Liam Cole
12 Luke Cassidy (replaced Cole, 90 minutes)
13 Joshua Cosgrove (replaced Whittingham, 60 minutes)
14 Elliott Welsh
15 Josh Moorhouse (replaced Hepple, 62 minutes)