HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
LONGRIDGE TOWN 1 AFC DARWEN 2
An excellent performance by Darwen for ninety minutes brought three points away from table topping Longridge Town, who subsequently suffered their first home league defeat of the season. Although the Salmoners had some of the squad back from injury, manager Luke Evans still had to play several of the team out of position to cover absences.
Longridge created a chance in the first minute when Danny Gardner dashed down the wing and whipped over a cross that Paul Turner headed over. Five minutes later Darwen missed a golden opportunity when a cross from Elliot Pond found Nicky McNally unmarked in the box, but with all the goal to aim at, he put his effort the wrong side of the post. On eleven minutes another cross by Gardner found Richie Allen at the far post, but the ball was headed wide. Two minutes later Danny Taylor was through the middle to the edge of the box, where his drive beat keeper Lee Dovey but flew just wide.
After an exciting opening, Darwen broke the deadlock on eighteen minutes. As a Longridge attack broke down, Nicky McNally dashed up the wing and his cross found Danny Taylor, who smashed the ball into the back of the net, giving Dovey no chance.
Darwen should have increased their lead with six minutes of the half to go when Elliot Pond broke clear, but with only the keeper to beat put the ball on the wrong side of the post.
The Longridge equaliser with three minutes to go was an excellent one, with a throw reaching Paul Turner, who swivelled in the area to fire the ball over Jordan Gidley into the far corner of the net.
Half Time: Longridge Town 1 AFC Darwen 1
Darwen were out of the blocks quickly and as Nicky McNally raced down the wing he got a ricochet off a defender that put him clear. As Lee Dovey advanced from goal, the winger lifted the ball over him but also over the bar.
Longridge were given a chance to take the lead when Jordan Gidley tripped winger Gardner in the box. A penalty was awarded but Richie Allen blazed the spot kick over the bar. On the hour mark, the home side were reduced to ten men as George Melling received his second yellow card for a foul.
With twenty minutes to go, a strike from twenty five yards by Tom Ince smacked against the Darwen crossbar. Five minutes later, the visitors came so close themselves as Danny Taylor cut in and forced a great save from Lee Dovey, who then got in the way of the rebound to keep the home side in the game.
In the last minute, a Taylor cross found Leon Creech unmarked and he had time to steady himself but as his effort was heading goalwards, a last second deflection sent the ball behind. From the subsequent corner, the ball flew over heads and reached Sam Knowles, who smashed it into the net to give Darwen the lead.
Longridge threw everything into attack, and four minutes into injury time claimed that the ball went over the line in a mad scramble after a corner. Nothing was given and the ball was cleared out to Jamie Edwards near the halfway line. As keeper Dovey had gone up for the corner, the Darwen forward had a clear route to goal but was hacked down in the Longridge half by Gary Basterfield, who was correctly shown a straight red card by referee Sohail Asghar.
Full Time: Longridge Town 1 AFC Darwen 2
REFEREE: Sohail Asghar
ASSISTANTS: Jamie Burton, Jacob Ratcliffe
GOALS AND TIMES:
Longridge Town: Turner (42)
AFC Darwen: Taylor (18), Knowles (90)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Longridge Town: Danny Gardner
AFC Darwen: Danny Taylor
YELLOW CARDS: Linighan (Longridge Town), Cole, Farnworth (AFC Darwen)
RED CARDS: Melling (2 yellows), Basterfield (Longridge Town)
1 Lee Dovey
2 Conor Linighan
3 Joe Melling
4 Ryan McKenna
5 George Melling
6 Michael Morrison (Capt.)
7 Danny Gardner
8 Danny Wilkinson
9 Paul Turner
10 Tom Ince
11 Richie Allen
12 Gary Basterfield (replaced McKenna, 53 minutes)
14 Harvey Close
15 Jason Hart
16 Isaac Sinclair
17 Brad Wicks (replaced Turner, 60 minutes)
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Jon Fraser
3 Jamie Gibson
4 Matt Farnworth (Capt.)
5 Sam Knowles
6 Liam Cole
7 Leon Creech
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Elliot Pond
10 Danny Taylor
11 Nicholas McNally
12Martin Parker(replaced Gibson, 81 minutes)
14 Karl Turner (replaced ??, 90+2 minutes)
15 Jack Prince
16 Nyle Ellis (replaced Fraser, 81 minutes)
17 Jim Brindle