HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
ASHTON TOWN 3 AFC DARWEN 4
A most enjoyable game for the neutrals but nail biting for both sets of managers and supporters.
Darwen dominated the first twenty minutes and after going two up, the question was not who was going to win, but how many goals the visitors would accumulate. Although Elliot Pond scored a hat-trick in just over half an hour, the result was eventually in doubt until the final whistle.
Darwen fired the first salvo in the second minute as a Leon Creech drive from thirty yards just cleared the bar as Tom Goodwin in the Ashton goal was left standing. The keeper was left standing again ten minutes later as an Elliot Pond screamer from twenty five yards out flew past him to give Darwen the lead.
Two minutes later Pond cleared the bar with another effort, and then appeared to be hauled down in the box as he turned on a Jamie Edwards pass but referee Emmanuel Edet waved play on.
Goal number two arrived on the fifteenth minute. A pass across field found Jamie Edwards on the right, and he cut into the box to set up Elliot Pond, who fired home from five yards out.
Matt Farnworth then collected the ball from a throw in and launched a shot from outside the area that smashed against the upright.
With Darwen pushing up for another, suddenly a ball out of the Ashton defence found winger Matty Johnson, then Dylan Glass, who laid the ball on for striker Jason Carey to score with ease in virtually their first effort on the Darwen goal. Jordan Gidley then just managed to tip a long range effort from Brad Smart on to the cross bar.
The home side started to edge into the match and on the half hour Dylan Glass found his way through the Darwen defence, only to be brought down by Gidley. Carey despatched the spot kick.
A minute after the home side levelled, the visitors retook the lead when Elliot Pond gathered a throw in, hooked the ball over his marker and into the box before firing just inside the post to claim his first hat trick for Darwen.
Four minutes later Ashton again levelled the match as another move up the right ended with Chris Hill’s shot being flicked in by Matty Johnson.
On the half time whistle Darwen could have gone ahead again as Tom Goodwin made a point blank save from Pond, with Danny Taylor firing the rebound agonisingly wide.
Half Time: Ashton Town 3 AFC Darwen 3
Two minutes after the restart Danny Taylor burst into the box but a last second intervention by an Ashton foot denied him the goal.
Ashton improved as the half went on as Luke Edwards forced a good save at the post from Jordan Gidley, who then foiled Carey by blocking his effort away for a corner. Dylan Glass struck the post as Ashton came close to taking the lead.
Just after the hour mark, and after Ashton had looked the likely team to score, a ball out of defence found Elliot Pond on the left. He raced up the wing and crossed into the box, where Danny Taylor was waiting, and his powerful header found the back of the net to put Darwen back in front.
The home side had to throw everything in attack. Rhys Bowers beat the Darwen offside trap but fired wide. Two minutes later Matty Johnson ran on to a header but did the same as Bowers.
With ten minutes to go, Ashton went down to ten as central defender Alex Noonan received his second yellow, but they kept attacking and Darwen were glad to hear the final whistle after five minutes of injury time.
Full Time: Ashton Town 3 AFC Darwen 4
REFEREE: Emmanuel Edet
GOALS AND TIMES:
Ashton Town: Carey (23, 31, pen.), Johnson (36)
AFC Darwen: Pond (12, 15, 32) Taylor (62)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Ashton Town: Brad Smart
AFC Darwen: Elliot Pond
YELLOW CARDS: Bromilow, Carey (Ashton Town), Gidley (AFC Darwen)
RED CARDS: Noonan (2 yellows) (Ashton Town)
1 Tom Goodwin
2 Jack Bromilow
3 Dylan Sweeney
4 Antony Shinks
5 Alex Noonan
6 Chris Hill
7 Matty Johnson
8 Brad Smart (Capt.)
9 Jason Carey
10 Dylan Glass
11 Luke Edwards
12 Rhys Bowers (replaced Edwards, 67 minutes)
13 Zack Hibbert
14 Marvin Molyneux
15 George Atkinson
16 Stephen Wilson (replaced Sweeney, 78 minutes)
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Karl Turner
3 Jamie Gibson
4 Matt Farnworth (Capt.)
5 Sam Knowles
6 Sam Holt
7 Leon Creech
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Elliot Pond
10 Danny Taylor
11 Nyle Ellis
12 Martin Parker(replaced Turner, 63 minutes)
14 Jack Prince (replaced Gibson, 77 minutes)
15 Yahya Saeed
16 Gary Brown