HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
AFC DARWEN 7 ST HELENS TOWN 1
This was Darwen’s biggest victory in a competitive match since April 2015, and it made the day for Karl Turner, who was playing his 300th first team game for the club. The pitch was heavy with constant rain, but both sides tried to make a go of it.
The game started quietly with the first meaningful action being an effort by Leon Creech from a Nyle Ellis pass which was deflected past the post after seventeen minutes. Six minutes later, Darwen were in front when a speculative low drive by Elliot Pond from twenty five yards out crept inside the post. St Helens keeper Carl Williams dived too late, although he may have been unsighted.
The home side doubled their lead on twenty six minutes as Leon Creech struck a low shot from the edge of the box, which passed everybody, including Williams, to nestle inside the opposite upright. Three minutes later, Henry Eadie put Nyle Ellis down the wing and his cross found Creech in the box, who got his head to the ball but couldn’t direct it goalwards.
St Helens started to make some inroads into the match but went three down with five minutes of the half to go. Jamie Edwards brought the ball upfield and sent Leon Creech down the wing. His cross found Elliot Pond at the far post, who lost his footing but got up quickly to fire at Williams, who blocked, but could not prevent the Darwen striker’s second effort from hitting the back of the net. Two minutes later, a Nyle Ellis chip from a Pond pass cleared the keeper but also the bar.
The game was virtually sealed in the last minute of the half as the impressive Ellis cut in from the wing and slipped the ball to Elliot Pond, who quickly transferred to Leon Creech enabling him to smash home from ten yards.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 4 St Helens Town 0
Winger Ellis was unable to continue for the second half and was replaced by Danny Taylor. Darwen started again where they left off as Elliot Pond was put through in the first minute with a defender managing to get a toe to the goal bound shot to prevent the ball from crossing the line. From the resulting corner, a header just cleared the bar
St Helens managed a shot on target a few minutes later, with Jordan Gidley comfortably saving a long range effort from Jesse Robinson. Three minutes on, Darwen tried to walk the ball out of defence, but Robinson pounced and then skied his shot over the bar when he should have done much better.
The home side made it five on the hour mark. Danny Taylor ran on to a Matt Farnworth pass. His first shot bounced off the chest of advancing keeper Williams but the Darwen man followed up to hook the ball home.
Two minutes later, another rush from goal by Carl Williams, who the dived at the feet of Danny Taylor resulted in him being stretchered from the field with a suspected leg injury after several minutes of treatment. Substitute Jake Young took over in goal.
Danny Taylor then took a bad knock in the area and another few minutes went by as the blood on his face was cleaned, but he was able to continue. From the resulting corner, Elliot Pond completed his hat trick by powerfully heading home.
With less than ten minutes of normal time to go, Elliot Pond put Danny Taylor through, who then looped the ball over Young only for it to bounce off the crossbar. Five minutes later a Jamie Edwards effort was gathered well by Young. Jamie Gibson then hoisted the ball over the bar from another corner. St Helens were reduced to ten men in the ninetieth minute when Michael Furlong received his second yellow for kicking the ball away. A Karl Turner shot on the turn went over the bar.
Into injury time, St Helens pulled a goal back as slackness in the home defence allowed Alex Moffitt in to score. But almost from the restart Darwen went down the other end, and Karl Turner capped an unforgettable day by driving the ball home to make it seven for the home side.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 7 St Helens Town 1
REFEREE: Matthew Clarke
ASSISTANTS: Daniel Curran, James Atkinson
GOALS AND TIMES:
St Helens Town: Moffitt (90+3)
AFC Darwen: Pond (23, 40, 79), Creech (26, 45), Taylor (61), Turner (90+4)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
St Helens Town: Liam Diggle
AFC Darwen: Karl Turner
YELLOW CARDS: Presho, Robinson (St Helens Town), Holt (AFC Darwen)
RED CARDS: Furlong (2 yellows) (St Helens Town)
St Helens Town
1 Carl Williams
2 Andrew Presho
3 Jesse Robinson
4 Dominic Whelan
5 Liam Dodd (Capt.)
6 Jacob Mangan
7 Matthew Smith
8 Gary Grier
9 Liam Diggle
10 Joseph Faux
11 Michael Furlong
12 Alex Moffitt (replaced Grier, 52 minutes)
14 Jake Young (replaced Williams, 69 minutes)
15 Scott Lawrence
16 Ibrahim Conteh
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Jamie Edwards
3 Henry Eadie
4 Matt Farnworth
5 Sam Knowles
6 Sam Holt
7 Leon Creech
8 Karl Turner (Capt.)
9 Elliot Pond
10 Jack Prince
11 Nyle Ellis
12 Harrison Green (replaced Farnworth, 82 minutes)
14 Jamie Gibson (replaced Prince, 58 minutes)
15 Danny Taylor (replaced Ellis, 46 minutes)
16 Gary Brown
17 Matthew Wright