AFC DARWEN RESERVES MATCH REPORT
AFC Darwen Reserves 1-1 Radcliffe Town
AFC Darwen Reserves moved off the bottom of the league after earning a well deserved point in a hard fought game against promotion chasing Radcliffe Town at the Anchor Ground. Manager Simon Littler possibly had his strongest squad of the season with the inclusion of first team player Yahya Saeed who has been out injured since the 12th September 2018 along with the likes of Kallum Banks, Liam Cole & Luke Jarrod who was playing his first game since breaking his leg last season.
The first effort of the game went to the visitors in the second minute but it went well wide of the goal. Darwen then proceeded to dominate the game but were unable to create any meaningful chances. Their first real attempt came in the eighteenth minute when a shot was hooked wide from a decent cross. Both defences looked strong but Darwen kept driving forward and there was almost a chance in the twenty second minute but the ball was scrambled away by the Radcliffe defence. Darwen almost gifted the lead to the visitors in the twenty seventh minutes when Darwen keeper Josh Cosgrove allowed a weak shot from outside the area slip through his legs but fortunately the ball crept wide of the post. Five minutes later Darwen created a half chance but Yahya Saeed’s header lacked any pace and was easily gathered by the visiting keeper. Another effort came shortly after but this time it was deflected over the bar. Darwen again almost paid the price in defence when Luke Jarrod attempted pass went straight to the visitors number nine, but Josh Cosgrove saved the day when he dived at the forwards feet and gathered the ball. The last action of the half fell to Darwen when a Scott Walsh volley was saved by the Radcliffe keeper to leave the half time score at 0-0.
The visitors went ahead three minutes into the second half when after a Darwen free kick was cleared the ball fell to Chuck Hall who outstripped the Darwen defence to score. As in the first half Darwen continued to play good football but lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. In the fifty fifth minute a Darwen free kick went straight into the keepers arms, this was followed by an effort from Kallum Banks which went just wide. Radcliffe then had a little spell of pressure which brought a couple of efforts which went wide & over the bar. Darwen finally equalised in the sixty ninth minutes when a great cross be Yahya Saeed was met by substitute Cameron Austin who volleyed home. Josh Cosgrove was then called into action to pull off a good save. Darwen appeared to be finishing the stronger of the teams and with ten minutes to go a good looking cross was cut out by the visitors keeper. This was followed shortly after with a long range effort from Aaron Brown which was easily saved and followed up with an effort from Liam Cole which went over the bar. Darwen continued look for the winner and with three minutes to go a deflected shot was well saved by the Radcliffe keeper. Almost immediately Radcliffe were on the attack and a goal was disallowed for offside which brought protest from their players. With the game now in added time Darwen keeper had to be alert to pull off a couple of good save to keep the scores level. Darwen had more chance to snatch a winner but Liam Cole’s effort went wide of the post to leave the sides level at 1-1 at the final whistle.
AFC Darwen team:
- Josh Cosgrove, 2. Kallum Banks, 3. Fenton Brown, 4. Aaron Brown, 5. Levi Walker, 6. Luke Jarrod, 7. Adam Monk, 8. Jorge Hayhurst, 9. Yahya Saeed, 10. Liam Cole, 11. Scott Walsh. Subs. 14. Elliott Welsh, 15. Cameron Austin, 16. Borislav Petkov
Report by David Ainsworth