HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
ASHTON ATHLETIC 1 AFC DARWEN 3
Darwen achieved their second league win here at Ashton on a pleasant evening, with a determined display from the first minute. Manager Adam Douglas had enough squad members available so did not have to name himself on the team sheet.
Darwen created the first opening on five minutes as Jon McDonald broke through the home defence , jinked round the keeper and side footed the ball towards goal, but a defender just got back in time to clear the ball off the line. A snap shot thirty yards out from Kallum Banks fifteen minutes later sailed over the bar.
Darwen had pressured Ashton from the start and were rewarded on twenty two minutes. Kallum Banks broke down the right and a pass found Ryan McKenna, who flicked the ball into the path of Bobby Langford, who in turn rounded keeper Martin Pearson to slot home.
Isaac Kusaloka put an effort over the bar for the home side’s first decent effort, but five minutes after Darwen scored, they scored again, but at the wrong end. A hopeful low cross was put into the Darwen box, and Olly Birchall, in attempting to clear, sliced the ball past Danny Jackson.
The visitors deservedly regained the lead with ten minutes of the half to go. Karl Turner was fouled in midfield. But referee David Croft played advantage. Bobby Langford was put clear and he again slipped past keeper Pearson to net his second of the game.
Half Time: Ashton Athletic 1 AFC Darwen 2
Just after the restart, a good run and shot by Bobby Langford had the keeper scrambling to punch away, and then six minutes into the half Darwen scored their third goal. A free kick was floated in from the byline, which went over the Martin Pearson’s head and struck aginst the angle of crossbar and post. The ball rebounded into the goalmouth where Jon McDonald was first to react and smashed it home.
Halfway through the second period Bobby Langford weaved into the area, but was tackled. The ball broke to Ryan McKenna whose effort was pushed away by Pearson.
With twenty minutes to go, the home side came close as a ball down the wing was passed back to Adam Gilcrift just inside the box. His drive looked goalbound but Danny Jackson got hands to the shot to push it up to the bar. He then caught the ball as it came back down to earth.
Darwen started to drop deeper as they protected their lead, which enabled the home side to get a foothold back into the game. A glancing header from a cross went wide, and then a Darwen foot got in the way of an effort from outside the box, with the ball squirming over Danny Jackson’s head to rebound off the post. With three minutes to go, an angled shot from Joel Brownhill was pushed was pushed away by Danny Jackson.
Into injury time, and with Ashton pushing upfield, the ball was brought out of defence by Darwen and a crossfield pass found Kallum Banks completely unmarked with only the keeper to beat, but he contrived to shoot wide of the post.
Full Time: Ashton Athletic 1 AFC Darwen 3
REFEREE: David Croft
ASSISTANTS: Lee Boll, Adam Davies
GOALS AND TIMES:
Ashton Athletic: Own Goal (27)
AFC Darwen: Bobby Langford (22, 35), Jonathan McDonald (51)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Ashton Athletic: Daniel Regan
AFC Darwen: Bobby Langford
Langford, Cole (AFC Darwen)
1 Martin Pearson (Capt.)
2 Aaron Cringle
3 Adam Howard
4 Stephen Kay
5 Callum Wilson
6 Christopher Webster
7 Daniel Regan
8 Samuel Bailey
9 Isaac Kusaloka
10 Adam Gilchrist
11 Joel Brownhill
12 Michael Mylona
14 Paul Watson (replaced Cringle, 55 minutes)
15 Daniel Smith (replaced Kusaloka, 43 minutes)
16 Matthew Farnworth (replaced Bailey, 66 minutes)
17 Luke Holden
1 Danny Jackson
2 Keith Wedge (Capt.)
3 Declan Cunliffe
4 Jordan Scott
5 Ollie Birchall
6 Reece Fletcher
7 Kallum Banks
8 Karl Turner
9 Ryan McKenna
10 Bobby Langford
11 Jonathan McDonald
12 Jordyn Fitton (replaced McDonald, 65 minutes)
14 Kiel Lonsdale (replaced Turner, 77 minutes)
15 Sam Norris
16 Stuart Craig
17 Liam Cole (replaced Langford, 88 minutes)