HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
RUNCORN TOWN 3 AFC DARWEN 1
Due to injuries and absences, Darwen had to change their defensive set up, which went some way in contributing to their defeat today. They were playing a side where most of their squad had already played at a higher level, including some with English Football League experience. Anthony Lynch returned to first team duty.
Darwen were first to strike after only three minutes when a pass found Kiel Lonsdale some thirty yards from goal on the right wing. He floated the ball into the Runcorn penalty box and saw it sail over home keeper Louie Mackin’s head and under the bar.
The goal seemed to rouse Runcorn, and they gradually increased the pressure as Darwen backed off. A Craig Cairns downward header from a corner was kicked off the line by a Darwen defender. Cairns was through a minute later and rounded Danny Jackson to steer the ball towards goal. The shot wasn’t hit hard enough, enabling the defence to clear again.
With Runcorn cutting through the visiting defence at will, a goal was coming and it arrived on seven minutes with Cairns slotting home. Goal number two was not far behind as Cairns beat defenders and set up an unmarked David Forbes to score easily.
Darwen came close the levelling the match on twenty two minutes. Ryan McKenna rose highest to nod a cross over Mackin, only to see it rebound off the junction between post and crossbar.
The visitors were fortunate three minutes later when Danny Jackson pushed out a cross, which rebounded off Craig Cairns just the other side of the post, but on the half hour, the keeper made a good save on the line from a Simon Thelwell header.
Half Time: Runcorn Town 2 AFC Darwen 1
The second half was only three minutes old when the home side increased their lead. Runcorn man of the match Craig Cairns again broke through, and passed to David Forbes whose angled shot found the opposite corner of the net.
Ryan McKenna came close for Darwen with another header, before Cairns was again put clear. He rounded Danny Jackson but saw his effort rebound of the post.
Forbes should have had his hat-trick with twenty minutes to go when Cairns put him clear in front of an open goal, but he failed to control the ball, which ran away from him and the chance was gone. He retrieved the ball but shot well wide.
Good work by Nick Hepple enabled him to battle through the Runcorn defence, and he set up Anthony Lynch whose shot came off a defender for a corner, with Luke McKenna’s header ultimately going just wide.
With fifteen minutes to go a Runcorn attack set up Simon Thelwell and he perhaps should have done better than fire past the post with only the keeper to beat. A minute later Danny Jackson did really well to tip a Forbes header over the bar.
Kiel Lonsdale probably had most shots on goal for Darwen during the match, but apart from his opening effort, none of the others troubled the Runcorn keeper.
With five minutes to go a Darwen corner caused panic in the Runcorn defence, but no visiting player could get a telling touch on the ball, which was eventually cleared.
Full Time: Runcorn Town 1 AFC Darwen 3
REFEREE: Daniel Hitchell
ASSISTANTS: Neil Evans, Joshua Mitchell
GOALS AND TIMES:
Runcorn Town: Cairns (7), Forbes (12, 48)
AFC Darwen: Lonsdale (3)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Runcorn Town: Craig Cairns
AFC Darwen: Anthony Lynch
Lonsdale, R McKenna (AFC Darwen)
1 Louie Mackin
2 Matty Woodward
3 Marcus James
4 Mark McGregor
5 Danny Jarrett
6 Carl Rodgers
7 Joe Holt
8 Paul McManus
9 Simon Thelwell (Capt.)
10 Craig Cairns
11 David Forbes
12 Aaron Pomeyie (replaced McManus, 71 minutes)
14 Joshua Maguire
15 Mark Bainbridge (replaced McGregor, 84 minutes)
16 Bradley Woods (replaced Cairns, 80 minutes)
17 Jack Pickering
1 Danny Jackson
2 Kallum Banks
3 Keith Wedge
4 Kiel Lonsdale
5 Martyn Hillier
6 Reece Fletcher
7 Karl Turner
8 Anthony Lynch
9 Ryan McKenna
10 Nick Hepple
11 Jonathan McDonald
12 Jordan Scott (replaced McDonald, 67 minutes)
14 Luke McKenna (replaced Fletcher, 60 minutes)
15 Declan Cunliffe
16 Liam Cole (replaced Turner, 84 minutes)
17 Adam Douglas