Both teams came into this match confidently; Darwen had enjoyed their first win of the season away at Squires Gate and AFC Liverpool had an unbeaten away record. A crowd of 125 came to watch the game and, as with most games this season, were given their fair share of drama.
It was an unusual start to the game from a Darwen perspective as, unlike many previous games, the match did not start full of action and drama. This was down to the calm and collected manner with which AFC Liverpool played through the game; they dominated possession through simple short passes. However despite this, Liverpool struggled to find a way through the Darwen defence. This was until the 15th minute. It was at this time that the first real chance of the game fell to Liverpool’s Matthew Williams who’s shot from just outside the area was turned away by Daniel Jackson.
Darwen thus far had created very little in the match but looked very threatening on the counter attack. On more than one occasion Darwen found themselves with three players charging towards the goal only to be disappointed by the final ball, it must be mentioned however that the rainy conditions meant that even the most simple of passes went skimming unforgivingly across the surface of the grass.
With half an hour played the game continued with AFC Liverpool dominating possession but struggling to create opportunities, this was until an exquisite long ball from the Liverpool right back found left winger, Emini Adegbenro, who squared the ball into the
Darwen box to an unmanned Matthew Williams. Fortunately for Darwen he couldn’t find the correct connection and dragged the ball horribly wide.
It took until the 41st minute for the deadlock to finally be broken; the Liverpool right wing skipped his way past two Darwen defenders pasted the ball in to Williams, whose close range shot took 2 deflections before it found its way past the helpless keeper.
Halftime: 0 – 1 AFC Liverpool
This goal seemed to have sparked AFC Darwen into action as the second half saw a different team come out; they pressured the defenders better which lead to a lot of forced mistakes. The most prominent of these mistakes coming only 8 minutes into the half when a bad clearance by the Liverpool keeper fell to Karl Turner about 30 yards from goal, he took a touch and then lofted the ball high over the keeper and nestled the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. 1 – 1.
Darwen had really taken control of the game and chances continued to come fast; in the 58th minute a cross from Keith Wedge was missed by the keeper but Jonathan McDonald failed to make any contact at the back post.
7 minutes later Darwen had another chance when a great cross from substitute, Jordan Fitton, met the head of Ryan McKenna whose looping header whilst beating the keeper came off the frame of the goal.
In the 73rd minute a cross met again by McKenna was saved but then dropped in the penalty area. Liam Cole was first to pounce for Darwen but his follow up shot was well saved by, the now very busy, Joshua O’ Connell in the Liverpool goal.
The keeper was brought into action once again when Cole laid the ball off to Mckenna on the outside of the area, who chipped the ball through two static Liverpool defenders, only to have his efforts blocked by O’Connell. McKenna really deserved more for his effort.
AFC Liverpool finally regained a foothold in the game in the last 10 minutes; the chance coming from a corner when the ball was headed towards goal and looked to be heading for the back of the net until a Liverpool player deflected the ball over the roof of the net, essentially clearing the ball off the line. A mere 2 minutes later a long range blast from Liverpool midfielder John Dillon had the keeper beaten but cannoned to the left hand post. But in was in the 85th minute that AFC Liverpool finally capitalised and took the lead when a long cross was met by the head of Matthew Williams, unmarked in the centre of the box, who guided the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. 1 – 2 AFC Liverpool
It looked like it could be all over, but in the 91st minute a cross from the right was fumbled by the Liverpool keeper, plopped onto the centre spot and Ryan McKenna, who had pushed so hard for the whole second half, put it under the keeper and into the back of the net!
Final Score AFC Darwen 2 – 2 AFC Liverpool