HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
AFC DARWEN 1 ATHERTON LR 0
Despite a first team squad plagued by injuries, Darwen produced a fighting performance to overcome struggling Atherton Laburnum Rovers, record another league win and move into the top four.
Atherton dealt the first blow on four minutes as Martyn Parkinson struck from forty yards out with his dipping effort going over the head of Darwen keeper Jordan Gidley and striking the crossbar. The ball was then whipped to the other end where defender Christian Grundy deflected Danny Taylor’s shot goalwards forcing opposing goal minder Ryan Kirkland to palm the ball away for a corner.
In the tenth minute, Atherton’s Gary Burnett broke free down the right and cut in to fire towards goal, with the ball deflecting off both Jordan Gidley and upright to safety. A ball over the top was chased by Danny Taylor, but Kirkland dashed off his line and just made it to the ball before the Darwen forward to sweep it away with his feet.
Another Darwen attack was initially cleared by an Atherton defender. The ball came out to Leon Creech who struck it wide with the goal gaping. With less than ten minutes of the first period to go, Yahya Saeed cut into the box, steered his shot by the keeper, but an Atherton foot cleared off the line. Matt Farnworth then launched a free kick from thirty yards which beat the defensive wall but found Kirkland in the right place to gather. With half time looming, Leon Creech received a Danny Taylor pass to fire past Kirkland but the wrong side of the far post.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 0 Atherton LR 0
Darwen’s breakthrough came ten minutes after the restart. Danny Taylor raced after a ball over the top and was flattened in the box by Ryan Kirkland, who received a yellow card. Yahya Saeed put the penalty wide of the keeper to give the home side the lead.
Darwen came within a fraction of increasing their lead ten minutes later when a Taylor free kick from thirty yards out had Kirkland as a spectator as the ball cannoned off the post. Two minutes after that, Nyle Ellis sped down the wing and his cross was headed towards Leon Creech at the far post for a tap in when a defender stuck a leg out to stab the ball away for a corner.
With twenty minutes to go, Jordan Gidley was called on to make a good stop from a shot on the edge of the box. A minute later the ball was down the wing and the cross found Danny Taylor in the box, who side stepped the defender but then put the ball wide with half the goal open.
Gidley made another great save from an Atherton strike at the edge of the box to concede a corner. The corner came in and a back heel by Henoc Mukendi was also stopped by the Darwen keeper. With ten minutes to go Jamie Edwards was put clear and hit a drive that flew past Kirkland but wide of the opposite post. Three minutes later a bullet header by Edwards from a corner produced the save of the match from Kirkland who somehow blocked the ball away for another corner.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 1 Atherton LR 0
REFEREE: Joe Larkin
ASSISTANTS: Shahid Iqbal, Daniel Curran
GOALS AND TIMES:
AFC Darwen: Saeed (56, pen.)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Atherton LR: Bradley Aspinall
AFC Darwen: Danny Taylor
YELLOW CARDS: Kirkland (Atherton LR), Lonsdale, Ellis (AFC Darwen)
RED CARDS: none
1 Ryan Kirkland
2 Jordan Grant
3 Christian Grundy
4 Bradley Aspinall
5 Martyn Parkinson (Capt.)
6 Niall Battersby
7 Jack Everest
8 Matthew Marsh
9 Henoc Mukendi
10 Lewis Coleman
11 Gary Burnett
12 Dominic Butler (replaced Marsh, 88 minutes)
14 Daniel Ashburner (replaced Grundy, 28 minutes)
15 Paul Carroll
16 Brian Potter (replaced Coleman, 88 minutes)
17 Anthony Hoodless
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Gary Brown
4 Matt Farnworth
5 Martin Parker
6 Kiel Lonsdale (Capt.)
7 Leon Creech
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Danny Taylor
10 Yahya Saeed
11 Nyle Ellis
12 Adam Heaney (replaced Parker, 62 minutes)
14 Karl Turner (replaced Saeed, 70 minutes)
15 Liam Cole (replaced Ellis, 90+1 minutes)
17 Jim Brindle