HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
AFC DARWEN 3 CLEATOR MOOR CELTIC 0
After the previous Saturday’s excellent win at First Division leaders Longridge Town, followed by Wednesday’s disappointing showing and defeat, Darwen produced another top class performance to overcome the high flying side from Whitehaven. Several normal defensive players, missing from Wednesday due to work commitments, were back in the side today, giving a solid base to the team.
The home side set off on the front foot and should have been ahead after five minutes when Danny Taylor’s swift run took him past defenders as he cut into the box but put his effort wide of the post with only the keeper to beat. Ten minutes later Leon Creech’s speed took him into the area but he went for glory in blasting the ball over the bar as two Darwen players were at the far post waiting for a pass. On twenty minutes, when a Cleator Moor attack broke down, Darwen countered quickly with Nyle Ellis chasing up the wing. He floated the ball into the box but Elliot Pond could not make enough contact, with the ball running out for a goal kick.
Halfway through the first period a ball found Pond with his back to goal. His shot on the turn went past Cleator keeper Craig Rule and the post. A similar move had Danny Taylor feeding Elliot Pond. This time his effort on the turn forced a great save from Rule. Five minutes later a low Darwen feed into the box was tagged by the home forward but Rule managed to stop the goal with his feet. With ten minutes to go, a Cleator Moor clearance was returned into the penalty area and a Danny Taylor header whistled just wide.
After all the home side’s pressure, the visitors were nearly gifted a goal when Jordan Gidley passed the ball out to Bradley Rooney, but made amends by blocking the Cleator Moor forward’s strike.
All the Darwen pressure paid off with five minutes of the half to go. A pass set up Nicky McNally to run at the defence, and from the edge of the box he stroked a low drive which crept just inside the right post with keeper Rule just failing to get a hand to the ball.
Two minutes later the Salmoners went close again as a dipping shot from Leon Creech skimmed the cross bar.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 1 Cleator Moor Celtic 0
Darwen continued the second half as they had ended the first, and eight minutes in a Darwen downward header from a corner was cleared off the Cleator Moor goal line at the last second by a defender. Four minutes later Nicky McNally chased a pass, brushed off a defender, and struck a powerful shot with Craig Rule making another great stop to keep the score down.
Cleator Moor offered little, but a well hit drive by Luke Close from twenty Five yards out was comfortably gathered by Jordan Gidley.
The home side doubled their lead on the hour when a ball across field was picked up by Nyle Ellis on the left wing. He cut inside and fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Five minutes later Sam Knowles rose highest to head a Darwen corner just over the bar. With twenty minutes to go, Cleator Moor were awarded a free kick inside the Darwen half. The ball was floated into the box but the visitor’s header towards goal was directed straight at keeper Jordan Gidley, who held on well.
With less than fifteen minutes of the game to go, Darwen captain Matt Farnworth’s through ball was latched onto by Elliot Pond, who outpaced his marker to smash the ball past Rule for a deserved goal and put the game out of reach for Cleator Moor.
Near the end, Jack Prince and Karl Turner combined to set up Leon Creech with an open goal, but he sliced the ball wide.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 3 Cleator Moor Celtic 0
REFEREE: Nigel Usher
ASSISTANTS: James Eastham, Reece Arthur
GOALS AND TIMES:
Cleator Moor Celtic:
AFC Darwen: McNally (41), Ellis (60), Pond (77)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Cleator Moor Celtic: Jamie Glover
AFC Darwen: Elliot Pond
YELLOW CARDS: none
RED CARDS: none
Cleator Moor Celtic
1 Craig Rule
2 Rhuben Butterworth
3 Joe Atkinson
4 Craig Corkhill (Capt.)
5 Jamie Glover
6 Brad Tatton
7 Stuart Shaw
8 Bradley Rooney
9 Leigh Dunn
10 Luke Close
11 Mark Campbell
12 Liam Johnston (replaced Atkinson, 75 minutes)
14 Rhys Little
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Jon Fraser
3 Jamie Gibson
4 Matt Farnworth (Capt.)
5 Sam Knowles
6 Sam Holt
7 Leon Creech
8 Danny Taylor
9 Elliot Pond
10 Nicky McNally
11 Nyle Ellis
12 Martin Parker (replaced Gibson, 75 minutes)
14 Karl Turner (replaced McNally, 63 minutes)
15 Jack Prince (replaced Taylor, 78 minutes)