HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
AFC DARWEN 3 LOWER BRECK 2
There was a low key start to this match in atrocious playing conditions, but an amazing goal to end the contest deep into stoppage time produced another win for Darwen against a very good Lower Breck side. Darwen still had a large number of squad players out with injury.
It was over midway into the first half before anything significant happened. Jordan Gidley had to tip an inswinging Lower Breck corner over the bar, and on the half hour, Scott Walsh put a ball into the visitor box, where Elliot Pond rose to head the ball, but straight at keeper Joshua Molloy.
With just over five minutes of the half remaining the game burst into life with a goal. A misplaced pass put Lower Breck’s Callum Hill in the clear, and a good strike from the defender hit the back of the net, giving Jordan Gidley little chance as he advanced from goal.
Two minutes later, a shot on the turn by Elliot Pond inside the area forced a great save by Molloy, who stretched full length to get a hand to the ball heading into goal. The visitors then put a cross to the far Darwen post but winger Oscar Billington headed wide. Right on half time, a defensive miss let Pond in but Molloy bravely dived at the striker’s feet to block the danger.
Half Time: AFC Darwen 0 Lower Breck 1
The second period was only two minutes old when the visitors were reduced to ten men. Darwen’s Matt Farnworth and Lower Breck’s Peter Donnelly were battling for the ball. The Darwen player got the ball away and was heading upfield when upended by Donnelly. As the two players got up, they were separated, but the referee’s assistant flagged for an apparent slap to the face by the Lower Breck forward, and after consultation, he was shown the red card by referee Paul Sephton.
Darwen levelled the game on fifty one minutes when Elliot Pond controlled a cross from Nyle Ellis and under pressure, just managed to get a toe to the ball, which dribbled over the line. Shortly after, a Leon Creech effort from outside the box was held by Molloy.
Twelve minutes into the half a big boot upfield from the Lower Breck defence was latched onto by striker Stephen Milne. Nyle Ellis kept pace with him to the edge of the penalty area and thought that he got the tackle away fairly as the ball deflected. The assistant referee thought otherwise and signalled a penalty, which was put away by Paul Mooney, just evading the dive of Jordan Gidley.
The visitors had the lead for just over ten minutes when after some pressure and corners, a deft glancing header from a corner by Sam Knowles found the net to level the match again.
The weather took a turn for the worse with heavy rain and gale force winds whipping across the pitch, making life difficult for both players and officials.
The home side were close again when Danny Taylor cut into the box to set up Corey Harrison, who’s drive almost went under the body of Joshua Molloy, but the keeper recovered to prevent the ball going over the line. Harrison then set up Taylor to blast the ball at goal, with Molloy making a point blank save. A Lower Breck free kick from thirty yards out was then pushed round the corner by Gidley. With three minutes of normal time to go, a free kick on the corner of the area by Leon Creech was kicked off the line by a Lower Breck defender. Into injury time and a cross by Creech found the head of Pond, but he slightly mistimed his jump with the header going just wide.
Into the seventh minute of stoppage time the game looked to be heading for a draw, but as the visitors cleared another Darwen attack, the ball arrived at the feet of Sam Holt, some thirty five yards from goal. He drove a low shot back into the box, which evaded everyone including Molloy in goal, to hit the back of the net, put Darwen in front for the first time in the match, and saw a mini pitch invasion by the Darwen playing staff as the defender ran towards them in celebration. The referee’s whistle blew the next minute to give the Salmoners a hard fought victory.
Full Time: AFC Darwen 3 Lower Breck 2
REFEREE: Paul Sephton
ASSISTANTS: Steve Owen, Sam Sutton
GOALS AND TIMES:
Lower Breck: Hill (39), Mooney, (pen, 63)
AFC Darwen: Pond (51), Knowles (80), Holt (90+7)
OPPONENTS CHOICE AS MAN OF THE MATCH:
Lower Breck: Stephen Milne
AFC Darwen: Nyle Ellis
YELLOW CARDS: Douglas (Lower Breck), Knowles (AFC Darwen)
RED CARDS: Donnelly (Lower Breck), Taylor (2 yellows) (AFC Darwen)
1 Joshua Molloy (Capt.)
2 Jamie Morton
3 Joel Burns
4 Callum Hill
5 Paul Mooney
6 Michael Douglas
7 Luke Duffy
8 Jay Colbeck
9 Stephen Milne
10 Peter Donnelly
11 Oscar Billington
14 Thomas Robinson
15 Thomas Kinsella (replaced Billington, 58 minutes)
1 Jordan Gidley
2 Jon Fraser
4 Matt Farnworth (Capt.)
5 Scott Walsh
6 Sam Holt
7 Leon Creech
8 Jamie Edwards
9 Elliot Pond
10 Danny Taylor
11 Jack Prince
12 Sam Knowles (replaced Walsh, 28 minutes)
14 Gary Brown
15 Aaron Brown
16 Corey Harrison (replaced Prince, 65 minutes)
18 Fenton Brown