AFC Liverpool 0-2 AFC Darwen

Friday Night under the floodlights began with a minute’s applause to celebrate the life of Ronnie Moran who had sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Transfer deadline day signing Jackson Ellis was added to the matchday squad by manager Kevin Dally, taking a place on the substitutes bench, while Oscar Billington returned to the starting line-up.

Once the action was underway, the visitors took control early on as Mohammed Nabeel shook his marker and shot narrowly wide in the sixth minute. The Reds failed to heed the warning and the pacy opposition forwards tore into their defence just a minute later. This time Bobby Langford created space to shoot from the edge of the area and fired past Dominic Garner to give Darwen the lead.

The home side were struggling to find their rhythm after three weeks of match postponements, with too many wayward passes breaking up their attempts to get back into the game. Jack Leamey went close to an equaliser on eleven minutes with a solo run from midfield resulting with a sweet strike that Darwen keeper Ben Proctor pushed around the post.

Proctor also denied Oscar Billington’s long range strike ten minutes later, but Darwen remained dangerous on the break, and only hesitation by striker Daniel Russell and lightning reactions from Garner prevented another goal for the visitors, and the Reds had Sean Calvert to thank for a last ditch block preventing Langford passing into an empty net.

Dally’s side had their best chance on the half hour mark as Freddy Champion fired in a dangerous cross, but Kieron Brislen put his shot at the back post over the bar from close range. Darwen still looked the more likely to score however, and the home side could be thankful they were only one goal behind at the break.

Despite a more positive show of intent from AFC Liverpool from the kick-off, the second half echoed the first with an early goal for Darwen as a through-ball to Anthony Lynch split the Reds defence, and he finished with aplomb to double the visitors lead.

There were some positives for the home side as Champion and Calvert went close with shots from narrow angles either side of goal, and their build-up play overall was much improved. With half an hour left, Emini Adegbenro was dispossessed on the edge of the area, only to swerve his way through a crowd of blue shirts and nearly take the ball away from the feet of Proctor, who just managed to hold on to it at the last moment.

Leamey went close with a free kick skimming the roof of the net from the edge of the area, and Reds Captain Jonathon Swatton put a low shot in from distance that went just wide, but as the match drew to a close, Darwen were able to run down the clock.

A late chance for a consolation goal came as Champion broke forward with five minutes left, but he fired into the side netting when a pass across goal to substitute Jackson would have provided a better opportunity. The score remained 0-2 at the whistle, and the Reds will need to find their shooting boots by Wednesday evening, when they take on Nelson FC in Crosby.

AFC Liverpool 0-2 AFC Darwen
.                                         Langford 7′
.                                         Lynch 50′

AFC Liverpool: 1.Dominic Garner 2.Kierson Brislen 3.Daniel Hughes (14.Theodorakis Chrisokhou 71’) 4.Jonathon Swatton (C) 5.Michael White 6.Connor Smith (12.Connor Grainger 52’) 7.Jack Leamey 8.Oscar Billington 9.Emini Adegbenro (16.Jackson Ellis 77’) 10.Sean Calvert 11.Frederick Champion
Subs not used: 12. Gary Whelan 13.Ross Dalton

AFC Darwen: 1.Ben Proctor 2.Jamie Edwards 3.Kallum Banks 4.Matthew Allen 5.Adam Douglas 6.Jordan Scott (12.Reece Malone 80’) 7.Alex Ralph 8.Anthony Lynch (15.Liam Cole 77’) 9.Mohammed Nabeel 10.Bobby Langford 11.Daniel Russell (14. Declan Cunliffe (C) 71’)
Subs not used: None

AFC Liverpool Man of the Match: Sean Calvert

Att: 136

Photo Courtesy of Dave Williams

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