Report: AFC Darwen 2-0 Colls

The Collieries have battled through this game filled week, games ticked off as they go. On Friday night the black and whites made the short journey to AFC Darwen for game number four of the week. Not that anybody’s counting. Wednesday saw the Colls crowned First Division champions to cap what has been a phenomenal league campaign. Thursday, Eagley, won 2-0 to progress to the semi-final of the Hospital Cup. Attention now turned to yet another league fixture, against playoff contenders AFC Darwen. Darwen started the better of the two sides and with just five minutes on the clock the Reds had two successive corners. A corner was sent into the packed box, a Darwen defender headed the ball across the box for Conor Gaul to volley well over. Second s later Darwen had another corner; this one was headed into the back of the net but the referee adjudged Danny Taberner to have been fouled. No goal. The first half was a tale of three penalties. The first of said three came on fifteen minutes. Matty Boland had a delightful ball played through to him. Boland, about to pull the trigger, was fouled inside the area. Contact was made. However, the referee obviously didn’t see the contact as he gave a foul in Darwen’s favour. Boland was then cautioned for a dive. Following this decision, frustrations set in amongst both sets of players and tempers had the potential to boil over in what should have been a celebratory game of football for the Collieries. Five minutes later. The second penalty kick arrived. Darwen won the penalty for a foul on their forward by Goalkeeper Taberner. Taberner, like Boland, was cautioned. Ryan Steele stepped up for Darwen to send Taberner the wrong way and take the Reds into the lead. The third penalty arrived yet another five minutes later. Boland this time was given a penalty after he had his shirt pulled. The penalty was given after consultation with the linesman. Defender Gaz Carson stepped up to take the penalty but was denied by an excellent Stefan Holden save. It was a difficult game, Darwen made it hard as they looked to control possession. On 35 minutes the Collieries were presented with the best opportunity across the full 90 minutes. Gareth Roberts twisted and turned his way down the left wing and into the Drawen area. Roberts played the ball across the face of the Darwen goal; all it needed was a touch off anyone to tap it into the back of the net. Unfortunately, nobody got that touch and the ball was cleared away. On 41 minutes, Darwen found themselves two goals to the good. Colls’ Dylan Maloney was flagged offside after he conducted a mazy run, he didn’t pass to any teammate. From the resulting free-kick, Holden played the ball up the field for it to be played onto Gaul who simply volleyed the ball into the back of the net. A fine finish. Half Time – AFC Darwen 2-0 Atherton Collieries Fortunately, things calmed down in the second half and a proper game of football was witnessed. Both sides played a passing game which suited the fine surface at the Anchor Ground. However, little action was witnessed until the 65th minute. Defender Jake Kenny fired well wide after the ball was played through to him from midfield. Another Colls effort came minutes later. The ball was threaded through to Boland from midfield. Boland with time fired the ball at the centre of the goal. Holden had to be smart and save well as he turned the ball around for a corner. From the corner that resulted, the ball was curled into the centre of the area. Nathan Battersby couldn’t get adjust himself to get a substantial header on the ball, instead he headed wide. On 71 minutes another fine Taberner save was witnessed. Taberner has made some very important and sublime saves this season and this was one of them. Steele received the ball on the edge of the area; he fired the ball at the top right hand corner of the goal, Taberner did very well to claw the ball away from danger. Full Time – AFC Darwen 2-0 Atherton Collieriees The Black and Whites did the fans proud on Friday night, putting in everything as they fought their very all in what has been and unbelievable week for the Football Club. Win, lose or draw, they always do. This rather bizarre week of five games in six days has seen the club win the First Divison title and progress to the Semi-final of the Hospital Cup – a week that will live long in the memory for all Colls fans, young and old. This won’t be the last time we play this very well organised Darwen side (who deserved their win on Friday) – we face the Reds again on Thursday 23rd April in the final of the First Divison Cup. Atherton Collieries – Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Keith Wedge, Bard Cooke (C), Luke Gibson, Gareth Carson, Mark Truffas, Dylan Maloney, Jordan Cover, Matt Boland, Gareth Roberts – Substitutes: Ben Hardcastle, George Sunter, Jack Iley AFC Darwen – Stefan Holden, Oliver Telford, Kieran Wood, Aaron Khan, Adam Douglas (C), John Leeming, Anthony Lynch, Karl Turner, Paul Coote, Ryan Steele – Substitutes: Thomas Entwistle, Luke McKenna, Lee Turner, Kallum Banes, Kiel Lonsdale Match Report – Zach Pierce

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