SIKH HUNTERS 2
DARLASTON TOWN 0
THE plush surroundings of Aston University Recreation Centre was the venue for Darlaston FC's West Midlands Regional League Division Two fixture against a young, talented and energetic Sikh Hunters.
With the playing surface in pristine condition Darlaston made the brighter start and could easily have taken an early lead when in the 6th minute a Mark Swann header was parried by keeper Amrick Panesar. A goalmouth melee ensued with Jordan Gaddu desperately clearing for a corner amidst Darlaston appeals that the ball had crossed the goal line.
Just eight minutes later keeper Panesar failed to control a pass back and Sam Giles just failed to take advantage as Panesar scrambled back to retrieve the situation.
As it transpired these turned out to be their best chances of the game and for the third time this season they were later to pay a heavy price.
With the cross wind slightly in Darlaston's favour the opening 20 minutes were competitive. Colin Smith was impressive for the home side as was centre forward Ashley Thorpe who kept debutant centre half Sean Westley busy all afternoon.
Luke Woodyatt and Nathan Stone created opportunities for the home side but never troubled keeper Dean Walker. At the other end John Reeves drove wide from 18 yards whilst Sam Giles broke clear of his marker but shot over the bar from 12 yards. Darlaston's young defender Callum Fowell came to their rescue in the 32nd minute with a perfectly timed last ditch tackle to deny Woodyatt a clear run on goal.
With the wind at their backs in the second half the home side were more dominant as the Darlaston midfield and defence allowed Woodyatt and Emmanuel Antwi the time and space to dictate the game. By now Sikh Hunters were playing some impressive football and they finally broke the deadlock on 60 minutes; Antwi's deflected shot evading Walker's grasp.
Swann and Giles both had half chances to equalise, both shooting over the bar from difficult angles.
The game was settled in the 78th minute when the Darlaston defence failed to clear their own area, and as the ball ricocheted to Smith he made no mistake from 8 yards, driving home past Walker. The scoreline could've been extended 3 minutes later when McAllister was harshly adjudged to have fouled Smith in the penalty area. Justice was done when Grewal hit the post with his spot kick.
Frustration set in resulting in cautions for Darlaston's Anthony Follows, Ryan McAllister and Giles whilst Panesar was cautioned for time wasting.
This Saturday Darlaston are at home to Bartley Green Illey, kicking off at 3pm. Like Darlaston, Bartley Green were also recently playing their football in the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division, so another tough encounter is in prospect.