THE newly reformed Darlaston Town (1874) FC is officially up and running. A hundred and forty years after the club was founded, and a year on from going out of business, the much-loved club came back last week to play in their first game since their re-establishment.
Midland League side Rostance Edwards FC were the opposition for this inaugural match, and provided a stern test in the opening pre-season friendly. The 0-0 scoreline does not do justice to what was a very good game played in excellent spirit in the Saturday afternoon sun at Pulse Soccer and Fitness, Wednesbury.
Darlaston manager Mark Swann used the game to assess the quality of his squad and in all used 20 players during the game. Rostance Edwards started the game impressively and in the opening 30 minutes they produced some excellent football with some impressive skills and touches on display.
Despite their pressure and quality of play they did not create any clear cut chances and were unable to take advantage of the half chances they did create. Christopher Collins in the Darlaston goal looked confident and dealt with everything the Rostance Edwards forwards threw at him.
As the first half progressed Darlaston got more of a foothold in the game and forwards John Reeves and Sam Giles started to create problems but were well marshalled by a strong Rostance defence.
Swann brought himself on for the second half and introduced several youngsters who were all impressive. Darlaston were better organised following the break and snuffed out the skilful Rostance front line. Vice captain Anthony Follows was impressive linking well with Swann, and the Rostance defence were much busier than they were in the first half. Swann and Reeves both had half chances to snatch the winner for the home side but were denied by the Rostance keeper.
After the game Darlaston boss Swann confirmed he was happy with the work out. "I have learned a lot today about several players," he said. "Rostance Edwards are a very good side with several excellent players who have a good touch and are very skilful. I thought they had the better of the first half and whilst they had no clear cut chances they deserved to be in front at half time.
"We were much more organised in the second half and the relationships and understanding between the players were more evident.
"We probably had the better of the second half but overall a draw was a fair result. I was very pleased with some of the young lads and I think many of them will have a future at Darlaston".
Immediately after the game Swann confirmed six new signings. In an effort to balance his squad with youth and experience he has signed three seventeen year olds, Ashley Walker, Sam Melia and Callum Fowell whilst two local 20 year olds, Lucas Hough and Jordan Fieldhouse have also signed on the dotted line. Wayne Price has also joined from Premier Division Wednesfield.