|West Didsbury & Chorlton||0|
As we settled down in warm sunshine to watch this one there was little indication of the Jekyll and Hyde performance that was to follow.
We made another impressive start, playing some great attacking and possession football as Darwen just could not get the ball or get out of their half. After 5 minutes Callum Jones finished a flowing move with a decent shot which the keeper held high to his left. A minute later the Darwen centre back almost opened the score for us when heading over his own bar and from the resultant corner Tommy Walsh went close.
On 10 minutes Lee Malkin made a great run but shot straight at the keeper and on 12 minutes another good move saw Malkin play in Danny Summers whose cross went high over the bar. Darwen were just not in the game but after 15 minutes took the lead completely out of the blue when a hopeful long ball saw Hitchen colliding with Potts to leave the home forward the easy task of walking the ball into the empty net for the opening goal. The WEST response was terrific with more flowing football marred by a catalogue of missed chances for the reminder of the first half. It was just not Lee Malkin’s day when on 22 minutes he cut in from the left only for his cross to be turned behind for a corner, and 5 minutes later he shot high over the bar when he and Tommy were 2 on 1 with the keeper.
29 minutes and a great run by Callum Jones set up a good chance which went wide of the stranded keeper and the post. Then on 35 minutes everyone in the ground thought parity would be restored when Lee went round the keeper only to hit the post with the goal open. A minute later it was Tommy’s turn to again blaze over with 2 waiting in the middle, and just before the break to hit the post again. The final action was a Callum Jones header over from a Schofield cross on the stroke of half time, and during the interval and some excellent hospitality, the Darwen officials and support agreed we should have been 3-0 ahead.
The second period was to deteriorate very quickly despite an early chance to get level on 46 minutes when Tommy Walsh shot straight at the keeper. Worse was to come when after 52 minutes Darwen effectively made the game safe when a good cross from the right was turned home from 6 yards. We then began to struggle to maintain composure and possession and then lost Alex Baird with a split lip after 70 minutes.
On 81 minutes we hit the post again when Matt Eckersley was unlucky from the edge of the area and Darwen were first to the rebound and when we eventually found the net after 85 minutes Callum Jones was adjudged offside. Darwen are a competent side and again showed that if we fail to take chances we can expect to pay a heavy price.
The end result was really frustrating and disappointing when we had started so brightly and played some fantastic flowing football.
Match photos can be seen on the AFC Darwen website, click the link below:
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