Updated: Sep 2, 2021
AFC Darwen vs Chadderton FC
To say that Darwen endured a difficult night would be somewhat of an understatement - Chadderton put five past The Salmoners last Wednesday (4th August) to continue their perfect start.
The visitors almost took the lead with just 20 seconds on the clock when an effort from the right-hand edge of the 18-yard box flew just over the bar - in hindsight, the visitors coming so close was a warning sign for what was to come. The opportunity arose from a dispossession of Daniel Ashburner. The Darwen man injured his knee whilst jostling for the ball and was concerningly stretchered off after a lengthy break in play.
Things were to get worse for Darwen as on the fifteen-minute mark, Sam Holt was shown red for an apparent stamp on a Chadderton man, Darwen were down to ten men and moments later, they could - and arguably should - have been down to nine when Steele was only cautioned for a two-footed lunge on Chadderton’s number two, Harry Dean.
It felt and looked as though Darwen were out of control and this lack of control was at no point more apparent than it was when - after all that had unfolded in the few minutes beforehand - Itotayagbon naively brought down Sutcliffe in the penalty area. Luckily for Darwen, taker Adam Dale scuffed his shot wide of the left-hand post. And the score remained 0-0.
But it was only to remain 0-0 for two more minutes - Chadderton took the lead when Luke Jarrold unfortunately prodded a low cross from Harry Dean into his own net. Darwen 0-1 Chadderton - 21 minutes gone.
Darwen reaped no reward from the few opportunities they did create in the first half and they were left deflated when Ethan Sutcliffe latched on to a great ball from Jack Worrall before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home to make it two-nil to Chadderton with 29 minutes gone. Six minutes later, Sutcliffe had another. This time, he chested the ball down and poked the ball past Fieldhouse. Chadderton had the hosts right where they wanted them.
Chadderton then had a shout for another penalty waved away after Sutcliffe went down on the edge of the six-yard box.
Darwen almost pulled a goal back just before half-time when Wilson-Heyes saw his powerful shot blocked by a cluster of Chadderton defenders before Steele’s half-volleyed effort hit the crossbar and went over.
HALF TIME: Darwen 0-3 Chadderton
Perhaps, Kenny Langford was reiterating a message of renewed focus and composure whilst Chadderton were left waiting before the start of the second half. When The Salmoners did re-emerge, they got the second half underway and it almost immediately became obvious that they weren’t going to just lie down but rather look to salvage something from the
game. And for at least the first 10 minutes of the second half, The Salmoners played like they had nothing to lose.
After 52 minutes, the Darwen ultras finally had something to cheer when a corner which came from a fierce long-range attempt by Langford rather fortunately found its way into the back of the net. Darwen 1-3 Chadderton.
Darwen skipper, Ben Langford and Chadderton’s number 16, Dion Battes came head-to-head after Langford was left unhappy with how easily Battes went down under a nothing-challenge from a Darwen man. Both players were booked.
17 minutes into the second half, Darwen’s new-found hope and optimism took a major blow as Chadderton restored their three-goal cushion. Ethan Sutcliffe - scorer of Chadderton’s second and third - went on a run down the left-hand side before assisting Adam Dale who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Sutcliffe was subbed off not long after - it should be said that he was one of Chadderton’s two brightest stars on what was a dazzling night for the visitors - the other was Musambya Kisimba Kisimba who put on an impressive display in the centre of midfield. He controlled proceedings with relative ease.
A few chances did come Darwen’s way as the game faded away - Sam Knowles would have made it 2-4 had it not been for a last-ditch Chadderton goal-line clearance and then Steele almost found the top-right corner with a great effort from a free-kick around 25 yards out.
A great bit of defending from Luke Jarrold kept the scoreline at 1-4 with only a few minutes remaining. A wild Wilson-Heyes free-kick that sailed high and wide perhaps embodied Darwen’s night. Unfortunately for Darwen, there was still time for what felt like a long-overdue Chadderton fifth - a goal that seemingly only served to compound The Salmoners’ misery. This time, Harry Dean who got on the end of another cross from the right-hand side. The full-back side-footed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner with ease. Chadderton’s rout was complete.
FULL TIME: Darwen 1-5 Chadderton
All at AFC Darwen very much look forward to the reverse fixture at Andrew Street.
Reporter: Lewis Heyn
DARWEN Starting XI
1. Lenny Fieldhouse
2. Lewis Cumpsty
3. Kallum Banks
4. Luke Jarrold
5. Samuel Holt
6. Daniel Ashburner
7. Ben Langford ©
8. Sam Knowles
9. Leon Creech
10. Ryan Steele
11. Rio Wilson-Heyes
12. Silas Itotayagbon
14. Kiel Lonsdale
15. Yann Daryl
16. Jonathan Thomas
17. Joshua Liversedge
CHADDERTON Starting XI
1. Harrison Fleet
2. Harry Dean
3. Joseph Richards
4. Jordan Schofield ©
5. Mark Ashworth
6. Jack Worrall
7. Philip McGrath
8. Musambya Kisimba Kisimba
9. Adam Dale
10. Elvis Amoakwa
11. Ethan Sutcliffe
12. Dominik Williams
14. Arron Scholes
15. Dylan Stringer-Moth
16. Dion Battes
17. Jack Coope