AFC Darwen 4-2 Cleator Moor Celtic

AFC Darwen vs Cleator Moor Celtic

Darwen come from behind to take all three points for second time in a week

The Salmoners’ comeback show was in full swing again on Wednesday (3 November) evening as the lads recorded a second home win in as many games.

Darwen came into this one looking to take advantage of a great opportunity to move away from the foot of the table with two games in hand on Ilkley Town.

The two teams emerged onto a chilly, flood-lit stage.

The Cumbrians got the game underway and took a long shot from kick-off which unsurprisingly went behind for a goal-kick.

The opening few minutes were pretty tight and failed to give way to a proper chance for either side.

With just four minutes on the clock, the visitors take the lead, and it was a case of something from nothing as Celtic skipper Tom Mahone strikes in via a deflection off a Darwen man - bottom right-hand corner. Harsh luck on The Salmoners. 0-1.

Wilson-Heyes went for the spectacular when the ball broke to him around 40 yards out. His attempt sailed comfortably over Celtic’s back-pedalling keeper and over the bar.

The away side couldn’t really have come any closer to a second goal without actually scoring one when a Cleator Moor forward somehow failed to apply the needed touch at the back right-hand post. It looked as though he couldn’t miss.

Bit of frustration directed towards the officials from the visitors.

After 20 minutes, Darwen were yet to create a clear-cut opportunity.

Cleator Moor extended their advantage. Birdsall through to Wetherill - the Darwen backline was completely undone. 0-2. 20 on the clock.

Steele stormed towards goal, went down under pressure from a Celtic defender, referee waved away The Salmoners’ fairly subdued penalty appeals.

Couple of corners to the hosts on the half-hour mark. The second of which was swung by Steeley but headed over the bar by Lonsdale.

Then, suddenly, The Salmoners had one back through a move that was very easy on the eye. Creech found Steele a low cross across the face of goal from the right and the latter side-footed past Rule in the visitors’ goal with ease. 1-2.

The visitors had the best of the ball but no real chances - for either side - were created in the period between Steele’s goal and the interval.

A clash of heads in the box saw Birdsall temporarily vacate the field.

Darwen won a free-kick right on the edge of the area - last chance of the half you feel. Steele took and hit the bar with a brilliant attempt. The visitors’ number 2 was momentarily down - he was caught on the head with a high foot as several Reds looked to turn the rebound home.

HALF TIME: Darwen 1-2 Cleator Moor Celtic


Pretty slow start to the second period. Darwen have looked the stronger of the two sides.

Chance for Lonsdale at the near (left-hand) post - behind for a goal-kick - the skipper protests that the referee should have awarded a corner.

A group of Cleator Moor players confront the referee over a soft free-kick given on the right-hand flank. Wilson-Heyes to take. Lofted in and Creech headed wide of the right-hand post- a few Darwen ultras thought for a second that the talisman had put The Salmoners on terms.

The first 10 minutes of the second half were very even. The ball broke to the returning Knowles around 25 yards - he struck on the half-volley and almost found the top right-hand corner via a sizable deflection.

A few long-range attempts on goal by the visiting began to fly in. None of which troubled Fieldhouse and pretty much all of which sailed high and wide.

The Cumbrians frustration directed towards the officials continued to grow.

The visitors’ number 10, Wetherill, hit the bar with a fierce strike from around 25 yards. The ball bounced down and it looked as though Birdsall was going to diving-head home the rebound but Fieldhouse dived to his left to make a fantastic save.

Seconds later, Creech equalised after latching on to a superb through ball. 2-2.

Creech scored again. Sliding in to tap home from a couple of yards. Lovely ball from Steele on the left - The Salmoners’ two centre-forwards had combined to ultimate affect, again and for the second time in a week, Darwen have come from behind to lead. 3-2.

Despite only having a one-goal advantage, The Reds looked pretty comfortable now.

Fieldhouse came to claim a free-kick and received a big cheer from the ultras for doing so.

Wilson-Heyes forced a decent save out the Celtic keeper with a low-effort from range.

A pretty nervy moment came in the form of a deflected Fieldhouse clearance which could really have gone anywhere.

A long-ball over the top found Steele all on his own on the left-hand side and the forward cut inside - towards goal - to score his second - and Darwen’s fourth of the night. The Salmoners’ had wrapped up the points. 4-2.

The home side came close to a fifth - and another 5-2 win - seconds from time - Smalley saw his header saved and then no-one could quite poke the rebound home in the six-yard box.

Creech almost completed his hat-trick with a few seconds remaining but his shot flew wide of the right-hand post.

FULL TIME: Darwen 4-2 Cleator Moor Celtic

In securing all three points, The Salmoners move up to 14th in the league table.

Gaffer Kenny Langford will surely be pleased with his side’s efforts over these last two home games.

The lads travel to St Helens on Saturday (6 November).




1. Lenny Fieldhouse

2. Luke Jarrold

3. Kallum Banks

4. Matthew Johnson

5. Christopher Smalley

6. Kiel Lonsdale ©

7. Nathan Bond

8. Sam Knowles

9. Leon Creech

10. Ryan Steele

11. Rio Wilson-Heyes


12. Samuel Holt

14. Clayton Gorman

15. Alaster Redmayne

16. Lewis Cumpsty

17. Matthew Wright



1. Craig Rule

2. Jack Hunter

3. Luke Close

4. Jordan Little

5. Matthew Reid

6. Tom Mahone ©

7. Darren Little

8. Kyle Graham

9. Callum Birdsall

10. Jay Wetherill

11. Kieran Maguire


12. Adam Meegan

14. Jack Conway

15. Lucas Craigie

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