After defeat in the last minutes of the game at Chadderton the week before, Darwen needed to bounce back on the road against Prestwich. They were a team determined to get revenge after losing a few weeks before 2-1 to a ten man Darwen side.
It was touch and go whether the game would be on due to the rain that had come down all week. Prestwich had already called the Tuesday evening game off so this was touch and go. The game was deemed playable by the referee but only just. With lot’s of sand and a very soft surface, the game was given the go ahead and a tough afternoon for both teams was to come.
It was Darwen that started the brighter of the two teams with the midfield three of Knowles, Gibson and Lonsdale trying to take control of the game. Jarrold at right back was winning tackles and getting the team forward to Jamie Edwards. It was not long before Darwen gained the advantage and took the lead. In the 8thminute, the debut keeper for Prestwich decided to play around with the ball in the sand. His pass was intercepted and Leon Creech fired a wonderful shot off which looked like it was going in but the keeper pulled off a great save down to his left. He only managed to parry the ball into the path of Jamie Edwards who slotted the ball home from a few yards out.
This seemed to wake up Prestwich and they began to play some good football in the middle of the park. The second ball seemed to fall to a Prestwich player and they were playing the surface better than Darwen at this point. However, It was Darwen who almost got a second goal. Great work by Jamie Edwards again who played the ball across to Leon Creech, who had the same opportunity as his initial shot which gave Darwen the lead. This time he hit it with the outside of his right foot and the keeper made an easy save. Just moments later and Darwen had another opportunity. A cross from the right side landed at Jamie Gibson who didn’t realise he had acres of space on the edge of the area. He headed the ball toward goal but with no power. He had plenty of time to take a touch and he was free on goal.
Prestwich were getting forward and keeping the ball well around the edge of the area but not hurting Darwen. On 38 minutes the tricky winger picked the ball up on the left edge of the area, he crossed the ball over to the far post and somehow it went straight in.
Half time soon came and both teams went in at the break with a goal apiece.
The second half was definitely a half of very little. Both teams going forward but struggling to get near the goal. Prestwich were using the pace of the midfield but coming up against a stubborn Darwen defence.
On 65 minutes Darwen made some room in the area and got a shot off at goal, the keeper did well to parry it but again it fell at the feet of a Darwen man, this time it was Livesey Mason who shot first time and smashed it into the back of the net. For some reason, the Assistant deemed it to be offside, even though he had come from behind play when the initial shot was taken.
On 75 minutes Prestwich had a corner, which they whipped into the middle of the box. The centre half who had gone up rushed to meet the ball with his head but somehow managed to turn away, the ball hit the back of his head and it went in the back of the net. Prestwich had turned the game around by two fortuitous goals. Darwen pressed but they couldn’t get past the defence and the game finished 2-1 to Prestwich.
1) Connor Stone
2) Luke Jarrold
3) Danny Ashburner
4) Sam Holt
5) Matt Johnson
6) Kiel Lonsdale
7) Jamie Gibson
8) Sam Knowles
9) Nyle Ellis
10) Leon Creech
11) Jamie Edwards
12) Livesey Mason
14) Leighton Jones
15) Luke Williams