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First Team - Match centre

Smethwick Rangers
Darlaston Town (1874) FC
K Smith (76', 81')
Full time
L Charlton (16'), I Cooper (54')
Sat 23 Mar 15:00 - Friendly

Darlaston returned to action with a draw against Premier League opposition

By

Darlaston faced a different test yesterday, as they travelled to Smethwick Rangers for a mid-season friendly

Without a game in the last 3 weeks West Midlands Regional League Division One Darlaston Town returned to action in a friendly against West Midlands Premier League side Smethwick Rangers.
The game allowed Darlaston boss Andy Parkes to give his charges some match action and giving his squad a run out. Ryan Kingdom, David Richards, Noah Diallo, Ash Evans all started with Parkes giving a full Darlaston debut to industrious midfielder Makhan Rai. Both managers operated a roll on roll off substitutes system.

On a difficult playing surface, the game was played in excellent spirit with both teams looking to play expansive football. Smethwick’s Ricky Uppal was forced off after 11 minutes following a blow to the head in the opening minutes to be replaced by Ryan Williams.

Darlaston opened the scoring on 16th minutes. Alex Solomon failing to connect with an Isaac Cooper right wing corner, the ball fell to Luke Charlton who drove home from through a group of players high into the net. The goal inspired Darlaston and they started to play well out of defence, using the full width of the pitch. Diallo and Cooper combined well on several occasions, Cooper whipping in some excellent left-wing Daniel Bolzon and Solomon both failing to convert.

Smethwick Rangers 23 March
144 photos

Cooper had two long range efforts off target whilst Dominic Constable had Smethwick's best chance of the half also shooting high and wide from distance.

Both managers made half time changes for Darlaston Ryan Jones, Makhan Rai, Alex Solomon, Liam Whittaker and Dave Richards were withdrawn to be replaced by Scott Glasby, Jamie Holder, Jack O’Day and Leon Taylor.

Darlaston doubled their lead on 54 minutes. Bolzon escaped his marker and crossed for Isaac Cooper whose stunning header at the back post superbly saved by keeper Pinheiro, but he could only parry the ball back into the path of Cooper who rose above the static defence to head home from 8 yards.
As the half wore on, Smethwick came more into the game and pulled a goal back on 76 minutes Kieran Smith curling a 20-yard free kick beyond keeper Jack O'Day. Four minutes later Smethwick levelled Smith netting his second, a smart finish from 15 yards, giving O’Day no chance.

Darlaston were close to snatching a winner in added time, Bolzon having two efforts blocked.
Both managers will be pleased with the run out Darlaston boss Andy Parkes testing his team against Premier Division opposition and showing that they were more than capable of holding their own.

This Saturday Darlaston return to league action when they entertain 4th placed Team Dudley, managed by former Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday striker Lee Mills. Both teams are in fine form, Dudley with just 1 league defeat in 11 and Darlaston on an unbeaten run of 15 league games. Kick Off is 3.00pm at The Paycare Ground, Bentley Leisure Pavilion, Bentley Road North, Bentley WS2 0EA.

Key moments

16:00
Goal Luke Charlton scores for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
54:00
Goal Isaac Cooper scores for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
76:00
Goal Kieran Smith scores for Smethwick Rangers
81:00
Goal Kieran Smith scores for Smethwick Rangers

Videos and photos

Smethwick Rangers 23 March
144 photos
Smethwick Rangers 23 March

Highlights

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81:00 Goal 2 - 2
Kieran Smith scores for Smethwick Rangers
76:00 Goal 1 - 2
Kieran Smith scores for Smethwick Rangers
54:00 Goal 0 - 2
Isaac Cooper scores for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
54:00 Assist
Daniel Bolzon makes an assist for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
End of period 1
16:00 Goal 0 - 1
Luke Charlton scores for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
16:00 Assist
Isaac Cooper makes an assist for Darlaston Town (1874) FC
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Smethwick Rangers
  • Darlaston Town (1874) FC
  • 0
  • Luke Charlton Goal 16:00'
  • Isaac Cooper Assist 16:00'
  • Isaac Cooper Goal 54:00'
  • Daniel Bolzon Assist 54:00'
  • Kieran Smith Goal 76:00'
  • Kieran Smith Goal 81:00'

Team selection

Smethwick Rangers
  • 1. Declan Haire
  • 2. Dominic Constable
  • 3. Josh Watters
  • 4. Daniel Wright
  • 5. Matthew Baker
  • 6. Ricky Hayre
  • 7. Ricky Uppal
  • 8. Kieran Smith
  • 9. Jordan Thomas
  • 10. Ottis Reynolds
  • 11. Shaikul Islam
  • 12. Jordan McGovern
  • 13. Vitor Pinheiro
  • 14. Ryan Williams
  • 15. Reece Simmonds
  • 16. Zizzi Pinheiro
  • 17. Itai Marowa

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