It Looks like The Paycare Ground is the place to be to see goals
By Simon Cox
Darlaston make it eleven in two games and just one conceded
"If it's goals you want" then The Paycare Ground is the place to be as Darlaston Town made it 11 goals and just 1 conceded in their last two home games with an emphatic 5-1 win against Black Country rivals Gornal Athletic. A Leon Taylor hat trick settling the game as Darlaston consolidated their place in the top four of the West Midlands Regional League Division One.
Manager Andy Parkes made two changes to his starting line-up Liam Whittaker replacing Ryan Pratt between the posts and with skipper Ryan McAllister unavailable, Mark Swann moved into defence and in came Noah Diallo.
Darlaston had much the better of the early exchanges Mark Swann having a left footed effort cleared off the line in the opening minutes, from the clearance Danny Mayne’s powerful shot from the edge of the area just cleared the bar.
Swann once again went close in the sixth minute after great work once again from Danny Mayne down the right. Ashley Green Gornal’s keeper presented Darlaston a great chance, slipping when clearing the ball which went straight the Noah Diallo, Green atoning for his error with an outstanding save.
Despite forcing four corners and several free kicks in the opening 15 minutes Darlaston could not force a goal and fell behind against the run of play on 17 minutes. Gornal taking the lead with their first chance of the afternoon. A corner from Gornal’s left was not cleared properly the ball falling to Oliver Hartland on the edge of the box, Hartland’s crisp strike beat Darlaston’s keeper Whittaker low to his right giving Gornal the lead.
The goal did not dent the home side's confidence as they continued with their expansive play, prompted by the impressive Alex Solomon and Luke Charlton from midfield. Swann was looking very dangerous at set pieces, but could not find the target with his headers, neither could forward Taylor who grazed the post with one speculative effort.
The pressure finally paid dividends in the 33rd minute with a Darlaston equaliser. Darlaston's eighth corner of the game saw Noah Diallo's pin point corner headed goal wards by Mark Swann, his looping header was finding the net until Leon Taylor stole in to head the ball home from one yard.
The home supporters didn’t have long to wait for a second, two minutes later Darlaston took the lead. Danny Turton threaded a ball through to Taylor as he outpaced Chris Hill to slot the ball beyond green to give the home side a deserved lead.
Darlaston missed a great chance to stretch their lead on 42 minutes. Great work out wide by Noah Diallo and Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell set up the onrushing Alex Solomon, his effort narrowly missing the target.
Gornal were dealt a blow just before the half-time interval when scorer Oliver Hartland suffered an injury and had to be replaced by substitute Mike Bridges.
Darlaston started the second half like a train, in the opening four minutes full back Sammy Causton produced two quality crosses causing panic in the visitor’s defence who defended for their lives conceding two corners resulting in chances for Diallo and Taylor who put his header wide when it looked easier to score.
Leon Taylor and the home supporters didn’t have to wait long until he completed his hat-trick, after a sweeping move starting just inside Darlaston’s half, great work from Sammy Causton and Danny Mayne the ball found its way to Clarke-O’Connell wide on the left, he beat his man, crossing the ball into the 6 yard box where Taylor beat the defender to the ball to score his and Darlaston’s third.
Gornal rallied after the goal, efforts from the industrious Liam Morris and Adam Gwilym threatening to give Gornal a lifeline. Gwilliam forcing keeper Whittaker into an outstanding save low to his left in the 65th minute.
Both managers made substitutions which seemed to upset the flow of the game both sides giving the ball away cheaply and conceding needless free kicks. Gornal's frustration boiling over on a couple of occasions with some questionable refereeing decisions adding to their angst.
Darlaston continued to apply pressure Clarke-O’Connell, Mayne and Diallo all causing problems for the visitors whilst at the other end Liam Morris shot wide for the visitors.
Following Noah Diallo's fourteenth corner of the game Swann again caused panic at the heart of the Gornal defence as he was hauled back by a Gornal defender, Referee Mowbray immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Noah Diallo confidently stepped up to dispatch the spot kick giving keeper Green no chance.
Despite Taylor's hat trick full back Ryan Jones stole the show with a commanding performance which resulted in the goal of the game in the final minute. Diallo passed inside to Jones who superbly outwitted his marker with a fine piece of skill before going on a run beating three defenders before unleashing a tremendous 25 yard shot the ball looping over keeper Green to round off the scoring in a comfortable 5-1 win.
On Saturday Darlaston will be looking to continue their winning run, when they travel to take on Wrens Nest at The Beeches home of Tividale FC kick-off 3.00 p.m.