Darlaston secure comfortable win, but now look towards Saturdays top of the table clash
By Simon Cox
Its now the business end of the season, it starts with next Saturdays visit to second placed Worcester Raiders
Darlaston Town marksman Leon Taylor hit the top of the West Midlands Regional League Division One scoring chart bagging 4 goals, including a first half 29-minute hat trick, in a comfortable 6-1 victory against a spirited Telford Juniors.
Whilst the victory means they still hold a 5-point gap at the top of the table this was by no means Darlaston's most fluent performance of the season but with all still to play for it is results in their remaining 7 games and not performances which will determine the destination of this season's Division One title.
The home side started the game at pace over running the visitors creating five clear chances in the opening 6 minutes. Keeper Mitchell Delamere was in fine form denying Noah Diallo twice and Daniel Bolzon three times with fine saves. Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell was also unfortunate not to get his name on the scoresheet as his pace took him beyond the Telford defence but he was forced wide by Delamere. The influential striker could not get his shot off as the chance going begging, the striker picking up a muscle strain for his troubles.
On 11 minutes Diallo shot wide but the home team's pressure was rewarded in the 12th minute when a superb reverse pass by Bolzon found Taylor who rounded keeper Delamere to stroke the ball into an empty net from 8 yards.
Clarke-O’Connell could not recover from his muscle injury and was forced to leave the field on 17 minutes, Ash Evans his replacement from the substitutes bench.
On 20 minutes Taylor and Diallo combined to split open the visitor’s defence Diallo’s 18-yard strike leaving Mitchell stranded but unfortunately for the home fans the ball struck the inside of the post and rebounded to safety. Alex Solomon and Taylor both missed good chances.
The visitors were limited to rare foray's out of their half, but they worked hard and created two half chances Callum Wilson and William Drewfield both failing to convert with headers.
The over worked Delamere was again in action saving from Evans before the home side doubled their lead in the 30th minute. Taylor netted his second goal Alex Solomon winning the ball on the edge of the box before setting up Taylor to convert easily.
Alex Solomei and Joshua Dodd were magnificent at the heart of the visitors defence with some superb defending but they could not repel wave after wave of Darlaston attacks and the spirit and work rate of the visitors was impressive.
Solomon was again the provider capitalising on a defensive error to set up Evans whose crisp left foot volley from 10 yards gave Delamere no chance.
Delamere was in action again saving from Solomon and full back Ryan Jones was inches over with a 25-yard free kick. Taylor completed his hat trick on 41 minutes another Alex Solomon defence splitting pass found Taylor's superb run beyond the visitor’s defence to convert easily.
Nineteen first half shots at goal produced just 4 goals but the visitors never lost heart keeper Delamere and Solomei and Poole all showing excellent defensive qualities.
Diallo, Scott Glasby, Jamie Holder, Taylor and Solomon all missed chances in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and whilst not always fluent the home team had too much for their visitors. The second half promised more goals but failings in front of goal coupled with the home team taking their foot off the pedal and a spirited second half performance by the visitors saw a more evenly contested half.
Without creating any clear opportunities Callum Wilson and Jordan Hall were finding more space for the visitors as they had more of the ball in the opening 20 minutes of the second half than they had in the entire first half.
Further Darlaston chances went begging before Taylor netted their fifth on 64 minutes. Taylor powered his way through the heart of the Telford defence leaving 4 defenders in his wake as he rolled the ball into the net for his 30th league goal of the season.
On 70 minutes Darlaston conceded their first goal in three league games Callum Wilson's superb looping header from 15 yards giving keeper Dan Elwell no chance.
Diallo, Evans, Taylor and Sam Causton all had chances saved or blocked before Darlaston completed the scoring in the 88th minute. Taylor was denied his fifth goal of the game when Tom Poole handled his goal bound effort on the goal line. Poole received a red card for his troubles and Diallo stepped up to convert the resultant spot kick.
It was somewhat poignant that the game ended with the two men of the match performers again in combat as Delamere again saved from Taylor on 91 minutes.
The win extends Darlaston's unbeaten run to 13 games as they visit Worcester Raiders in a top of the table clash this Saturday. Kick off 2pm at Claines Lane, a coach leaves Bentley Leisure Pavilion at 11.15am.