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First Team - Match centre

Worcester Raiders
Darlaston Town (1874)
R Smith (3'), A Smith (68' Sent Off), M Fowler (88' Sent Off)
Full time
I Cooper (52')
Sat 23 Feb 14:00 - West Midlands Regional League - WMRL Division One

All square in the Division One top of the table clash at Worcester Raiders

By

A goal in each half produced a stalemate, despite Worcester being reduced to nine men in the 88th minute

A big crowd saw this battle of the top two in West Midlands Regional League Division One end all square as both teams extended their unbeaten runs to 17 and 14 games respectively. The game never rose to the heights of two teams pushing for promotion as the attacking power and flare of both teams was snuffed out by the quality, resilience and tactics of both defensive line ups. The two goalkeepers were rarely troubled.

Darlaston's preparation for the game was hindered after goalkeeper Liam Whittaker suffered a midweek injury with back-up keeper Dan Elwell also unavailable 20-year-old Jack O’Day signed from Gornal Athletic came in for his debut.

Worcester opened brightly and made a dream start going ahead in the 3rd minute. A slip by Scott Glasby let in Richie Smith who took the ball into the penalty before driving home from 15 yards beyond O'Day whose first touch of the ball in a Darlaston shirt was to pick the ball out of the net.

Worcester Raiders 1-1 Darlaston Town (1874) 23.02.19
249 photos

An over fussy referee did not help the flow of the game awarding 10 free kicks in the opening 20 minutes including an 8th minute booking for Worcester's Martin Fowler. Darlaston were shell shocked for a while and on the back foot as the impressive Richie Smith and Matt Andrews looked threatening with their pace and quality keeping central defenders Luke Charlton and Scott Glasby at full stretch.
Darlaston eventually settled down from their early set back and the game was largely confined to a 60-yard area between both penalty areas as defences took charge. Neither side created any clear opportunities until the influential Smith again was on the end of a well worked move in the 27th minute his 20-yard effort clearing the bar.

Raiders Anthony Smith and Darlaston's Sam Causton were both cautioned as the game was littered with niggling free kicks as neither side gave no quarter.

Darlaston’s first effort of note came on 30 minutes a left footed shot from Isaac Cooper was blocked by Matt Tyler for the visitors first corner of the game. From the resulting corner Raiders keeper Lewis Pinches punched the ball to the edge of the box, Daniel Bolzon picked up the ball but again his 18-yard shot was blocked and cleared.

On 38 minutes it was Darlaston’s turn to be on the back foot, Raiders Martin Fowler received the ball wide on the left before cutting inside defender Sam Causton stuck to him before blocking Fowler's attempted 18-yard shot.

As the half drew to a close Bekir Halil became the fifth player to find his name in the referee’s notebook in the first half and Bolzon again missed the target with his snapshot.

Whilst Raiders had the edge in the first half it was Darlaston who opened the second half much better, Daniel Bolzon beating his defender, squaring the ball to Leon Taylor whose half hit left foot shot missed the far post by inches.

Darlaston's bright start to the second half was rewarded on 52 minutes. A foul by Paul Smith on Halil 22 yards out allowed Isaac Cooper to step up and curl the ball around the ball with pace giving Raiders keeper Lewis Pinches no chance.

Raiders response was immediate Paul Smith smashing a 35-yard thunderbolt inches over the bar. After a fairly comfortable first half Raiders central defensive partnership of Dean Waldron and George Corbett were now under more pressure from a resurgent Darlaston attack but the pairing were superb at the heart of the home defence.

Fowler brought a comfortable save from O'Day on 65 minutes before Raiders were reduced to 10 men on 68 minutes Anthony Smith picking up his second caution for a foul on Scott Glasby. The linesman also brought the referees attention to an incident which resulted in Leon Taylor and Richard Smith picking up yellow cards.

Going down to 10 men seemed to inspire the home side and on 72 minutes the visitors had Ashley Evans to thank for keeping them in the game his acrobatic goal line clearance from Matt Tyler kept the scores level.

Injuries to both Darlaston full backs Causton and Evans resulted in substitutions forcing a reorganisation of the back four which didn't help as the visitors took a few minutes to settle defensively.

With two of the Division's top goal scorers Leon Taylor and Richie Smith both subdued by excellent defensive play a draw looked on the cards some 15 minutes from full time. Jamie Holder for Darlaston and Raiders Martin Fowler having efforts blocked before Raiders had to see out the final 2 minutes and added time with 9 men. Fowler receiving his second yellow card for dissent.
The final chance fell to Darlaston in added time Bolzon cut the ball back from the left for Taylor, but the striker’s acrobatic overhead kick went just over the bar.

Both teams are respected for their quality, pace and fluency but with such pressure on the game neither side reached the dizzy heights they are capable of. Defences and midfield came out on top and overall a draw was a fair reflection of the game. With games in hand on all of their rivals Worcester will probably be happier with the point but Darlaston will be content with an away point at the title favourites as they enter the final 6 league games of the season with all still to play for.

This Saturday Darlaston have another tough fixture when they entertain near neighbours Wyrley FC at the Paycare Ground, Bentley Road North, Bentley, Walsall WS2 0EA kick off 3.00pm.

Isaac Cooper

Player of the Match

Isaac Cooper

Key moments

3:00
Goal Richard Smith scores for Worcester Raiders
52:00
Goal Isaac Cooper scores for Darlaston Town (1874)
68:00
Red Card Anthony Smith is sent off for Worcester Raiders
88:00
Red Card Martin Fowler is sent off for Worcester Raiders

Videos and photos

Highlights

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90:00 +8:00 Player of the Match
Isaac Cooper is awarded player of the match for Darlaston Town (1874)
88:00 Foul
Luke Charlton is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
88:00 Red Card 1 - 1
Martin Fowler is sent off for Worcester Raiders
88:00 Yellow Card
Martin Fowler is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
88:00 Sub On
Noah Diallo is substituted on for Darlaston Town (1874)
88:00 Sub Off
Sam Causton is substituted off for Darlaston Town (1874)
83:00 Corner taken
Corner for Worcester Raiders taken by Luke Molloy
83:00 Blocked Shot
Martin Fowler has a shot blocked for Worcester Raiders
82:00 Corner taken
Corner for Worcester Raiders taken by Martin Fowler
80:00 Foul
Matt Tyler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
79:00 Sub Off
Sam Carey is substituted off for Worcester Raiders
79:00 Sub On
Alex Marsh is substituted on for Worcester Raiders
79:00 Sub Off
Ashley Evans is substituted off for Darlaston Town (1874)
79:00 Sub On
Ryan Jones is substituted on for Darlaston Town (1874)
78:00 Blocked Shot
Jamie Holder has a shot blocked for Darlaston Town (1874)
78:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
76:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
74:00 Sub On
Alex Solomon is substituted on for Darlaston Town (1874)
74:00 Sub On
Anthony Follows is substituted on for Darlaston Town (1874)
73:00 Yellow Card
Scott Glasby is yellow carded for Darlaston Town (1874)
73:00 Foul
Luke Molloy is fouled for Worcester Raiders
72:00 Blocked Shot
Matt Tyler has a shot blocked for Worcester Raiders
68:00 Yellow Card
Leon Taylor is yellow carded for Darlaston Town (1874)
68:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
68:00 Yellow Card
Richard Smith is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
68:00 Red Card 1 - 1
Anthony Smith is sent off for Worcester Raiders
68:00 Yellow Card
Anthony Smith is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
66:00 Foul
Martin Fowler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
65:00 Saved Shot
Martin Fowler has a shot saved for Worcester Raiders
65:00 Corner taken
Corner for Darlaston Town (1874) taken by Bekir Halil
63:00 Foul
Scott Glasby is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
63:00 Sub Off
Matt Andrews is substituted off for Worcester Raiders
63:00 Sub On
Luke Molloy is substituted on for Worcester Raiders
62:00 Foul
Martin Fowler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
62:00 Corner taken
Corner for Worcester Raiders taken by Martin Fowler
62:00 Foul
Matt Tyler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
60:00 Foul
Scott Glasby is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
59:00 Foul
Sam Carey is fouled for Worcester Raiders
56:00 Missed Shot
Paul Smith misses a shot for Worcester Raiders
55:00 Foul
Matt Andrews is fouled for Worcester Raiders
52:00 Goal 1 - 1
Isaac Cooper scores for Darlaston Town (1874)
52:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
50:00 Foul
Logan Stoddard is fouled for Worcester Raiders
48:00 Missed Shot
Leon Taylor misses a shot for Darlaston Town (1874)
47:00 Foul
Jamie Holder is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
End of period 1
45:00 +50:00 Missed Shot
Leon Taylor misses a shot for Darlaston Town (1874)
45:00 Missed Shot
Daniel Bolzon misses a shot for Darlaston Town (1874)
44:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
41:00 Foul
Jamie Holder is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
41:00 Yellow Card
Bekir Halil is yellow carded for Darlaston Town (1874)
41:00 Foul
Matt Tyler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
40:00 Yellow Card
Anthony Smith is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
38:00 Blocked Shot
Martin Fowler has a shot blocked for Worcester Raiders
38:00 Corner taken
Corner for Worcester Raiders taken by Martin Fowler
36:00 Yellow Card
George Corbett is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
36:00 Foul
Isaac Cooper is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
33:00 Corner taken
Corner for Darlaston Town (1874) taken by Bekir Halil
33:00 Blocked Shot
Isaac Cooper has a shot blocked for Darlaston Town (1874)
31:00 Foul
Scott Glasby is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
31:00 Yellow Card
Paul Smith is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
30:00 Missed Shot
Richard Smith misses a shot for Worcester Raiders
20:00 Foul
Martin Fowler is fouled for Worcester Raiders
20:00 Yellow Card
Sam Causton is yellow carded for Darlaston Town (1874)
19:00 Foul
Scott Glasby is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
14:00 Foul
Luke Charlton is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
11:00 Foul
Matt Andrews is fouled for Worcester Raiders
10:00 Corner taken
Corner for Darlaston Town (1874) taken by Bekir Halil
8:00 Yellow Card
Martin Fowler is yellow carded for Worcester Raiders
8:00 Foul
Isaac Cooper is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
8:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
5:00 Foul
Luke Charlton is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
4:00 Foul
Jamie Holder is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
3:00 Goal 1 - 0
Richard Smith scores for Worcester Raiders
2:00 Foul
Bekir Halil is fouled for Darlaston Town (1874)
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Worcester Raiders
  • Darlaston Town (1874)
  • 0
  • Richard Smith Goal 3:00'
  • Martin Fowler Yellow Card 8:00'
  • Sam Causton Yellow Card 20:00'
  • Paul Smith Yellow Card 31:00'
  • George Corbett Yellow Card 36:00'
  • Anthony Smith Yellow Card 40:00'
  • Bekir Halil Yellow Card 41:00'
  • Isaac Cooper Goal 52:00'
  • Luke Molloy Sub On 63:00'
  • Matt Andrews Sub Off 63:00'
  • Anthony Smith Yellow Card 68:00'
  • Leon Taylor Yellow Card 68:00'
  • Anthony Smith Red Card 68:00'
  • Richard Smith Yellow Card 68:00'
  • Scott Glasby Yellow Card 73:00'
  • Alex Solomon Sub On 74:00'
  • Anthony Follows Sub On 74:00'
  • Ashley Evans Sub Off 79:00'
  • Ryan Jones Sub On 79:00'
  • Sam Carey Sub Off 79:00'
  • Alex Marsh Sub On 79:00'
  • Sam Causton Sub Off 88:00'
  • Noah Diallo Sub On 88:00'
  • Martin Fowler Yellow Card 88:00'
  • Martin Fowler Red Card 88:00'

Team selection

Darlaston Town (1874)
Worcester Raiders
  • 1. Alex Pinches
  • 2. Logan Stoddard
  • 3. Sam Carey
  • 4. Dean Waldron
  • 5. George Corbett
  • 6. Paul Smith
  • 7. Anthony Smith
  • 8. Matt Tyler
  • 9. Matt Andrews
  • 10. Richard Smith
  • 11. Martin Fowler
  • 12. Alex Marsh
  • 13. Dan Notcott
  • 14. Kyle Belmonte
  • 15. Roland Krol
  • 16. Luke Molloy

League round up

Other WMRL Division One results

0
1
Bromyard Town
Wellington Amateurs
2
1
Old Wulfrunians
Willenhall Town
0
3
Wyrley
0
2
Bustleholme
P
P
Newport Town

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Worcester Raiders 32 79
2. Darlaston Town (1874) 32 78
3. Droitwich Spa 32 69
4. Sikh Hunters 32 64
5. Team Dudley 32 59
6. Wrens Nest 32 54
7. Old Wulfrunians 32 49

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