The Leagues top marksman ensures his team remains top
By Simon Cox
Darlaston's unbeaten run now extends to 15 games after beating local rivals Wyrley yesterday
West Midlands Regional League Division One leaders Darlaston Town extended their unbeaten league run to 15 games with a hard-fought win against an impressive Wyrley team. Destroyer in chief was the Division's top scorer Leon Taylor who netted his second hat trick in two successive home games.
Both sides started the game well, Wyrley were bright and sharp passing the ball well with excellent movement off the ball, whilst Darlaston were composed and looked more threatening in attack
Both teams missed early half chances, Leon Taylor for the home team and Josh Tolley for the visitors. On 6 minutes Darlaston were denied the opening goal by an offside flag, Tyrone Clarke O'Connell's sublime 12-yard finish being wiped off by the Assistant Referee's flag.
Despite some neat play by the visitors they lacked penetration with Scott Glasby and Ryan Jones solid at the heart of the home defence snuffing out any danger with some excellent interceptions.
Wyrley keeper Joe Williams made an excellent save at full stretch from midfielder Alex Solomon, Daniel Bolzon had a shot blocked and Taylor failed to convert with a 15th minute header.
Wyrley had the edge in possession but Darlaston were more threatening, the influential Jamie Holder spraying passes to prize open the Wyrley defence where Jack Braid and Andy Lee stood firm until the 23rd minute when Darlaston broke the deadlock.
Daniel Bolzon flicked on a header into the path of Taylor, Taylor's powerful run past two defenders took him into the penalty area before beating keeper Williams with a shot into the right-hand bottom corner.
The League leaders doubled their lead 11 minutes later on 34th minutes. A foul by Braid on Bolzon some 30 yards out resulted in a Darlaston free kick. Up stepped Ryan Jones to deliver a perfect in swinging free kick, Taylor shook off his marker to majestically head home beyond a stranded Williams in the Wyrley goal.
Wyrley continued to play some neat controlled football, Tom Green and Ollie Butler at the heart of their best work without creating any clear-cut chances. In contrast the midfield trio of Jamie Holder, Alex Solomon and Bekir Halil prompted and probed with some excellent passing moves, Clarke O'Connell, Taylor and Bolzon all threatening as Darlaston had the more lethal cutting edge.
On 37 minutes Clarke O'Connell's pace took him past Kieran Shaw, his superb left-wing cross eluding Bolzon at the far post by inches.
On the stroke of half time Taylor had a glorious chance to complete a first half hat trick after being sent clear by Solomon's precise through ball, keeper Williams was quickly off his line to deny Taylor with an excellent save.
The second half started as the first ended with Darlaston in charge. An early chance fell to Bolzon, but he could not direct his header on target from Clarke O'Connell's corner. Wyrley kept probing, looking to get a foothold in the game and should've reduced the arrears but an unmarked Butler headed wide from 4 yards.
In a 15-minute spell Wyrley skipper Reis Nadat who otherwise had an excellent game was cautioned twice and sent off for two reckless challenges on Sam Causton in the 52nd minute and Jamie Holder on 67 minutes. Holder received lengthy treatment and was eventually substituted 15 minutes later.
As the game entered its final quarter Williams was again in action saving from Bolzon who was put clear by Halil. Wyrley substitute Scott Gill shot wide on 74 minutes.
Taylor's hard work was rewarded with his second hat-trick in successive home games on 81 minutes following an excellent three man move. A Jamie Holder reverse pass set up Ryan Kingdon down the left flank, Kingdon breezed past two defenders before playing the ball into the feet of Taylor who made no mistake, scoring his 33rd goal of the season to settle the game.
In the dying minutes Jack Braid came closest to scoring for the visitors, his 18-yard curling effort bringing an acrobatic save from home keeper Liam Whittaker diving high and full length to fingertip the ball over the bar. From the resultant corner Braid had a half chance but a last-ditch block by Kingdon denied the visitors.
Darlaston’s win keeps them top of the table for this weekend and their unbeaten extending to 15 games. Without a game this weekend Darlaston are next in action on Saturday 16 March when they travel to Newport Town kick off 3 pm.
We also would like to thank Wyrley for the highlights of the game that had been posted on YouTube.