Darlaston extend their unbeaten run to 17 games with a 2-0 win at Allscott
By Simon Cox
Andy Parkes squad returned to the top of the league after yesterdays win
Darlaston Town returned to the top of the West Midlands Regional League Division One on goal difference with a 2-0 win in Shropshire. Darlaston stretched their unbeaten league run to 17 games and in doing so avenged their last league defeat at the hands of Allscott on 3 November 2018.
Darlaston were rocked by the late absence of the Division's top scorer Leon Taylor and within one minute of the start they were forced to play the remaining 89 minutes without a recognised front line striker. Daniel Bolzon chased the ball into the Allscott penalty area and was clattered to the ground by Brad Hamblin. Referee Rowley waived away Darlaston’s appeals for a penalty after lengthy treatment for a head injury Bolzon was unable to continue being replaced by Noah Diallo. Diallo ploughed a lone furrow up front for the remainder of the game with support from attacking midfielders Isaac Cooper and Tyrone Clarke O'Connell.
The tricky playing surface was causing problems for both sides as unexpected bobbles and strange bounces made it difficult for both teams. The home side made a good start taking advantage of Darlaston’s hesitancy with impressive central midfielder Max Marshall shooting over on 10 minutes.
It took the visitors a while to readjust after the loss of Bolzon but as the half wore on they came more into the game working the ball out wide every opportunity using the full width of the narrow pitch, Allscott’s area was peppered with crosses from Cooper, Sam Causton and Clarke-O’Connell.
Diallo and Clarke O'Connell both had shots saved by the confident Dan Pilkington in the home goal whilst Marshall forced keeper Whittaker into action on 35 minutes. the visitors came agonisingly close to taking the lead on 37 minutes when Diallo glanced an 8-yard header inches wide with keeper Pilkington stranded.
Jack Davies was majestic at the heart of the Allscott defence and in Marshall and Christian McIntosh they had midfield players with quality and energy, Darlaston's Jamie Holder and Alex Solomon working hard to make sure Allscott were thwarted in their attempts to get the opening goal.
Cooper had a shot blocked and on 44 minutes forced Pilkington to make an excellent one-handed diving save tipping the ball around the post from Cooper's 12 yard header.
A minute later the visitors went ahead when Cooper hooked home from 10 yards after good work by Jamie Holder on the edge of the home sides box, Coopers deft clip left keeper Pilkington stranded.
On 46 minutes Allscott had a penalty appeal turned away by the referee after Marshall burst into the box.
Darlaston doubled their lead on 48 minutes and once again Jamie Holder was the provider. Holder beat his marker down the right flank and whipped in a vicious low ball across the 6 yard box, Pilkington could only get his finger tips to the ball, Ashley Evans was quickest to respond prodding the ball home from inside the 6 yard box to give promotion chasing Darlaston a 2-0 lead.
Despite the promptings of the excellent Marshall, Francy Mpasse and McIntosh in midfield they lacked a forward threat as central defenders Luke Charlton and skipper Scott Glasby clearing out any loose balls and generally standing firm against the Allscott front pairing of Wayne Edwards and Jorge Gomes. Darlaston played much better in the second half and their game management was highly effective as they restricted their hosts to a few chances which were all off target or saved from distance.
The visitors had chances to increase their lead with a 25 yards bullet from Solomon and Solon was again in action with a deft far post header that bounced off the top of the bar following a "rabona " cross by Clarke Connell.
Allscott’s best chance of the half fell to substitute Rune Corrinaldi in the 80th minute. His shot went just over after a header was flicked on. Max Marshall had another thunderbolt from distance that whistled past the post.
Darlaston managed the game out well to secure a hard earned but deserved win.
On Saturday Darlaston play their last home game of the season against fellow title contenders Worcester Raiders. The game is admission by ticket only but the deadline for tickets has passed. There will be no admission to non-ticket holders on the day.