League leaders take full advantage of another poor Darlaston performance
By Simon Cox
Darlaston for the second week running are their own worst enemy
After last week's disappointing performance and first loss of the season Darlaston had prepared superbly in mid-week training sessions, entering this top of the table clash with every intention of repeating their early season performances. Unfortunately, no amount of preparation can account for individual errors which littered this game. Make no mistake Team Dudley were excellent, fully deserving of their win and in James Hill, Craig Edwards and Alex Smith they had players who were comfortable on the ball and high-quality movement and passing ability.
The first mistake came within 90 seconds a misplaced clearance from Ryan Jones fell at the feet of Tyrone Clarke 15 yards goal, the striker having the simplest of tasks to slot the ball into an empty net. all the midweek and pre-game preparation went out of the window and Darlaston were always going to be chasing the game.
The early goal gave the home side a tremendous boost playing football as it should be played, on the deck, keeping possession and looking dangerous going forward. Darlaston were at sixes and sevens for a while, unable to retain the ball for any period of time, movement was poor and passes going astray.
The league leaders took full advantage, pressing forward for a second goal with long range efforts from Tyrone Clarke, James Hill, Alex Pinches and Val Lungu none of which troubled young keeper Ryan Pratt. Darlaston struggled to get a foothold in the game or put home keeper Josh Rogers under any pressure. a half hit shot from Mark Swann and a long-range effort from Alex Solomon were the only efforts on goal.
Team Dudley continued to control the game with Hill and Smith impressive in midfield with forging runs and some superb dribbling skills. Their pressure told in the 37th minute. An Alex Pinches corner was met with a Mark Swann clearing header, which found Lungu in acres of space on the edge of the box, his well struck shot found its way through a crowd of players giving keeper Ryan Pratt no chance.
For the second week running Manager Andy Parkes needed the half time break to reorganize and to give his charges a rousing team talk in an effort to spark his team into life and hopefully give the fans something to cheer in the second half.
Within 45 seconds the half time team talk was rendered meaningless. From the kick off Craig Edwards picked up a long ball on the left, crossed to the edge of the box where skipper Ryan McAllister conceded a soft free kick on Clarke 20 yards out. Up stepped Team Dudley skipper James Hill to curl a right foot shot around the wall finding the net to give the home team an unassailable lead.
Despite the setback Darlaston produced a much better second half performance at times demonstrating their early season form without ever looking fluent or getting their passing game going. With the introduction of Danny Mayne, they carried more of a threat going forward, but any momentum the visitors built up was lost by conceding too many needless free kicks.
Mark Swann had a smart header saved by keeper Rogers and a Danny Mayne snapshot was also dealt with well by the home keeper. In the 61st minute Darlaston pulled a goal back, substitute Jamie Holder heading in a Noah Diallo corner.
Darlaston looked to capitalise on their goal and put the home side under pressure but their good work was undone six minutes later. On 67 minutes Martin Stanton entered the referee's notebook for dissent contesting the award of a corner. From the corner unmarked left back Nathan Jones stole in at the back post to comfortably head home Dudley's fourth goal.
Darlaston were reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute. Centre back Stanton collected his second booking of the game for a bad tackle on substitute Carrick Chaney.
Despite their lack lustre performance Darlaston scored the best goal of the game in the 88th minute. A superbly weighted 40-yard cross field pass by Jamie Holder pass found Danny Mayne who produced the sweetest of overhead kicks across the home keeper to give the scoreline a degree of respectability.
Whilst Darlaston were a long way off their "A" game Team Dudley were composed, hardworking and fluent and in Hill, Edwards and Smith had players of exceptional quality who controlled the game to give the home side a thoroughly deserved win.
Next Saturday Darlaston return to The Paycare Ground where they take on near neighbours Willenhall Town in a local derby. The players, management and supporters will all be looking for a much-improved performance and a return to winning ways. Kick-off is 3.00pm at the Paycare Ground Bentley leisure Pavilion, Bentley Road North, Bentley WS2 0EA.