Darlastons impressive start to their pre-seaon campaign comes to an abrupt halt

Darlastons impressive start to their pre-seaon campaign comes to an abrupt halt

By Simon Cox
17th July
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Willenhall 's performance ensures a well- deserved win


Following two impressive performances against Midland League Premier Division opponents, individual performance levels dropped as Darlaston were beaten by an impressive and well organised Willenhall team.

Darlaston opened well and went ahead on 6 minutes when Liam Smith headed home a Tyrone Clarke O'Connell corner. Despite their bright start Darlaston could not capitalise and it was Willenhall who pressed forward Stephen Holmes shooting wide before Deerome Cummins was forced from the field with a nasty injury.

On 27 minutes TJ Davies looked to have doubled the lead beating his marker and clipping the ball goal wards beyond the advancing keeper until superb defending by Jack Smith saw him clear off the line.

Within 30 seconds Willenhall netted a deserved equaliser and went in front 5 minutes before the break Stephen Holmes capitalising on a series of mistakes at the heart of the defence. On 41 minutes the scores were level Noah Diallo converting a penalty.

Willenhall were far more composed than their Premier Division opponents who were struggling to string passes together and assert themselves. Yet another mistake gave Willenhall the lead moments before half time Holmes again on target.

Darlaston's second half performance was a little better as both teams made numerous changes but it was Willenhall who continued to impress with fitness, composure and their forward movement and pace.

Willenhall missed a glorious chance to extend their lead when Holmes missed a twice taken penalty on 49 minutes.

Joe Baker and Agyemang both missed chances to equalise but the quality of Darlaston's play was still well below par as passes went astray or were over hit giving them no chance of exposing a strong Willenhall defence.

Willenhall had three half chances before a last-minute goal secured a well-deserved 4-2 victory.

A disappointing performance which is better in pre-season than during the playing season and manager Andy Parkes will be expecting a much-improved display on Saturday when Darlaston travel to Hednesford for their fourth pre-season game.

Willenhall manager Matt Fisher will be delighted with his team's performance and fitness levels and on this display Willenhall officials and supporters can look forward to a much better season than over recent years.

We welcomed Pete Burke for the first time this season to a game, and his pictures can be seen by clicking Willenhall Town Album

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