Double trouble for Old Wulfs as Taylor does it again
By Simon Cox
Darlaston's win maintains their position at the top of the League as both Worcester and Droitwich win well
In front of a bumper crowd Darlaston Town maintained their position at the top of West Midlands Regional League Division One with an excellent 2-0 win against a strong Old Wulfs side who had lost just once in 7 league games.
Top goal scorer Leon Taylor was the destroyer in chief taking his league goal tally to 26 goals as Darlaston stretched their own unbeaten run to 12 games taking 34 points in the process.
Despite the earlier torrential rain, the playing surface was in excellent playing condition as the game started in blustery conditions as both sides looked to get the upper hand it was the visitors who had the first half chance a Scott Stevenson curling free kick missing the target following a Scott Glasby foul on James Weaver.
The quality of football from both teams was impressive with James Weaver and Tony Agnello looking impressive for the visitors whilst Darlaston's front three of Taylor, Tyrone Clarke O'Connell and Daniel Bolzon were linking up well to keep the visitors defence on the back foot.
Darlaston took the lead on 22 minutes with a superbly crafted goal. Clarke O'Connell's defence splitting pass found Taylor who beat his marker to unleash a left foot angled shot beyond the advancing keeper Jamie Bostock.
Wulfs continued to play some neat controlled football without posing a real goal threat whilst Alex Solomon, Noah Diallo and Isaac Cooper were imposing their presence in midfield as the league leaders began to assert themselves as they pushed forward for the second goal. Cooper set up Clarke-O'Connell with an inch perfect pass on 26 minutes, but Bostock made a comfortable save from Clarke O'Connell's 12-yard shot.
For the visitors Tom Ray headed over from a free kick and Jake Pearson failed to make contact with a diving header from a Weaver cross but it was Darlaston who were generally on top. A Ryan Jones’ pass found Clarke-O’Connell in space in front of Old Wulf’s back three, his pacey run ended with a 20-yard shot blocked by a last-ditch covering challenge by skipper Tom Ray.
Darlaston extended their lead on 40 minutes. An excellent run by Taylor beyond the visitors’ defence was rewarded as Isaac Cooper's 35-yard inch perfect pass opened up the visitors to find Taylor whose superb first touch fell at his feet and he calmly slotted beyond Bostock for his 26th goal of the season.
Whilst Darlaston held a first half advantage Wulfs continued to impress but lacked a significant goal threat as skipper Glasby and Luke Charlton were impressive at the heart of the home defence.
In the opening minutes of the second half Daniel Bolzon rattled the bar and post with a rasping 18-yard drive with keeper Bostock well beaten. Clarke O’Connell was again threatening, his stinging drive blocked by Adam Holliday and Bolzon again forced keeper Bostock into action to save another effort in the 52nd minute.
Full back Sam Causton, Cooper and Bolzon combined well on several occasions down the right flank but the final crosses were cleared by the overworked visitors defence and keeper Bostock. It was not all Darlaston though as Scott Stevenson and Jake Pearson were prompting and probing in midfield as they looked to get their team back into the game.
Cooper beat three defenders as his pace sent him on a 40-yard run his cross into the box was cleared just as Leon Taylor was about to head home for his hat-trick.
Old Wulf’s had the ball in the net in the 67th minute substitute Nathan Lodge finishing from 10 yards but the off-side flag had long been raised.
As both managers made their substitutions the game became disjointed and stretched, the visitors benefited but were kept at bay as Darlaston’s defensive line of Causton, Glasby, Charlton and Jones stood firm, with stand in keeper Dan Elwell rarely in action with only a single save to make from a James Weaver strike.
Adam Holliday kept his team in the game clearing a Scott Glasby header off the line, whilst Cooper and Taylor both had shots at goal blocked by a Wulfs defender. At the other end Weaver and Stevenson both had long range efforts comfortably saved by Elwell.
The league leaders were very professional as their game management in the final 20 minutes was superb against a very good skilful Old Wulfs team who played good football and whose work rate was second to none.
Next Saturday Darlaston are once again at home when they entertain Telford Juniors. Kick-off 2.00pm.