AFC Darwen               5 
Northwich Flixton Villa    4

ANOTHER entertaining home game with plenty of goals saw Darwen hang on to edge out Northwich Flixton Villa and move into a North West Counties League First Division play-off position.

The visitors opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Carlos Correia ghosted in to head past Stefan Holden in goal - but the lead lasted a minute when Luke McKenna scored his first goal of the season to square the match.


On the quarter hour Darwen edged in front. Ryan Steele was tripped in the box, and then got back to his feet to put the spot kick past Matthew Green in the Northwich goal.

But back came Northwich and Daniel Burns, who moments earlier had hit the post, made it 2-2 when he scored from close range.

The visitors then broke through the Darwen defence putting defender Reece Headlam clear, but Stefan Holden raced out of goal to deflect Headlam’s effort away.

Darwen were dealt a blow a few minutes later when leading goal scorer Steele felt the full force of an elbow in his face as he challenged for the ball.

He had to be helped from the field with his mouth bleeding and took no further part in the game, subsequently going to hospital.

With two minutes of the half to go, John Leeming chased a ball down the right wing, got the better of the defender and picked out Paul Coote in the middle.

His strike was blocked but the ball rebounded to Anthony Lynch, who slotted home to give Darwen a half time lead.

The home side were gifted a goal six minutes into the restart when Kallum Banks ran on to a ball over the top and hit a low drive towards goal which keeper Matthew Green let slip through his grasp.

Darwen came close five minutes later as Coote broke clear and chipped Green, only to see it land on the net behind the bar. Great defending by Ismail Sulieman then stopped a Coote shot finding its target from a Karl Turner cross.

Northwich came back into the match on sixty five minutes with the goal of the game.

Natalche Lassana gathered the ball in midfield, advanced and curled a shot from 25 yards into the corner of the net.

With 10 minutes to go, a superb through ball from Kallum Banks set up Coote whose drive forced Matthew Green into an excellent save. But from the corner Green went up to gather the ball, failed to hold it and Coote pounced to fire home.

Northwich weren’t finished and with two minutes to go were awarded a penalty themselves for a trip in the box. Daniel Burns took the kick, and although Holden got fingers to the ball, he couldn’t prevent it going over the line.

The visitors then threw everything forward in injury time to try and square the match but Darwen held on for the win.