AFC Darwen crashed out of the FA Vase in extra time after ending the match with just nine players and also losing keeper Ben Proctor to a suspected broken leg.

The Anchor Ground side were just minutes away from booking their place in the next round until Auckland grabbed a last-gasp equaliser.


And the visitors, finalists in the competition just a few years ago, made the most of their reprieve to grab two extra time goals to secure victory.

Having made all of their substitutions, depleted Darwen ended the match with two players short with Nick Hepple and Ollie Birchall both going off injured.

Going in to the tie, Darwen only made one change to the side from Tuesday night’s victory at Silsden giving John Ashworth his debut. From the off, the visitors piled on the pressure and made it count in the 17th minute when Shaun Hudson fired them ahead.

It got worse for Darwen when Proctor was forced off following a collision with Ross Gardner and had to be replaced by Anthony Windle in goal.

But credit to Darwen. They recovered from the setback and went close through Jordan Khan who fired just over the bar in an entertaining opening half that saw Anthony Hume rattle the home team’s crossbar.

The second half saw Darwen’s Nick Hepple replace Ashworth and the substitute drew Darwen level following good work from Birchall.

Darwen were forced to reshuffle their side once again when Adam Douglas took a knock and had to be replaced by Sean Harrison.

But they kept on applying the pressure and top goalscorer Conor Gaul fired Darwen into the lead when he raced clear and skipped around the keeper to make it 2-1.

Tempers then flared following a foul on Darwen captain Anthony Lynch by Kriss Goss which went unpunished.

With just three minutes left, the visitors were back on level terms when Anthony Hume pounced on a poor backpass.

It got worse for Darwen when Jake Fenton put the visitors in the lead in the first half of extra time. The hosts, having made all their subs, then went down to 10 men after losing Hepple to injury.

And there was more bad news for Darwen when Birchall had to be stretchered off following a bad collision.

With Darwen down to nine men, West Auckland took full advantage when Anthony Hume made it 4-2.

It proved to be a costly game for Darwen who crashed out of the Vase, picked up five injuries including two players who needed hospital treatment.

Nelson also crashed out of the Vase after losing 3-1 after extra time to Team Northumbria at Victoria Park.

Joel Bradley fired the visitors ahead which was cancelled out by Mark Jackson’s spot kick.

But two extra time goals by Northumbria condemned Nelson to defeat.

And Bacup Borough are also out after Jason Yates goal gave Hemsworth Miners Welfare a 1-0 victory.