INJURY hit AFC Darwen were beaten 5-1 by North West Counties League Premier Division high flyers Runcorn Town.

The Salmoners could have been behind early on but Anthony Windle saved a penalty from the visitors.

Robert Ablewhite headed Runcorn in front on 25 minutes from a corner, but Darwen thought they had levelled only for Paul Coote’s goal to be ruled out for offside.

Coote did level in first half injury time, but the hosts conceded again almost immediately, with Jack Irlam restoring Town’s advantage.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes turned victory into a rout for the visitors, with Chris Lester firing home from 20 yards first of all.

Substitute Nathan Martland made it four and Paul Shanley got the fifth.