Dar­las­ton hum­ble Hunters to stay top

Black Country Bugle - - YED SCRATCHERS - By NEIL CHAM­BERS

SIKH HUNTERS 0 DAR­LAS­TON TOWN 2

IN a game of two halves Dar­las­ton main­tained their po­si­tion at the top of the league, com­ing out on top in an en­thralling en­counter be­tween two in-form teams.

With the wind and slope at their backs Hunters had much the bet­ter of the first half with at­tack­ing mid­fielder Hi­nesh Pa­tel un­playable at times, and caus­ing havoc.

The home side took full ad­van­tage of the el­e­ments and dom­i­nat­ing the first half. Dar­las­ton seemed in­ca­pable of string­ing two passes to­gether, con­ced­ing seven free kicks on the edge of their area. For­tu­nately none of the free kicks troubled keeper Liam Whit­taker.

Af­ter go­ing through the first half with­out a clear ef­fort on goal, the league lead­ers needed to find a way to coun­ter­act Sikh Hunters’ front foot ag­gres­sive ap­proach if they were to get any­thing from the game. What­ever was said in the vis­i­tors’ chang­ing room dur­ing the break made a dif­fer­ence and with the el­e­ments now in their favour Dar­las­ton had much the bet­ter of the sec­ond half. Hi­nesh Pa­tel was far less in­flu­en­tial whilst Dar­las­ton’s front three of Leon Tay­lor, Noah Diallo and Daniel Bol­zon were brought into the game much more af­ter an in­ef­fec­tive first half.

It was won early in the sec­ond half in a six minute spell. On 55 min­utes a Noah Diallo cor­ner was su­perbly de­liv­ered into the 6 yard box and met at the near post by a Leon Tay­lor bul­let header.

The lead was dou­bled soon af­ter from the penalty spot. Af­ter a neat ex­change in mid­field Leon Tay­lor was in be­hind the home de­fence, his cross evaded the run of Bol­zon but found Diallo, who was brought down by Hunters’ right back Con­nor Archer. Diallo dusted him­self down and smashed the penalty into the top right-hand cor­ner.

As Dar­las­ton’s en­ergy lev­els and con­fi­dence grew, the op­po­site was true of the home side who were now chas­ing the game in an ef­fort to ex­tend their win­ning run to six games.

Threat

As the half pro­gressed, Dar­las­ton’s game man­age­ment was im­pres­sive with a sig­nif­i­cant at­tack­ing threat in the sec­ond half. Like the vis­i­tors had in the first half, Hunters had dif­fi­culty clear­ing the ball against a strong wind and whilst they con­tin­ued to play some good onetouch foot­ball at times, they lacked a cut­ting edge and the im­pres­sive de­fen­sive line up en­sured keeper Whit­taker was rarely brought into ac­tion.

Things be­came stretched in the clos­ing min­utes as Hunters threw ev­ery­thing at it. Their only chance of the sec­ond half came on 86 min­utes when a Hi­nesh Pa­tel run saw his left foot shot strike re­bound off the post and onto the chest of sub­sti­tute Todd Perry, even­tu­ally go­ing inches over the bar.

Isaac Cooper and Ty­rone Clarke O’con­nell both had late chances for the vis­i­tors but shot wide from good po­si­tions.

As Dar­las­ton se­cured the three points and con­sol­i­dated their po­si­tion at the top of the ta­ble, Sikh Hunters will rue their first half missed chances, but the game is about con­vert­ing those you have, and that’s ex­actly what Dar­las­ton did.

Af­ter three suc­ces­sive away wins Dar­las­ton are on the road again this Satur­day as they travel to Tip­ton Sports Academy to face Tip­ton Town. Kickoff 3pm.

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