Darlaston humble Hunters to stay top
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.
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.