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AFC Darwen 1-3 Barnton

By Niall Owens

Bandell inspires Villagers to away win

It has been a long and dark winter on the field for the Villagers, but as we head into spring the team produced a memorable performance to pick up only their second league win of the season.

Chris Bandell's tremendous first half hat trick did the damage as the Villagers blew their hosts away with a dominant display.

Barnton won a penalty after only five minutes after Ryan Malone had been brought down inside the area, and it was Bandell who stepped up to send their keeper the wrong way to give his side the lead.

George Riley then forced their keeper into a smart save down low, but just as the home side started to come into the game Bandell was on hand as the Villagers hit Darwen on the break. Bandell got on the end of a pinpoint through ball from Malone to finish emphatically from the edge of the area.

The Villagers continued on the front foot and as the game grew scrappy with captain Paddy Hamid and Sam Houghton both picking up yellow cards in quick succession.

As the half drew to a close Bandell got on the end of a long ball and beat his man and then the Darwen keeper with a clever solo effort to complete his hat trick inside the opening half.

Half Time: AFC Darwen 0-3 Barnton

The second half saw the Villagers continue to create a number of chances, as Houghton was denied by an outstanding save from their keeper, before Bandell missed a good chance to get his fourth of the match.

Up at the other end Callum Shuttlewod produced a good save, to ensure the home side were unable to get back into the game.

Malone missed a golden opportunity to truly put the game beyond Darwen, but he dragged his effort wide after linking up well with Bandell once again.

As the contest wore on manager Steve Lloyd opted to hand a debut to Nick Newman who replaced Steve Warburton, who was eventually forced off after a late challenge on him that saw the home reduced to 10 men.

Just as it looked as if the Villagers would pick up their first clean sheet of the season, Darwen were awarded a penalty in added on time that Ryan Steele slotted past Shuttlewood.

Full Time: AFC Darwen 1-3 Barnton

Man of the Match:
Chris Bandell, no debate but every single player produced on the day.

On paper the result does not change much, but with a number of changes on and off the field in recent weeks the win means a hell of a lot. Steve, Mike and the coaching staff deserve this win and the players know now that they can head into the run with no fear and look to pick up momentum going into next season.

Updated 18:36 - 25 May 2018 by Niall Owens

Where next?

Club Announcement Ground share agreement cut short

Sat 30 Mar
Barnton FC Eccleshall
League 15:00

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