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AFC Darwen 3-1 Barnton

By Niall Owens

Villagers crash out of the FA Cup

The Villagers suffered FA Cup heartbreak on Saturday as they fell to a 3-1 defeat on the road to AFC Darwen.

Captain Chris Smith almost got his side off to the perfect start minutes into the game, but his goal was ruled out for a handball.

The Villagers dominated the first half for large spells, with the home side managing to deal with a dangerous cross from Paddy Hamid. The pressure didn’t relent from Barnton with Steve Warburton and Dom Bazley going close.

Smith then fired narrowly over from just inside the area, but AFC Darwen carried a threat throughout and Aaron Lyons was on hand producing a number of superb saves.

The sucker punch arrived right on half time when Darwen took the lead through Danny Taylor who thumped the ball into the net after Barnton had failed to deal with the dangerous corner.

Half Time: AFC Darwen 1-0 Barnton

The second half saw the home side take control of the contest with Lyons continually being called into action, and the Villagers keeper pulled off a stunning double save to keep his side in the contest.

Adam Heaney then doubled Darwen’s advantage on the hour mark as he got on the end of a delicate chipped cross from the impressive Taylor.

The home side were on top now and Callum Richards was on hand to clear one off the line and minutes later Darwen killed off the contest with Taylor beating Lyons and getting his second goal of the afternoon.

A late goal from Smith was not enough to deny Darwen their first ever FA Cup win, as the Villagers were left to rue not making the most of their first half dominance.

Full Time: AFC Darwen 3-1 Barnton

We caught up with manager James McShane after the game: “It was a game of two halves, first half we controlled and looked comfortable we had the three good chances and didn’t convert any.”

The game turned on the opening goal which came with the final kick of the opening period, something McShane believes set his side back: “To concede like that is a blow, and it affected us in the second half. We just couldn’t get going.”

He did offer praise for the hosts: “We’ve got to credit Darwen, they took their chances and controlled the second half.”

He added: “we’ve got move on now, on a positive note the performance of Aaron in goal was superb and Smith is now up and running for the season.”

Pictures Credit - Robert Hardley

Updated 11:57 - 10 Oct 2018 by Niall Owens

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