Midland Football League Division One

The Paycare Stadium was the venue for this Wednesday night clash between two teams who have had no problem finding the net in the early days of the season. Copsewood were sat eighth after three games, following back to back victories over Khalsa Federation and Cradley Town, whilst the hosts were unbeaten in sixth, thanks to thumping victories over Chelmsley Town and Wolverhampton Sporting Community, before being held to a 2-2 draw on Saturday at Stapenhill.

Locally, there is a bit of a buzz around Dean Gill’s Darlaston side, with a real sense that this season could be a special one following his move from Bilston Town earlier in the year. Former Worcester City striker Andy Nicol has started the season in blistering form, notching five times in three games and after two minutes, he got his first chance to make it six in four, latching onto Brad Clarkson’s booming kick downfield. Coventry’s Jake Bull hesitated, but Nicol’s lob dropped just wide. Two minutes later, it would be Coventry finding the side netting this time after Darlaston gave the ball away; Lewis Commins feeding Owen Wassell who missed the target. The game got the early goal that was being threatened, and it went the way of the hosts; Jake Pearson driving a shot from range after receiving a throw in on the turn. Bull was equal to it, but his diving save only found Nicol, who would not be denied. Both sides committed to playing good football, which lent itself to an entertaining spectacle throughout. Searching for an equaliser, Copsewood would see an effort blocked well by Ben Podmore before nearly being caught on the break. Pearson again was at the heart of it, taking down a deep cross expertly before forcing Bull into a save; the resulting corner was glanced wide. On the stroke of half time, the Darlaston lead was doubled courtesy of Liam Matthews’ near post effort.

The goal before half time seemed to knock a bit of the stuffing out of the visitors, who were again indebted to Bull thwarting Nicol, who tried to round him. Credit the goalkeeper, who managed to force him wide before the attack petered out somewhat. Despite the best efforts of the visitors, the feeling would be that it would be Darlaston who would grab the third goal, and so it proved as Matthews doubled up on the night with a low strike from the edge of the box. The two Darlaston victories before tonight came through scorelines of 4-0 and 5-0 respectively, so the notion that they would ease up was a false one, Nicol again denied his second of the game but this time only by the crossbar. A Harvey Dangerfield flick found the red hot striker with his back to goal, and in a great piece of improvisation, sent an overhead strike goalwards that cracked the centre of the crossbar – a great piece of skill that deserved a goal. With twenty to go, the visitors grabbed what would end up being nothing more than a consolation after good play saw a Darlaston defender trip the attacker in the box. Top scorer Lewis Commins, with three in three, stepped up to smash the penalty down the middle to make it four in four. This offered a glimmer of hope that seemed to buoy the visiting side, with Commins agonisingly close to connecting with a teasing left wing cross that would have made it 3-2 and set up a grandstand finish. The goalmouth action wouldn’t end there, as Dangerfield saw a late free header pushed wide for a corner, from which Pearson would glance a header off the post following Ryan Winwood’s excellent delivery.

Darlaston Town (1874): Clarkson; Jones, Foreshaw, Podmore (Turton 55′), Purewal; Winwood, Gill (Shinton 82′), Dangerfield; Nicol, Matthews (Ngbeken 62′), Pearson. Unused: Smith, Cottee.

Coventry Copsewood: Bull; Meadows, Cross, Stringer, Fesel; Lock, Stokes(Pyewell 68′), King, Wassell; Hilton(Kavanagh 9′), Commins. Unused: Newey, Fraser-Walters, Stone.

Referee: Mr A. Ford

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