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Cup upset at Parkside Road: Kendal Town 2-3 AFC Darwen
WITH a trip to the Reebok only two games away, Kendal crashed out the FA Lancashire Challenge Trophy at the hands of a Bobby Langford-inspired AFC Darwen at Parkside Road.
Currently mid-table in North West Counties League Division One, the visitors surged into a three-goal half-time lead courtesy of a Danny McGahon own goal and strikes from Langford and Lee Turner.
Kendal rallied in the second period as Danny Coid and substitute Oli Mathieson reduced the arrears, although Darwen held on to record a cup upset.
Dave Foster made a total of five changes to his starting line-up with goalkeeper Rick Carter, McGahon, Kevin Brown, Luke Selby and Zach Clark all drafted in.
Maison McGeechan had an early sight of goal before Darwen took a 15th minute lead as Ryan Steele’s low cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by McGahon.
The East Lancashire side defied their lower league status to play some enterprising football, outplaying their hosts for the majority of the first-half.
Moments after their opening goal, left-back Jack Smith was on-hand to hack away ahead of a lurking Danny Banks after Langford’s cross-shot was palmed away by Carter.
Former Clitheroe winger Langford was proving a real handful and duly added a second after 26 minutes, firing home after latching onto Steele’s through-ball and rounding Carter and Will Bell.
Four minutes later the Salmoners made it three to stun Parkside Road, Turner shooting low past Carter from the edge of the box after a right-wing cross was only half-cleared.
And aside from McGahon clearing the crossbar from Mike Rushton’s pull-back and Darwen stopper Stefan Holden tipping over a Smith effort that was about it for the opening period.
The home side stepped up a gear in the second-half and pulled a goal back ten minutes after the re-start, Mathieson’s flick-on finding Coid who finished past the onrushing Holden.
And Town were firmly back in the tie on the hour-mark, Mathieson turning the ball home from inside the six-yard box after Smith’s low cross from the right.
Bell produced a timely block to deny Langford before the introduction of Mitchley with 13 minutes remaining gave the hosts added impetus.
The 16-goal forward made an immediate impression, linking with Coid only for his effort to be cleared off the line by Adam Douglas.
The Darwen centre-half then put his body in the way of a powerful goal-bound McGeechan attempt, before the former Bolton Wanderers man was denied a leveller by an offside flag.
Despite later pressure, Darwen held on for victory which their first-half performance merited, with Kendal left to focus solely on league football for the remainder of the campaign.
Kendal Town: Rick Carter, Ross Lloyd, Jack Smith, Danny McGahon (Matthew Knipe 90), Will Bell, Kevin Brown, Luke Selby (Oli Mathieson 46), Danny Coid (c), Maison McGeechan, Mike Rushton (Danny Mitchley 77), Zach Clark. Subs not used: Michael Stringfellow
AFC Darwen: Stefan Holden, Matthew Taylor, Kieron Wood, Adam Douglas, Marin Parker (c), Kiel Lonsdale, Danny Banks (Kallum Banks 28), Lee Turner (Marc Mullan 81), Ryan Steele, Karl Turner, Bobby Langford. Subs not used: Aaron Brown
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