Lions victorious in annual Darley Dale encounter

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Darley Dale hosted its tenth annual Communit y Cup clash with Darley Dale Lions beating a local Invitational XI 4-2.

The fixture allowed new Lions manager Dean Concannon to take a first look at his side ahead of the new season.

As both sides settled into an entertaining opening to the game, the deadlock was broken when Mark Watts gave the Invitational XI the lead after connecting with inch perfect perfection to a Phil Seddon corner kick.

As the Lions pressed to find a way through of their own, the battling performance from veteran Danny Stephenson and the attacking pace from Liam Keeton stood out, yet some excellent defending from Michael Charlton, Stuart Pearson, Dan Broatch and Anthony Williams provided a tough backline to get through.

With facing such stubborn opposition, it was going to take something special to open the scoring for the Lions, then up stepped Mark Ashton.

Following several near efforts and being denied from some fine goalkeeping from Colin Dronfield it was Ashton who, marking his tenth consecutive Community Cup performance, struck a superb equalising goal from distance and took the scores level into half-time.

As the game wore on in the blistering heat of the second-half it was to be a battle of energy levels.

With the young Lions, in-particularl Liam Ashton and Niall Aked-Slack, beginning to find pockets of space to stretch their legs and move forward, they were rewarded when on own goal put them a 2-1 lead.

Capitalising on further pressure, debutant Adam Quinn added to the scoring as he showed both pace and composure to find a brace of goals to put the Lions side ahead 4-1.

As the invitational side were chasing the game the introduction of George Dronfield - the youngest of the 96 players who have played throughout the ten years of the Community Cup fixture - provided much needed pace to the attacking line.

Whilst Dronfield was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet, an instinctive close range strike from Bill Hardy did close the gap to 4-2 five minutes before time, but it was no more than a consolation as the Lions held on to claim the win in what remains an enjoyable local fixture.

Amongst the many goals in a well supported fixture, £257 was raised for local Darley Dale charity Greenaway Workshop.