RICHMOND Town recorded their biggest win of the season last Saturday at Earls Orchard, trouncing Annfield Plain in their first 90 minutes of Wearside League action since January.
Ben Darville’s hat-trick took his goals tally for the season to 19, while his brother Liam also got his name on the scoresheet, along with Michael Layfield and Adam Emson.
The Dalesmen’s run of 15 league and cup matches without defeat never looked under threat as they came storming out of the blocks after a four week break due to the weather.
As early as the fourth minute, the Annfield Plain defence were desperately clearing the ball off the line from a Ben Darville effort. And just three minutes later Richmond took the lead when Ben Darville’s through ball found his brother Liam, who skipped round the ‘keeper to tap in from two yards.
The Dalesmen doubled their lead shortly after – Kalumn Holbrook’s left foot shot taking a strong deflection off Ben Darville, giving the Annfield keeper no chance.
But the one-way traffic continued after that, with first Layfield going close, then defender Ben Palmer attacking a corner but seeing his header saved, and Gary Shardha – on his return from an injury which had kept him out of the side since November – firing over five minutes before the break.
There was still time, though, for Town to score their third before half time. This time it was Liam Darville providing the through ball for his brother Ben whose shot beat the ‘keeper at the near post.
The Richmond onslaught continued in the second half. A Liam Darville header thundered against the crossbar and another header flew past the upright after a perfectlyplaced cross from Layfield.
But it was not until the 80th minute that Town found the net for the fourth time. This time it was Holbrook who put in the cross from the left, finding Layfield, who made no mistake with a header at the far post.
Then it was the turn of the newcomers to make their mark. Substitute Scott McNichol almost set up Liam Darville for another but it was debutant Josh Knox who provided the assist for Adam Emson to slot home for his first goal in only his second appearance in Richmond colours. Annfield hit the post late on, but it was Ben Darville who finished the game in style with a diving header to complete his hat trick.
Richmond’s North Riding Senior Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough will be played on Wednesday, March 19, at Billingham Synthonia.