FC UNITED chief Karl Marginson celebrated his second manager-of-the- month award with a 2-0 win over Darwen in front of another huge Gigg Lane crowd.
Simon Carden's 17th goal of the season and a stunning 40-yard strike by Josh Howard ensured Marginson's men maintained their 14-point lead in the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division.
Marginson, who had been named the division's top boss for December prior to kick-off to add to his October prize, said: "These awards so often prove to be the kiss of death so it was nice to pick up three points and, especially, to keep a clean-sheet.
"I'm obviously delighted to have been voted manager-of- the-month again because it means we're still on the right track.
"But this award is not just for me, it's for everyone at the club."
Carden was a whisker away from giving FC United a lead when he volleyed against a post. But the former Radcliffe star had better luck midway through the first-half when he sidefooted home after being set up by Howard.
Darwen keeper Andrew Morris repeatedly thwarted the league leaders, while, at the other end, Barrie George had only one serious save to make, the FC United keeper dashing off his line to block a Jeff Moulton shot to deny the visitors an equaliser.
Howard effectively put the game out of Darwen's reach 10 minutes after the restart, firing home from fully 40 yards after Morris had been left stranded in leaving his penalty-area in attempting to clear.
But there was a late blow for FC United when Carden limped off following a clumsy challenge which earned Darwen's Gordon Moore a booking.
The attendance of 3,371 was FC United's third highest of the season and, comes on the back of the record- breaking 4,328 gate for the visit of Winsford five days earlier.
9th January 2006