Monthly Archives: May 2014

Early Evo Stik Division 1 Preview

So it been announced which teams Darlo will face next season in the Evo Stick North Division 1 and it brings up a few old faces. Below is just a quick early run down of some of the sides we will face next season.

Scarborough Athletic

The team which sticks out for a lot of long time Darlington fans is Scarborough Athletic, after they were switched to the northern division for next season. Scarborough Athletic were formed after the original club, Scarborough FC, were dissolved in 2007.  Darlington have a long history of games with Scarborough up until the late 90’s when the club were relegated to the Conference. My first ever Darlo game was a 1-1 draw with Scarborough at Feethams and coincidentally my first away game, was a midweek trip at Scarborough two seasons later. Like us they know the struggles of  having to work their way back up and hopefully the two games should be a good reminder  of previous good times, as well as attracting two big crowds. Last season they finished in 7th place in the southern league, just short of a playoff place.

Spennymoor Town

Spennymoor have finally taken promotion out of the northern league and will surely be up their in the promotion mix. We brought the best out of each other during our season in the northern league and hopefully we will be able to again this season. This last year they won the league title for the fourth time in five years as they finished on a 100 points, five ahead of second place Celtic Nation. Spenny will surely be our main rival in attracting new players from the northern league over the coming months. Like Scarborough the games will appeal to fans and hopefully will produce near sell out crowds for both fixtures.


For Darlo fans Droylsden are remembered as the minnows who knocked us out of the FA Cup in the 2008/09 season, but now we will face them for the first time in a league fixture. At the time in 2008 we were top of league two while Droylsden were in the conference north, they won the tie 1-0 in a reply which was overshadowed by a Liam Hatch injury, which stopped the game for more than half an hour. They went onto beat Chesterfield in the next round, before being kicked out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player. They were relegated last season from the northern premier division having been relegated from the conference north the year before. They finished bottom of the table with just nine points amid money troubles in a season which saw them use a mostly youthful side.

Brighouse Town

The final new team in the division will be unknown to the majority of Quakers fans, Brighouse Town were promoted into our division after winning the northern counties east football league last season. They claimed the league title as they surpassed a 100 points. This season will be the highest in the football pyramid they have competed in their history.

Of the sides who remained in our division last season I expect Warrington Town to again be the biggest threat. Having missed out on promotion last time out in the playoffs they are likely to spend money to give themselves a chance. It has been well documented that they are wanting to climb the leagues quickly and it will be interesting to see who they capture in the close season.

Bamber Bridge, Lancaster City and Farsley FC, all missed out on promotion last time but were not to far away, in particular Bamber who were unlucky to lose the playoff final. All will hope to be their or their abouts again despite none having huge budgets.

The class of 92 taking over Salford City will surely see change at a club that finished mid table last time around. It is still unclear though if the intention is to use the club to help younger players get their chance in the game or to plough money into the club to try and push them up through the leagues.

Ossett Town and Northwich Victoria both finished the season strongly having struggled early on in the last season and both will be hoping for better starts that could push them towards the playoff places.

As for us, Darlington, the hope has to be to improve the squad over the summer with the intention of hitting the ground running from the word go to give ourselves as good a chance as any of winning the league title and gaining promotion.

Full Division team list. Bamber Bridge, Brighouse Town, Burscough, Clitheroe, Darlington, Droylsden, Farsley, Harrogate RA, Kendal Town, Lancaster City, Mossley, New Mills, Northwich Victoria, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Padiham, Prescott Cables, Radcliffe Borough, Salford City, Scarborough Athletic, Spennymoor Town, Warrington Town



Darlington lose play off semi final. Match Analysis

Darlo 0- 2 Ramsbottom United

Decided not to stick a post on last night as like managers in post game interviews people say things they regret in the heat of the moment. Doing it a little differently to normal anyway today as the majority reading this will have heard a run down of the game by now.

Darlo team lineup

Bell, Brown, Galbraith, Hunter, Tait, Scott, Robinson, Thompson, Mitchell, Dowson, Purewal.

We lined up pretty much as expected and I was glad to see us start with Mitchell in a 4-4-2. However, was surprised to see Brown starting at RB instead of Walker.



Darlo/Gray’s Tactics

Questions are starting to be asked about Martin Gray’s tactics and rightfully so, as we again struggled against Rammy for the third time this season. After Scott went off injured we ended up with two CB’s playing in CM, this can work well, but neither Brown or Robinson are ball players that can pick out a pass and straight away it limited the chances that we could create. Last night we did not have options in centre mid, but we have struggled to have anyone other then Scott all season and this should have been addressed long before now.

The long ball which has come into our game more and more in the last few months really doesn’t suit us as the game passed two of our best players Thompson and Mitchell. Since the signing of Ward the ball is more and more just getting pumped into the box. When we have got the ball down and played this season we have torn teams to pieces, including Warrington away, really unsure why we have strayed from this.

Most annoying though as a fan, was the fact we just didn’t change or adapt from previous defeats this season. We haven’t scored or took a point from five games with Curzon Ashton or Ramsbottom, both these sides figured out how to play against us and we couldn’t respond.

Darlo performance

Take away everything else and the defeat last night comes down to poor performances, there was no lack of effort or commitement as some have suggested, however too many players had an off day.

Galbraith has been one of our best players since he joined, however last night nerves got the better of him. In the first half Ramsbottom’s right winger took him to pieces, and Tez kept missing the ball, missing tackles etc.

Walker when he came on at RB was similar to Galbraith looked nervous and nothing like his solid self from recent weeks. He was at fault for both goals,  he lost his man from the corner for the first goal and the second came down his flank.

Thommo even prior to his sending off had a poor game and as so often before, when Thommo struggles we as a team do. He was on the left last night and not allowed the freedom by the opposition which normally allows him to run riot.

Dowson and Purwal, like Thommo, struggled to have much impact, both had one good chance which could have changed the game(especially Dowson’s before the break).

Adam Mitchell was the standout player for me from a Darlo viewpoint and I think we will have probably witnessed his last performance in a Darlo shirt. On a whole last night, he was the only player who looked like creating much, very bright future  for him.

Ramsbottom performance

If Ramsbottom win promotion it will be deserved, them and Curzon have been by some distance the two best sides we have played this season. As they did in the league game they came with a plan and outplayed us for the majority of the game even when we had eleven men. They took both goals well and the second was a good goal even if it was touch and go for offside.

Whatever is remembered from the game, Ramsbottom were by far the better team and outclassed us completely for the first 35/40 minutes, a very good football playing team, who if they gain promotion will do well in the league above.


There has been many times this season when some of our fans have blamed the referee rather then inept performances from the Quakers and last night was another occasion.

The only incident which I have a major gripe with is the first minute tackle, I think if it was later in the game it would have been a red. The first minute challenge could well change the game and we needed Scott badly in midfield, but you have to get on the with decisions and play the game.

The Tommo/penalty incident, at the end of the day only Thommo knows if he dived or not from the stands it is virtually impossible to see. Hopefully Kev has got a decent shot of it on the highlights.

As for the second red, I think by this point our players/management/fans were seeing the red mist and it was only a matter of time till someone else went. Was amazed Browny stayed on the pitch the whole game.

Our fans/the after game incidents

Again I am not in the best position to comment as I did not see the incidents on the pitch, but as everyone with half a brain cell will agree, it looks awful on our club. Just a shame the minority would do it when the large portion of the 1900+ crowd know where to draw the line. Hopefully something can be done internally from the club, but I expect some sort of fine from the FA will be thrown at us.

The Bigger pitcture for Darlo

In my opinion this season has still been a success for the club, we know better than most the playoffs is a lottery, but a second place finish in the league is still a great achievement having jumped up from the Northern League last year. As has been stated on the forum by many, we had the best goal difference, second best defence and scored the second most goals, not bad for a constantly evolving squad who struggled in the first three months of the season.

Hopefully Gray and the players will learn from last night and we can come back stronger next year. At some point next season we have the prospect of moving back home to the town as well which in the long term is great news for the club.

Just a shame for the fourth time from four its playoff heartache for Darlington, as Ramsbottom United add themselves to the list alongside Plymouth Argyle, Peterborough United and Rochdale

Good luck to Ramsbottom and Bamber Bridge in the final on Saturday.