Monthly Archives: August 2014

Darlo hit nine-man Kendal for seven, Darlington 7 – 0 Kendal Town

Darlington returned to winning ways with a 7-0 victory over Kendal Town at Heritage Park, as the away side had two players sent off in the first ten minutes. Tez Galbraith scored two penalties, Hatch, Dowson, Armstrong, Fisher and Scott also scored.

Kendal found themselves reduced to nine men after nine minutes in the Quakers second bizarre home game in a row. The visitors lost their first man for a straight red card for dissent  moments after he was being off the field receiving treatment for an injury. Minutes later they were down to nine men after Liam Hatch was brought down when clear on goal outside the box.

Martin Gray had made four changes to his starting line-up. Jordan Robinson, Adam Reed, Stephen Thompson and Liam Hatch all made their first starts of the season, replacing Brown, Fisher, Scott and Armstrong.

Gary Brown was not included in the squad, but was at the game.

Darlo made hard work of the first half and it took them over half an hour to open the scoring, Liam Hatch heading home a cross. Tez Galbraith then doubled the lead from the penalty spot after David Dowson was pulled back whilst running towards goal.

With the game pretty much wrapped up at half time the second half was more like a training ground exercise. To their credit Kendal never stopped and worked their socks off, but Quakers were able to take advantage of the space to increase their goal difference.

Dowson scored his first of the season with a shot from outside the box, before Galbraith scored his second penalty after Hatch was bundled over. Hatch, Dowson and Reed were replaced by Armstrong, Fisher and Scott, with all three subs managing to get on the score sheet.

New signing Graeme Armstrong added to his two goals from Tuesday night, with a shot which deflected over the keeper. Transfer listed Fisher then struck, before Scott rounded off the scoring from outside the box.

It could have been more with Mitchell and Thompson both forcing the keeper into acrobatic saves, but it finished at 7 and a good day’s work for the Quakers.

Darlington were clinical in the second half, but the game as a contest and spectacle was decided by the referee early on. Only the referee and player will know what was said for the first sending off, but I don’t think Kendal can have any complaints about the second.

The players who came in, Reed and Robinson, both had good games without being spectacular. Thommo struggled in the first half, but picked up in the second despite not getting on the score sheet.

It’s hard to compare the performance to others, however Tom Portas looks to be a fantastic signing in the centre of midfield, just keeps the ball ticking over, whilst being able to get back and defend as well.

Elsewhere, Salford City again won as they made it four from four, we moved up to fifth, but have a game in hand on the rest as we await the outcome of the Warrington farce.

Darlington’s next game is against -our friends at West Auckland in the FA Cup next weekend, hopefully this time the major talking point will be the football.

Darlo Team – Jameson, Robinson, Hunter, White, Galbraith, Mitchell, Reed, Portas, Thompson, Dowson, Hatch

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Spennymoor 0- 2 Darlington : Darlo off the mark with win at title rivals

Darlo won their first game of the season, convincingly away to title rivals Spennymoor Town, after a first half double from new signing Graeme Armstrong. A large travelling section will be happy with the result and performance from a Quakers side that have started the season in fantastic fashion.

 

Spenny v Darlo 14/15

Spenny v Darlo 14/15

After Saturday’s debacle, which ended in the game being abandoned against Warrington Town, Darlo had another tough fixture away to local side Spennymoor Town. However the away side came through the game with flying colours to get their first three points of the season.

Darlo lined up with the same starting eleven as Saturday, with a 4-4-3 formation, which saw Liam Hatch on the bench alongside new signing Adam Reed.

Both the goals came in the first half, with target man Armstrong showing why he scored 20+ goals for Whitby last season. The first came ten minutes in, with a smart volley from the edge of the box, after a cross from right back Gary Brown. The second also came from a cross, this time a Tez Galbraith free kick, which he flicked into the net with his head.

Spenny v Darlo 14/15

Spenny v Darlo 14/15

Darlo dominated the first half, but Spenny always looked dangerous on the break as they kicked down the considerable slope at the Brewery Field. The Quakers keeper, Pete Jameson, saved a 1v1 with the score at 1-0, which turned out to be the home side’s best chance of the game. Darlington’s other major scare of the half came when Jameson was carded for taking out an opposition striker just outside the box.

Just before the interval Leon Scott and Armstrong both missed chances from inside the box to extend the lead, but the side went into the break 2-0 up.

The game was more even in the second half, which coincided with the introduction of Spennymoor’s Gavin Cogdon who always looked dangerous when on the ball. Despite this though Jameson was rarely tested apart from a few long range efforts and a late shot which he needed to tip over the bar.

Armstrong latched onto a poor back pass and should have completed his hat-trick, but the Spenny keeper kept out the 1v1. Scott and substitutes Fisher and Reed both put shots wide, along with Dowson bringing out a good save from the Spenny keeper.

I am aware the report sounds very pro Darlo, however that was how the game went and even during Spennymoor’s better spells they failed to create many clear cut opportunities.

Martin Gray will be delighted with the performances at both ends of the pitch, like he will have been from Saturday’s 32 minutes. I hope he decides to now stick with White and Hunter at centre half, as both, particularly Whitey was at his best.

The midfield got through a lot of work, Scott tired in the second half, but this should be expected given this was his first 90 minutes since April. Portas seems like the player we missed last season, an all-round box to box midfielder.

Up front Armstrong could have scored four, but showed why we bought him and ultimately was the match winner.
The only concern from the game was Amar Purewal limping off, but hopefully he will be fit for the weekend.

We next travel to Burscough on Saturday with Thompson and Robinson both back available for selection following suspension. However Gray will be tempted to keep the same line up that has performed so well this week. If Purewal isn’t 100%, Thompson could easily slot in on the left of a front three.

Overall though a fantastic night for Darlington, which came against a Spennymoor side who will be up challenging for the promotion places come May.

After the false start on Saturday, we are officially up and running!

Darlo Team – Jameson, Brown, Hunter, White, Galbraith, Mitchell, Scott, Portas, Purewal, Dowson, Armstrong

Warrington Aftermath and Spenny Preview

Saturday

Well Saturday was interesting to say the least, never thought I would see a Darlo game called off due to a referee being injured. It does make you wonder why the league doesn’t have something in place in case this happens, as it is surely a possibility no matter what the level of football.

As much as we can go into the morality of it, it does seem Reid has found a loophole in the system and used it to his advantage. It appears unlikely that we will be awarded the three points, most likely will be Warrington receiving a fine/points deduction and then the game being replayed.

One thing which has been forgotten from Saturday is how well we played. I wasn’t overly confident for the season before the game, but the 30 minutes or so we played were great. I have no problem with Jameson between the sticks even though at the weekend him and his defence were barely tested.

At the other end we looked more balanced without Thommo and it showed we can cope when he is unavailable. Portas, Mitchell and Scott all played well in midfield, this area will hopefully be a lot stronger than the last campaign.

Was surprised to see Hatchy on the bench, however Armstrong played well and won the free kick for the first goal.

Only downside for me other than the obvious debacle was the attendance. I expected around a 1000, which is what we got, but I think it is a sign of the attendances dwindling further, which is probably inevitable until we move back home.

Tomorrow night

So onto tomorrow night and another huge early season game, without having the pressure which was on the game 18 months ago.

It has been well documented that Spenny have brought in a lot of players and they will surely be up in the top few places of the league challenging for promotion. They started with a good opening win away to Padiham, with both Mcready and Tait playing.

After the way we played on Saturday, we will more than likely start with the same eleven. I would rather see Walker at right back, but Browny did nothing wrong against Warrington.

Elsewhere Adam Reed has signed for the club and is expected to retain his place on the bench from the weekend.
It’s bound to be a tight game tomorrow and I think both sides would settle for a point before the kick off.

Prediction 1-1, 1250 – Attendance

Pre Season talk is over, Darlington v Warrington Town

So finally we are back tomorrow with the opening day of the season as Darlo host Warrington Town before we travel to Spennymoor on Tuesday night.

We have seen players come and go over the summer however there has been no major overhaul.

Jonny Davis, Joe Tait and Ian Ward have left the squad, with Nathan Fisher also being placed on the transfer list. In their place Liam Hatch has returned to the club, Graeme Armstrong and Tom Portas have also joined. Adam Mitchell will remain with the club after an unsuccessful trial with Gateshead and this could prove as important as any of the other signings having impressed over the final few months of last season.

The squad is still lacking in depth, however we have plenty of players who are veristile enough to cover other positions. Hopefully though Gray will be looking to improve his squad if possible in the coming months with another full back and centre midfielder the top priority.

In terms of the team tomorrow, there are still positions up for grabs with only Jordan Robinson and Stephen Thompson both out of action due to suspensions picked up from the playoff game agaisnt Ramsbottom.

I think Mark Bell will get the nod in goal, purely for his experience, but either him or young Pete Jameson are more than capable.

Walker did not play the last friendly with Bishop, but him and Tez Galbraith are expected to play in the two full back positions.

This leaves two centre back spots between Hunter, White and Brown. I think Gray will go with Brown and Hunter, which would at least mean Browny is playing in his correct position. While White has all the experience in the world and is still tied down to another year on his contract, he was out of favour at the end of last season.

In midfield we don’t have a lot of options with Thommo and Robinson suspended, Gray may go 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, either way Portas, Scott and Adam Mitchell all should feature in some role.

Whichever formation we play, I think the other three in the starting eleven will be Dowson, Purewal and Hatch, Purewal being the most likely candiate to operate from the left wing.

Our opponents Warrington have again strengethed and will expect to be challenging for the playoffs at a minumum, the bookies still have them as fourth favourites for the title.

For the rest of the division it will be interesting to see how the other pre season favourites Salford City and Spennymoor Town get on. At the end of the day though what ever they do if the Quakers have three points on the board come 5pm tomorrow I will be happy.

Prediction Darlo 2-1

Bishop Auckland 1 v 2 Darlington

Darlo overcame landlords Bishop Auckland in our final pre-season game eleven days before our opening league fixture against Warrington Town. Goals from Tez Galbraith and Amar Purewal saw the Quakers come from behind to win 2-1.

Darlo Team – Bell(Jameson), Trialist, Hunter(White), Brown, Galbraith, Portas(Robinson), Armstrong(Scott), Thompson, A Mitchell, Hatch(Dowson), Fisher(Purewal)

Darlo started with a 4-4-2 formation and switched to a 4-3-1-2 after four changes at half time. There was some confusion over who the right back was, announced as David Mitchell, but it appears he may have been a trialist.  Brown and Hunter started as the centre back pairing, with Liam Hatch moving up the pitch to his favoured role up front.

The first half saw both sides create chances, Bishop opened the scoring with a looping header at the back post early on, the hosts also hit the woodwork during the opening forty five after a free kick evaded Mark Bell. Darlo created plenty of chances themselves with Fisher hitting the woodwork, both Portas and Thompson also came close from outside the box. Fisher had another chance to score when he raced clear, but he was unable to round the keeper. It was Tez Galbraith, though, who levelled on the stroke of half time after a worked corner routine fell to him to tap home at the back post.

Jameson, White, Scott, Dowson and Purewal all came on at the interval as Darlo changed formation with Thommo moving central behind the two strikers. The second half saw the Quakers take more control of the game with sub keeper Jameson untested throughout. Purewal scored the winner with a neat flick over the Bishop keeper however, it could have been more as Darlo dominated without creating many clear cut chances. David Dowson coming the closest  as he hit the bar from the edge of the box.

Overall it was a good workout for the side and they performed much better than in the two previous friendlies I have seen.

The trialist/David Mitchell, at right back, was very solid and the defence looked a lot better in the second half with Alan White in command.

Personally, I would like to see us play the same midfield that started the second half as it allowed Thompson the freedom needed. Portas looked very impressive with a lot of neat touches here and there, Mitchell likewise. Scott got valuable game time and hopefully he will be fully fit to go a week on Saturday.
Thommo didn’t have his best of games and from what I’ve seen he hasn’t been at his best in pre-season. He, however, had a better second half and linked up well with Dowson and Purewal as usual.

Up front, Fisher will be disappointed not to get on the score sheet, while Hatch won plenty of flick ons without threatening the goal. In the second half Dowson ran himself into the ground and Purewal took his goal well. Despite the new signings Martin Gray may well be tempted to stick with the tried and tested Dowson/Purewal combination.

So, we move on to the opening week of games with two crunch fixtures to start with against Warrington and Spennymoor, it is unclear if therel be any further additions to the squad, but regardless of this we should, like last year, be up there again challenging for promotion.