Monthly Archives: October 2014

Darlo v Scarborough Athletic FA Trophy preview

Tomorrow we travel to Scarborough for the first time since a Division Three meeting in the 1998/99 season. For me Scarborough will always be a fixture I remember fondly, my first ever Darlo game was a 1-1 draw between the sides at Feethams in November 1996. A couple of years later my first away game would also be against the Seagulls, a 2-0 victory for Darlo, on the same night Giggsy scored his wonder goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup.


In terms of the game this weekend, it will be a tough test against a side who have only lost one game at home in the league this season.

Martin Gray has stated in the Echo today he intends to make a few changes with the Spennymoor game to come in mid-week. I would expect at least one of Liam Hatch and David Dowson to start tomorrow up front. As per today’s echo, Tez Galbraith will start and hopefully he can put in a good display. Tez is a very good player for this level and it must be  tough for him not getting regular game time when he has been used to it over the last two years.

Adam Cocks will probably also be involved, but he has shown so far he can more then cope at this level and looks very promising for the future.

It would nice to put a run together in the trophy, with decent prize money available, although the league obviously takes priority.

One point to note is, I believe, if either us or Spennymoor draw tomorrow the game in mid-week between the two sides will be postponed with Trophy replays taking priority.

Salford meanwhile picked up four points this week and will probably move back to the top of the table tomorrow away to Kendal Town.

Looking back at last weekend, it was another good result as we extended our winning run in the league with a 3-0 victory over Burscough. Despite tough windy conditions, our quality showed, as we comfortably ended up victors.

The performance as a whole was very good, but Martin Gray will feel we could have performed better at both ends of the field.

Our defensive record recently has been phenomenal, if you don’t include the Spennymoor game in which the youth team played, our eight game winning run has seen us concede just two goals. Burscough created more chances then most teams we have faced recently, however we were still able to come away with another clean sheet.

Thommo had a good game on Saturday without being at his unplayable best. Hopefully he can keep improving in the next few weeks when we come up against tougher opposition.

Up front Purewal will have been happy to once again get on the score sheet with a well taken goal. He could and probably should have had a hat- trick, but no Darlo fan can complain with how much of an impact he has made since his return.


Prediction for tomorrow

Scarborough 1 v 2 Darlington


Darlington v Burscough Preview

Tomorrow we host Burscough at Heritage Park as we look to consolidate our position at the top of league table.

Burscough travel to Heritage Park this weekend having not won in their previous four games. Their most recent outing was a defeat at home to Goole, 1-0, in the FA Trophy. We have already met this season away from home, when we were held to a 2-2 draw despite two goals from captain Gary Brown. Needless to say we will hope to pick up all three points against a team which has struggled in recent weeks.

With Salford City playing two league game this week, we  could find ourselves drop to second by Wednesday even with a victory. However Salford, tomorrow, have a very tough game against Mossley, a side that have surprised many this season.


We have great news on the injury front, with David Dowson, Gary Brown and Graeme Armstrong all expected to return to the squad tomorrow. Dowson has been out for virtually the whole season and his return is great news for the club. He has been a regular in the first team since we were demoted to the Northern League, his goals, assists and all round work rate making him a firm fans’ favourite.

Brown returns following illness last weekend, while Armstrong has been given the all clear following concussion sustained at home to Ossett Albion.

With the returning players some of the younger members of the club, who have filled in and played well, may miss out tomorrow. Brown should come straight back into the starting line-up and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see  Armstrong start either. Hopefully if we are winning Dowson can be given 20 minutes to help with his recovery and ease him back in.

Tomorrow marks the end of a month in which we have won all of our league games, however most of them have been against the division’s weaker sides. A win tomorrow would send us into November full of confidence ahead of a month which could define our season on the pitch.  This month we face Scarborough, Spennymoor, Mossley, Northwich and Lancaster all of whom will provide very tough tests.

Many discussions have been raised from our decision, to play a weakened side at Spennymoor in the Durham CC on Tuesday night. For me personally, I have no problem with playing our young team, in all respect to the competition it does not mean anything for the club. Our number one goal is the league, it is has be. The FA Cup and FA Trophy both have good financial rewards which can benefit the club, so it understandable that we would play strong sides in these competitions, but not the Durham CC.

Finally, off the pitch, it has been raised on the forums about possible delays and problems with the move back to Blackwell Meadows. People including myself get carried away at times, however I think it needs to be remembered that all of the people behind the scenes are volunteers and fans of the club. Every single person who is trying to make the move happen is doing so with the club’s best interests at heart. Yes it is a period of time which will define the future of our club, but we will must stick together and get behind everyone involved.


For tomorrow i  am hopeful we will win and an early goal or two could see the afternoon being very comfortable.

Prediction 4-1- Attendance – 865

Darlo regain top spot with victory over Ossett Albion

Darlington 2 – 0 Ossett Albion

Goals from Amar Purewal and Alan White saw Darlington comfortably beat Ossett Albion and move back to the top of the league table.

Purewal tapped home on the stroke of half time after Captain Gary Brown had got in behind the defence.

White then sealed the points in the second half, heading home from a corner kick.

Both Stephen Thompson and Tom Portas returned to the starting line-up tonight, the injured Jordan Robinson and Tez Galbraith giving way. Goalkeeper Mark Bell  returned to the bench while Liam Hatch was not in the squad.

Struggling Ossett Albion came to frustrate and for the majority of the first half they did. Darlo were not at their best and struggled to create many clear cut chances.

Striker Graeme Armstrong went off injured inside the first 15 minutes after a clash of heads and was replaced by Tez Galbraith with Thompson moving up front to partner Purewal. It was substitute Galbraith who came closest to breaking the deadlock, but he couldn’t quite get enough on a Adam Mitchell cross.

Thompson was as lively as ever and had numerous efforts from outside the box, none of which really tested the Albion keeper. Thommo did miss a great chance with his head, but he could not get over the ball as he again failed to trouble the keeper.

All eyes were on the referee when the Albion goalkeeper handled the ball outside his box under pressure from Purewal. Fortunately for the visitors the referee was lenient and only gave him a yellow card.

The Quakers finally broke the deadlock just before the half time whistle after a little bit of fortune. A deflected through ball caught the away defence out and Brown found himself clear on goal. Brown kept his composure and laid the ball off to Purewal who tapped into the net from a few yards out to claim his ninth goal of the campaign.

Aside from an early scare, the second half saw Darlo retain control of the game. Ossett created their best chance when a cross found the visiting forward in acres of space, only for him to tamely volley wide. Soon after the game was put to bed, as centre back White scored his second goal of the week, again from a corner. Mitchell put the ball into the box, Purewal flicked it in on and White couldn’t miss at the back post.

White should have doubled his tally after following up an effort from a corner, however he put his shot wide from inside the six yard box.

The final portion of the game saw youngsters Adam Cocks and Lewis Scarr given a run out, as the game petered out with the Quakers being satisfied with a 2-0 win.

Overall tonight, it was far from our best performance compared to some in recent weeks. However a win is a win and the games are never easy when a visiting side come to Heritage Park with one plan of settling for a point.

Purewal will be pleased to have notched up another goal despite not having his best all round night.

The defence were rarely tested, but White and Hunter were as dominate as ever when required.

Pete Jameson had a couple of shaky moments in goal, but like the defence was not fully tested.

Anyway, six wins in a row, back to the top, another clean sheet and a good night all round for Darlington.We move onto an FA Trophy tie at the weekend, yet it is unclear what strength team we will put out.

Our next league game is at home to Burscough a week on Saturday.

Darlo v Ossett Albion Preview

Tonight Darlo host Ossett Albion at Heritage Park looking to regain top spot in the league table.

Salford City’s victory against Brighouse Town last night saw them move back to the top spot. However victory for the Quakers would see us go one point clear, before the league takes a mini break as the teams compete in the FA Trophy at the weekend.

It is amazing how quick everything can change at a football club, three weeks ago we had drawn away to Radcliffe Borough and our run of games without a win had grown to six.  Five games, five wins later and everything looks completely different.

While other sides around us do have games in hand, we have finally put together a good run of results which has placed us firmly back in the automatic promotion picture. The return of Amar Purewal has been a turning point, but it is remarkable how things have so drastically turned around in a short space of time.

Most fans will expect us to win tonight, however as we saw at home to Padiham no side will just simply give up (unless your Warrington Town).

Steven Thompson was on the bench on Saturday and may start tonight following his recent injury.

David Dowson has been warming up at recent games and he can’t be too far away from a return. Dowson, like Amar, could have a huge impact on the side once he is fit again.

Tom Portas was not involved at the weekend, however there were rumours he would have been in the squad.

The only person who is 100% out of the game is Jordan Robinson. The utility man suffered a serious injury at the weekend, as of yet there has been no statement saying how long he is expected to be out.

Tonight I am hopefully we will make it six wins in a row and if we play as we have done in recent weeks I am confident we will do. The main decision tonight for Martin Gray is who to bring into the starting line-up to replace Robinson. If fit, he could go with Thommo either wide or behind the strikers. The other option being bringing in young central midfielder Adam Cocks, who has performed quite well when he has been needed.

This is the team I would start with.

Jameson, White, Hunter, Brown, Watson, Mitchell, Galbraith, Scott, Thompson, Purewal, Armstrong

Prediction Darlo 4- 1 Ossett Albion

Purewal makes Padiham pay the penalty

Darlington 1-0 Padiham

An early Amar Purewal penalty gave Darlo victory against bottom of the table Padiham.

Purewal scored the only goal of the game inside the first ten minutes, after he was fouled in the box. The visitors finished the game with nine men, as they had two players sent off, both for two yellow cards. The first came just before half time, with the second coming in injury time at the end of the game. The Quakers missed multiple glaring opportunities, but had to settle for a 1-0 victory.

Martin Gray kept the same starting eleven that beat Harrogate RA on Wednesday night, Adam Reed was again left out of the squad and his days at the club are surely numbered. Bottom of the table Padiham came with veteran striker Brett Ormerod in their side, as they looked for their second win of the season.

The early goal was great relief for the Quakers fans however it was a soft decision to give the spot kick. Purewal was pushed from behind and he converted himself for his fifth goal since returning from injury last weekend.

Padiham again felt harshly done by, as they had an equaliser chalked off for offside, the protests from the players and bench suggest it was close.

The first half was dominated, as expected, by Darlington and we played very well up to the most important part, putting the ball in the back of the net.

Adam Mitchell raced clear, but scuffed his shot wide, as did Stephen Thompson when he looked certain to score.  Graeme Armstrong and Purewal both also missed good opportunities.

The game seemed over minutes before half time when Padiham were reduced to ten men. A ball over the top seemed destined to reach Purewal however defender Craig Haynes stopped the ball reaching him with a hand, an offence deemed enough for his second yellow card of the afternoon.

One negative to come from the game for Darlington though, came on the stroke of half time, as playmaker Thompson was forced off the field with injury. Thommo had been feeling a muscle in his leg for some time, but by this point he could not continue.

The second half carried on as the first finished however the expected goal fest never materialised. Purewal was played in on goal, only to see his shot blocked by a defender chasing. Armstrong twice missed headers when it seemed easier to score, the second from all of two yards.  Brown and Hatch both saw efforts from outside the box fly over the stand, Hatch had another two good opportunities.

Tom Portas continued his fantastic form in midfield with another tidy display, but he also couldn’t find the net, an excellent drive was tipped over the top by the keeper.

Despite the missed opportunities, Padiham never really threatened to snatch a point with only a few set pieces for Pete Jameson in the Darlo goal to contend with. The visitors would finish the game with nine men though, as their tough tackling captain Martin Parkes, received his marching orders in the final minute after a mistimed tackle on Armstrong just outside the box.

Gray will be happy with the result and performance, however he will be disappointed we were unable to convert some of the chances in a game which provided a great opportunity to boost our goal difference.

Padiham will no doubt point to the officials, a penalty, two red cards and a disallowed goal. The officials did not have a good game at all and some of the decisions in the second half were laughable. Despite this though, Padiham even with eleven men, never created any pressure on the Darlo goal.

Hopefully Thommo is not too badly injured, however there is always concern when a player goes off holding a muscle.

Captain Gary Brown didn’t have the best of games, at times his distribution was truly horrendous, however he and the rest of the defence were solid throughout.

Recent signing Ian Watson, had another good game at left back and looks more defensively solid then Tez Galbraith.
Overall though, a good afternoon for the Quakers and another crucial three points in the bag.

The next seven days see us have two away trips, first to Brighouse Town on Tuesday, before we travel to Prescot Cables next weekend.
Darlo team – Jameson, Brown, Hunter, White, Watson, Thompson, Scott, Portas, Mitchell, Purewal, Armstrong

Amar the hat-trick hero as Darlo hit Harrogate for seven

Darlington 7 v 1 Harrogate RA

Amar Purewal scored a hat-trick, as Darlington eased to a victory at home to Harrogate RA.

Liam Hatch also scored two, along with goals from Stephen Thompson and Graeme Armstrong, as Darlo moved up to second in the league table.

Ian Watson made his debut at left back for Darlo and was the only change to the side that won at Ossett Town at the weekend, he came in for Jordan Robinson with Leon Scott moving into midfield.

Harrogate took a surprise early lead inside ten minutes, after Rob Youhill cut in from the left flank and dispatched an unstoppable strike into the top corner past goalkeeper Pete Jameson. The away side remained on top until Darlo equalised on 20 minutes and from then on it was one way traffic.

A cross from right back Gary Brown was headed home by Purewal to level the game, an incident which also led to the Harrogate goalkeeper being carried off injured.  Purewal quickly added his second with a left footed drive across the substitute keeper, before Armstrong tapped home a Adam Mitchell cutback to make it 3-1 at the break.

The second half continued in the same vain that the first ended and Purewal shortly scored his third. He latched onto a through ball, before calmly finishing to score his fourth goal in two games since his return from injury.

Darlo then made three changes in quick succession with Hatch, Robinson and youngster Matt Pennal all coming on. Thompson then scored his first goal of the campaign, to the relief of himself and the home fans, with a typical Thommo strike from outside the box which gave the keeper no chance.

Sub Hatch then tapped home twice from inside the six yard box, as Darlington improved their goal difference enough to move up to second in the table.

A great night all round for the Quakers, who for 70 minutes were unplayable. Harrogate played well at the start of the game and looked like they would pose us a threat, but once we equalised they only looked one winner.

Purewal’s impact in the last two games has been incredible, single handily transforming the team and scoring his 50th goal for the club in the process.

Thompson had a great game tonight, scored a cracker and set up Amar’s second with an inch perfect pass.

Watson making his debut looked solid without really being tested and Mitchell in midfield did everything but score.

In a result business it’s funny how a week can change everything, two games, two wins, nine goals and it all looks a lot better. We move onto Saturday at home to bottom of the table Padiham and an excellent chance to pick up another three points.

Darlo team – Jameson, Brown, Hunter, White, Watson, Thompson, Mitchell, Portas, Scott, Armstrong, Purewal