Monthly Archives: January 2015

Darlington travel to Salford for promotion showdown

Well it is finally here, after much anticipation, the biggest game of the Quakers season so far is tomorrow!

My preview of the game will be going onto the official site later today, however I thought I would put a few of my opinions on here as well.

The build up to the game reminds me a lot of the Spennymoor match two years ago, with a huge hype and buzz surrounding the fixture. That night at the Brewery Field goals from Tez Galbraith, David Dowson and Adam Nicholls sealed a 3-1 victory which proved a key moment in the title race.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fCrJ_KlqhM

Ultimately we were went onto win the Northern League title that season and tomorrow could prove to be just as crucial.

Two official supporters buses have been filled for tomorrow along with numerous other buses from around the town. I’d guess around  700/800 fans will be making the trip over from the north east, but it could be even more, which at this level is fantastic.

The crowd itself has a huge role to play. The Darlo players are used to playing in front of big crowds week in week out and the attendance tomorrow will be much larger than the Salford players normally experience.

Hopefully the game will go ahead, despite the weather conditions this week and the day will be trouble free.

As for the game itself, we go into the game with all the momentum despite having numerous fixtures being called off over the past two months.  We still have only lost two games this season in the league, the last being against Salford in September.

I expect our starting 11 to be the same as last week, which will mean recent signing Nathan Cartman starting up-front. There has been huge hype around the signing of the player, which Salford were interested in themselves and hopefully tomorrow he will open his competitive account for the club.

Following the class of 92 taking over Salford City they have made their ambition to climb the leagues clear. This was shown in January as they replaced their manager, which was followed by a string of new signings in a bid to boost their promotion chances this season.   Many of these have come from Ramsbottom United, who we struggled against last season, including in our playoff semi-final defeat at Heritage Park. However, hopefully Martin Gray and his team will have learnt lessons from those defeats.

We go into the match with a huge advantage of knowing that we do not have to win the game. Win, lose or draw we will be the favourites for the title come 5pm on Saturday, whereas Salford are in a must win position.

Northwich Victoria, can obviously not be counted out in the title race, we still have to play them twice, however, from the start of the season I have always thought it would come down to us and Salford for the title. A win tomorrow for Darlo would be a huge boost and could just about finish off their title hopes.

In terms of a prediction I fancy a draw, which I think the Quakers will be more than happy with.

Salford City 1 v 1 Darlington

Attendance : 1250

COME ON DARLO

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Darlo return to action with win at Ossett Albion

Ossett Albion 0 – 2 Darlington

Ossett Albion v Darlo 14/15

Ossett Albion v Darlo 14/15

Goals from Graeme Armstrong and Stephen Thompson saw the Quakers pick up a vital three points before next weekend’s trip to promotion rivals Salford.

Armstrong struck half-way through the first half with a left footed strike.

Thompson sealed the win in the second half with a left footed volley leaving the keeper no chance.

The win was sweetened for the Quakers with Salford City suffering a surprise defeat at Brighouse Town.

Martin Gray handed striker Nathan Cartman his debut for the club, as he partnered Armstrong up-front with David Dowson on the bench. Terry Galbraith was given the nod in centre-midfield ahead of Leon Scott, while Liam Hatch was on the bench.

The Quakers had chances early on with both Armstrong and Cartman wasting good opportunities.  Cartman thought he had given the Quakers the lead, however, his effort which would have gone down as an own goal, was disallowed for offside.

Thankfully though, the Quakers broke the deadlock when Armstrong smashed home a loose ball across the keeper with his left foot into the bottom corner.

Following the goal Albion had their best spell of the game as they got in behind the Darlington defence on a couple of occasions. One of which saw Pete Jameson made a brilliant 1v1 save to keep the score at 1-0.

The second half saw Dowson replace Armstrong and within minutes it was 2-0. After great build-up play down the right wing, a cross into the box was not fully cleared and Thompson took full advantage as he lashed home a volley into the net.

The Quakers took their foot off the gas with a two goal cushion and seemed happy to see the game out.

Jameson made another two high quality saves to preserve yet another clean sheet for the side with the best defensive record in the country.

Darlo nearly made it three, late on, when Cartman crossed for Galbraith, but he missed the ball completely when unmarked.

However, there will be no complaints from the players or the travelling fans, as Darlington put in a very professional display to grab a vital three points.

Man of the match for me was Alan White, yet again he showed his class as the back five once again kept out the opposition.

New signing Cartman may be disappointed not to have scored on his debut, however he did a lot of running, showed some nice touches and will score goals for us given the time, his record this season shows this.

It was good to see Thommo back on the score-sheet, hopefully it will give him a confidence boost going into next week.

The result was given even more significance an hour later, with Salford City losing away to Brighouse Town, 3-1, with the Ammies finishing a game with nine men for the second time this season. Northwich Victoria very nearly slipped up as well, however they scored a late winner at Prescot Cables.

The results mean we are now only three points behind both Salford and Northwich with five games in hand on both.

All eyes now turn to the crunch game at Salford City next week, where a positive result would be a huge step towards the title. Either way, though, we have put ourselves into such a position, where even a defeat next weekend would leave us in pole position to win the title and promotion!

Darlo team – Jameson(GK), Brown, Hunter, White, Watson, Thompson(Mota), Mitchell(Scott), Portas, Galbraith, Cartman, Armstrong(Dowson). Subs not used – Bell, Hatch

Darlo 2-0 Brighouse Town

Yesterday’s win saw us return to the top of the league table, thanks to goals from captain Gary Brown and striker David Dowson.

We were far from at our best, but the result could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Despite the return of Gary Brown, we looked shaky throughout the first half and Pete Jameson in goal came to our rescue on a couple of occasions.

The first 45 minutes saw us rarely threaten the Brighouse goalkeeper, with an Adam Mitchell free kick the closest we came to open the scoring.

I suspect Gray had a few words to say at half time, as we came out in the second half looking like a different side.

WIth the chances we had in the second period the margin of victory could have been a lot more, but come full time it was just pleasing to get the three points.

However, despite the chances created we looked a lot more open at the back then we have done in recent months. Even when we had a 1-0 lead we never looked secure and Brighouse very nearly levelled in the final minute of the game.

Fortunately though we managed to keep a clean sheet and hold for the 2-0 win.

Leon Scott took a lot of stick yesterday and I am sure he himself will admit he did not have his best game. For me he hasn’t been as good this season as he has the last two, however he still has a crucial role to play in the team

Thompson had a very poor game yesterday and i could understand when he was dragged off. Like Scott, he has not been the same player this season, very hit and miss. However Thommo is still the one player in our squad who can do something truly remarkable out of nothing.

I was glad to see Mota have a better game when he came on, after a disappointing first start against Scarborough. He obviously is very good on the ball and showed some great touches yesterday.

On the whole, results went for us again yesterday, as leaders Northwich dropped points along with many of the chasing pack. With three games in hand on our nearest rivals, anything other than the title will be a disappointment from this position.

Our next three games are against Padiham, Prescot Cables and Ossett Albion and offer a great chance to pick up more points before the Salford clash.

It is interesting to see the changes this weekend at Salford, not sure if this is good or bad news for us, however it may give the club a lift following what has been a tough period on the pitch.

Kendal aftermath and Brighouse Preview

Fortunately due to other commitments I didn’t have a wasted trip to Kendal yesterday, however you have to feel sorry for all the fans that did travel from the north east.

It appears that the pitch got drastically worse in the hour before kick-off and common sense would have been not to start the game. Obviously they will have been pressure on the referee due to a large crowd in the ground, but you can only imagine the uproar if a player had got seriously injured due to the pitch.

The only positive to come out of the day was the results elsewhere. Salford lost at Droylsden while Northwich drew against Warrington. There is still a long way to go in the season, but we now find ourselves in a great position especially if we can win our games in hand.

Looking forward our next few fixtures don’t look too bad on paper and really give us a good chance to push on with our unbeaten run, before the crunch trip to Salford on the 31st.

In terms of tomorrow’s game, most fans will expect us to cruise past Brighouse, however recent home results against Radcliffe and Clitheroe show that no side can be taken for granted. They travel to Heritage Park having lost six of their last seven games, their lone victory coming against Farsley on Boxing Day.

 

Liam Hatch and Gary Brown are both now available following their suspensions, although neither played the 15 minutes yesterday. Amar Purewal was again not involved, which will probably mean a start tomorrow for David Dowson.

As I said before you can’t take anything for granted, but if we play anywhere near our best, we should come away with a victory tomorrow. Salford host Kendal, while Northwich take on Mossley.

 

Prediction

Darlington 3 – 0 Brighouse Town