Darlington 1-1 AFC Fylde Analysis

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Coming back from Heritage Park yesterday more than anything else I was proud. Not just of yesterday’s performance, but of what the club has achieved as a whole.

In what could prove to be our final league game at Heritage Park it will have been a time to reflect for many people of where we have come in the last four and a bit seasons.

Every comment seen on our forum, twitter and facebook, from our fans has been positive about yesterday. When we played that first game at Bishop Auckland, most of us will not have known what to expect, but how many would have seen us second in the National North in November 2016.

As for the game itself, what else can be said, a great performance all-round from those in Black and White. We appeared to have the fairytale ending at Heritage Park, only for the linesman’s flag to take a little shine off the day. If that had counted and we had won, it would have been no more than we would have deserved.

Considering the budget and the players that AFC Fylde have at their disposal, you would not have been able to tell which side was the full-time outfit.

For the first twenty minutes we were the better side, without creating much, before the visitors showed why they are top of the table. A couple of players stood out for Fylde, the youngest in midfield and then the obvious Danny Rowe. For a 10/15 spell in the first half he looked dangerous twisting and turning our defenders inside out and his finish was of the quality which wouldn’t go out of place much higher up the football pyramid.

However, what I was most surprised about yesterday, was apart from this spell we kept him and his teammates very quiet, with Rowe rarely getting a sight of goal in the second half. This was from a defence that included Terry Galbraith having to play CB and Jordan Watson, who is yet to have a full run in the team starting at LB.

Liam Marrs had his best game in a Quakers shirt at RB and Josh Gillies once again showed his quality. How it took till nearly full-time for Fylde’s RB to get booked I’m not sure, as especially during the second half, fouling Gillies seemed to be his only way of stopping the winger.

David Syers, who came in for his first start, could have had 3/4 in another match, but finishing wise it was just not his day.

The amount of great set pieces and crosses into the box it appeared just a matter of time until we went ahead, alas it was not to be.

It has to give us hope though that others will be able to take points off AFC Fylde, as well as ourselves in the return game.

My final point on yesterday was the crowd, 2001, a virtual capacity crowd. Our attendances this season have been a great improvement from last year and yesterday was a fitting way to leave Bishop Auckland, if it proves to be the final game.

The next month or so will be an exciting time for all involved in the club and it is guaranteed that the first game whichever one it is at Blackwell Meadows is bound to be a fantastic occasion. It seems like after the last two years though it is destined to be Salford City.

You never know anyway, the FA Trophy draw is tomorrow and if we get drawn at home we will have at least one more game in our temporary home.

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