Author Archives: Simon Hahn

Darlo lose out to Boro youngsters

We fell to defeat in our fourth game of preseason, but can take plenty from the match with two weeks until our season opener.

It was always going to be a competitive game against Boro’s U23 side and it proved to be, particularly in the first half.

We started with a 4-3-3 formation, Liam Hughes as the holding of the three in the middle with Harvey Saunders and Reece Styche either side of Simon Ainge up top.

The first half we more than held our own, without creating a whole amount from open play. Their right winger caused us a lot of problems and with a better end product could have done some damage.

Saunders again looked lively playing in a front three. However, after he was pushed wide as part of a four man midfield he was less effective.

That came about after the injury to Dave Syers, there was no contact so it will be a muscle problem. Hopefully just precautionary.

Even though it is a pre-season game the second half was a bit disappointing in actual performance. Our defence was opened up at frequent times by the visitors and it was a mixture of poor finishing and some good goalkeeping to keep it down to one.

The goal itself was poor defending from a set piece, that needs to be cut out in time for the competitive games.

Jonny Maddison certainly deserves a mention from today. He made several good stops and has shown he can prove to be a great signing for us.

We did continue to cause problems from set pieces though and this should be an area we look to capitalise on in the coming season.

Not a great performance, but fitness is the key. I think the team we started with today won’t be too far off the one that lines up against Curzon Ashton in two weeks time so it was good that a lot of those players got 90 minutes.

Onto Northallerton and if we can come away with a few goals it would definitely help confidence having only scored three in four games so far.

 

 

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Positives can be taken despite heavy defeat

Darlo 1 v 5 Motherwell

Ahead of our game with Sunderland tonight here are a few thoughts after our game on Sunday.

Our pre season campaign got underway with a heavy defeat at home to Scottish Cup finalists Motherwell, but plenty of plus points came out of it.

It has felt like we have hardly been away, with the World Cup and England’s fantastic run, football has never stopped.

We have certainly had a busy summer with plenty of comings and goings so it was good to get back to action on the pitch.

Notably missing were Styche and Thommo but all the new signings got a good run out giving us the first chance to see what they can do.

In terms of the result you can’t take a lot from it, Motherwell looked fitter and just had that extra bit of quality you would expect from a full time outfit.

Some of our players looked a bit unfit but that’s what pre-season is for and we still have four weeks to go till the competitive action gets underway.

Harvey Saunders was certainly our bright spark. He always has bags of pace and energy but he was more involved on Sunday. His goal was all about him putting pressure on the defence, winning the ball and finishing well.

Jonny Maddison started his first game in goal for the club. He looked a bit shaky at the start with communication not quite there with his new defence, but it is the first game they have played together. However, despite conceding five he made several good stops especially in the second half after changes were made.

Jonny Burn like Maddison will grow into the defence. At times as a unit we were all over the shop but it as a new group of players starting together at the back for the first time.

Liam Hughes started in the centre with Dave Syers and the pair were overun. However his size and height alone means he should be able to play a huge part in both boxes. It will definitely be interesting to see who we start with at CM come the 4th of August.

Simon Ainge, like Hughes, will be a huge ariel threat. Again,as with CM, up front we have so many options and combinations we certainly will be able to change it more than last season if we are struggling in games.

Jordan Nicholson started but him and Alex Henshall who came off the bench struggled to make an impact, neither of them were given the ball much and will definitely have more to offer when we play teams that are our level.

The second half petered out with a lot of youngsters given a chance. Every outfield player was taken off leaving only Maddison playing the full 90.

A disappointing result but time together on the pitch is the main thing. A lot of changes have been made to not just the first 11, but the squad as a whole. Tonight will be another tough test but regardless of the result it will take us a step in the right direction.

World Cup Day 5

England’s big day is finally here as we open our campaign against Tunisia tonight.

One of the biggest days for England fans in the football calender as we look to start our Russian adventure with victory.

Weekend recap

It has certainly been a fantastic weekend in Russia which just about had everything. Ronaldo stole the show in one of the greatest World Cup matches ever seen as Spain were held to a 3-3 draw by Portugal.

Messi couldn’t drag Argentina past Iceland, while Brazil also had a stuttering start.

However, Mexico stole the show yesterday as they beat reigning champions Germany with a fantastic counter attacking display.

Sweden v South Korea

The other match in Germany’s group is today’s early kick off and after the result yesterday it is wide open.

The Swedes knocked out Italy in the playoffs to reach the finals so have shown they can beat some of the biggest nations and will start favourites today.

South Korea don’t come into the tournament in great form but it is another one of those games when both sides will feel they need to win to progress.

Belgium v Panama

Belgium are favourites to win our group and should get off to a winning start against new boys Panama.

They are making their first appearance at the finals and if they pick up any points in the group they will have done well.

Belgium should be too strong though and have a genuine chance of going far in the tournament.

England v Tunisia

We finally kick off with expectations lower than normal. However, they are still expectations for tonight, a winning start.

We have a young attacking side who could threaten anyone we face going forward.

Tunisia won’t roll over, a lot of the smaller sides have so far put up solid displays so far.

However, we should be able to replicate 20 years ago when we overcame them 2-0 in our opening game in France.

World Cup 2018 Day 2

We are well and truly underway after the opening ceremony and match yesterday, but today the action gets better as three games take place.

Day 1 What we learned

While Russia were expected to win yesterday the manner of their victory over Saudi Arabia which was suprising. It was clearly a mixture of Saudi having an absolute shocker and good Russian play, but they took their goals very well. The last two in particular are genuine world class strikes. It puts them in good stead to qualify with the two harder games coming up. As for Saudi one day in, it is hard to see any way they can come back from this.

Day 2

Uruguay v Egypt

A really interesting contest, but where the build up has all been about one player. Following the Champions League final all of Egypt has been sweating if Mo Salah will be fit, it sounds like he won’t be fit to start but they need him in what will be the toughest game of the group.

In Cavani and Suarez alone the South Americans are very dangerous and they were fantastic in qualifying.

Uruguay have the potential to have another great run again and the draw has been very kind to them, I expect them to win the group.

Morocco v Iran

Group B kicks off with the two smaller teams of the four facing off in a game both simply have to win to have a chance of getting through. Both sides were impressive in qualifying with fantastic defensive records. It could well be a game of few goals but one both have to go for in the later stages.

Spain v Portugal

The pick of the group games is set to be a Friday night treat for all. Spain’s well documented build up may have an effect on the squad but it doesn’t stop them from having a world class line-up and they still remain rightfully one of the favourites for the event.

European champions Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo are hoping for back-to-back major honours. Alongside their neighbours they should have too much for the others in the group whatever the result tonight.

However it is set to be a fantastic game for all football lovers across the globe.

The World Cup is now truly here.

World Cup day 1 preview

It is finally here World Cup 2018! Over the next four weeks we are set for a feast of football and I will be looking towards the action as everything plays out.

There is only the opening match on Day 1 as Russia get ready to stage the World Cup for the first time and while it may not be that exciting a game on paper it means the tournament is finally here!

Russia v Saudi Arabia

The two lowest ranked teams in the tournament meet in the opening game which it is hard to argue isn’t the worst opening game in the history of the tournament.

Neither team come into the tournament in any sort of form but it is crucial for either team if they have hopes of progression.

Uruguay are the favourites in one of the weakest groups in the tournament with Egypt and Mo Salah also set to provide a test for the hosts.

With Russia not having to qualify for the event they have had to make do with friendlies as a warm up for the event but have struggled albeit against some of the better teams in the world.

Since qualifying Saudi Arabia have also struggled results wise but have shown enough that they may not be rolled over as much as some may think.

Russia are heavy favourites for the match with home advantage, but the odds for them to win aren’t worth it considering they have struggled to score many let alone win.

Either way the world will be watching and even if tonight’s match might not be a classic it means the start of a fantastic few weeks for football.

A busy weekend but the right moves from Tommy

After the season came to a conclusion last weekend Tommy’s early moves in the window would always be crucial but it is hard to argue against the decisions he has made.

We have done incredibly well as a group of fans to raise nearly 85k for the boost a budget. However, Martin Gray was always one to spend money and ask questions later, the time to change this is now, thankfully Wright seems to agree.

Every penny needs to be spent wisely and having a smaller squad is important to this. In the second half of this season, a number of players were not getting a look in and simply have to leave for us to be able to strengthen elsewhere.

Gary Brown and Leon Scott leaving will be hard for both players but it will be the best for them and us as a club. Both have had a huge role in the club’s most successful, title-wise, period in our clubs history and have been fantastic servants on as well as off the pitch. Enough could not be said to praise them, but when we look back at this period both will be two of the names first talked about.

Greg Mills is another to be released and again it comes as no real shock. Mills had a couple of good games for us at the start of 2018 but it hasn’t worked out for him and is well behind Gillies and Thompson in the pecking order.

The final player released so far is Liam Marrs. It is a difficult one as for many when he played in the 2016/17 season he more than held his own at this level. However, Tommy clearly prefers Luke Trotman at right back and budget wise it is hard to justify having two players for each position.

Terry Galbriath was a must to get tied down to a contract so getting him signed on is huge for the team. We have seen him play in numerous positions over the years but he has adapted to all of them. One of the really crucial players in this squad next season.

Josh Gillies is the other to sign a new deal and in recent months he has shown why he deserves it. On paper, he is as talented as any in the squad and when he turns it on he is too hot to handle at this level. If Tommy can get Gillies, Styche and Thommo playing at their best together no defence at this level will be able to stop them.

Others remain who still have time left on their contracts but it is yet to be seen what will happen. It is a difficult situation when they are not players Wright has brought in but if we are unable to offload them loan moves might be the best we can do.

The majority of the key players in the first team have signed new deals in recent months and the squad is really coming together.

A couple of key positions still need to be addressed, in goal being the most important for me. However, the squad on paper is looking a strong one and if we can get them playing together we could really have a strong chance of challenging at the top end next season

Burnout Paradise Remastered review  

 

Burnout returns to the gaming world with a remastered version of one of its classic titles that will have you racing, crashing and jumping all over Paradise City once again. 

Remastered games are certainly the in things at the moment, COD, Crash and just recently the announcement of Spyro to name a few. While people will see them as companies trying to make a quick buck, if it is a big title and people want to play it again why not. 

From dropping into the game I felt straight at home. In its day it really was a classic, one of the earliest driving only free roam games it offers an event at every crossroad for you to compete.  

It is what you want from an arcade racer fast paced action that never stops. The events are broken down into races, road rages when you need to destroy so many rivals, marked man where you simply need to survive and stunt runs when you take to the air to get points for exciting jumps. The idea from ten years ago is simple, addictive, easy to play racing fun.  

Remastered games are always hard to judge, is it worth spending so much for a game that people have already paid for? 

The in-game updates are limited, if you play on the highest spec versions of the game the graphics look clean but not a huge improvement on the original. Likewise in a time when fast travel is a norm in games, it still does not make an appearance in Burnout. While for the majority this won’t be a problem if there is one specific event you are trying to complete after a failure you have to drive back to the start to attempt it again. 

The soundtrack is very 2008 with some classic songs in there it certainly isn’t a bad thing that it has not been changed.

The learning curve is a perfect one it is tricky at times, but most players will be able to complete events within a few goes. 

New content

One of the main plus points for those who had the original game is the DLC. The original was one of the early titles to offer a really good DLC package and the title comes with most of this included so for players such as myself who didn’t play it the first time around it really is a great addition. Big Surf Island is the main attraction but also online elements and bikes which could easily be a game in its own right. 

In the first few weeks since it came out I have managed to get the platinum trophy for the main game but still find myself on less than 70% completed of the game. There is so much to do and to fully complete everything the game has to offer will take a long time.  

Like I said early if you buy Burnout Paradise Remastered or not will depend on your view of games being remade. For new players, it may feel a bit outdated in some aspects, but more than holds its own still against the other arcade racers on offer currently. For those who have played it before if you loved the game ten years ago you will not be disappointed.