Match Report

DARLINGTON FC 1883 (0) 2

Vanarama National League North match
played on Saturday, 6 August 2016, at 3pm


It took a penalty in the fifth added minute for Darlington to take a point from this game but Altrincham could not really complain at the sharing of the spoils. Before Galbraith had rolled his equalizing spot-kick home, Altrincham had twice gone ahead. Their opener had arrived in the fourteenth minute when a fine cross from the left by Patterson, one of seven Altrincham debutants in the starting eleven, was met by a close-range header from James Lawrie.

Darlington enjoyed plenty of the ball but did not equalize till ten minutes from time when Burgess powered home a header from a corner. Then Altrincham went 2-1 up in the 89th minute when Jake Moult hammered home a spot kick following a melee in the visitors' box caused by a James Lawrie freekick. In the last of the minimum of four added minutes found by referee Tankard, Burgess was brought down and Darlington's penalty made it 2-2.


REFEREE: Mr Anthony Tankard

Manager Neil Young's options were reduced with four of his squad already ruled out through injury or illness (Densmore, Hasler-Cregg, Joyce and Hattersley) but the starting eleven comprised seven debutants for the Club. Heathcote was at right-back with Patterson on the left. Up front, Damian Reeves was supported by Sean Miller and James Lawrie, with Jake Moult and David Lynch behind them. Holding midfielder Alan Goodall was named as captain.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks) 1. Andrew DAWBER, 2. Sam PATTERSON, 3. Sam HEATHCOTE, 4. John CYRUS, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Alan GOODALL (capt), 8. Jake MOULT, 11. David LYNCH, 7. James LAWRIE, 9. Sean MILLER, 10. Damian REEVES, Subs: 12.Jamie MENAGH, 14. Simon RICHMAN, 20. Callum PRESTON, 16. Craig HOBSON, 15. Simon GARNER.

DARLINGTON 1883 (All purple, with lime green trim) 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Liam Marrs, 3. Terry Galbraith, 4. Phil Turnbull, 5. Kevin Burgess (capt.), 6. Gary Brown, 7. Adam Mitchell, 8. Leon Scott, 9. Amar Purewal, 10. Nathan Cartman, 11. Josh Gillies, Subs: 12. Tom Portas, 13. Mark Bell, 14. Lewis Nightingale, 15. Adam Nowakowski, 16. Liam Hardy.


On a warm and sunny afternoon, newly promoted Darlington 1883 faced a new-look Altrincham side and the visitors brought strong support, 434 on the terraces and more in the main stand.


Darlington won the toss and opted to change ends so Alty kicked off and had to defend the Golf Road end.

The opening stages were fairly uneventful with no hint of a goal at either end. But, after a fairly bright start from Altrincham, Darlington began to apply some pressure, aided by long throws from both sides of the pitch (7 mins). The second such throw gained the visitors a corner and then Cyrus had to cover well after Heathcote had been beaten in the air (8 mins).

From another Scott long throw, from the right, Moult headed clear and then a further Scott long throw won a Darlington corner, on the right, which was followed by another on the left (10 mins).

So it was a little against the immediate run of play when Altrincham took the lead. It came from a long cross from Patterson from the left. From close range Lawrie scored with a header (14 mins).

Darlington continued to go forward as Purewal nodded wide before a Galbraith cross was cleared. Despite Miller looking lively, Altrincham were not seriously threatening the visitors' goal. At the other end, Scott won a freekick 22 yards out, left of centre. Gillies's freekick flew just wide of the goal, to Dawber's right (25 mins).

After a Goodall error had let in Purewal, on the Darlington right, a corner resulted. Just past the half-hour mark, Cyrus had to head clear. Then, Mitchell's low shot flew inches wide, thanks to a slight touch by Dawber, which conceded another corner.

There was a farcical episode as Alty cleared the corner and Scott went for the ball but collided with the referee! Frustrated at being blocked by the official, Scott then fouled Moult and, after showing dissent, the Darlington man was booked (32 mins).

Alty improved, as a fine ball from Miller located Lawrie who won a freekick 35 yards out, right of goal. A few minutes later, Goodall and Lawrie had successive shots blocked (39 mins). The sides traded offsides and then freekicks for minor fouls before play went into one added minute, during which some head tennis in the Darlington box ended with the ball dropping for Miller but he skied his shot over the bar.

Darlington could count themselves unfortunate to be trailing at the interval.


The second half, like the first, started quietly, as the players laboured under a hot sun (50 mins). Things improved a little with a good Gillies run but he finished with a wild shot, wide of goal. Darlington were on the front foot as Alty had not yet got going after the interval. But from an Alty freekick 20 yards from goal, for which Brown was booked, a well-struck Lawrie freekick was met with a flying save from Jameson (54 mins).

In the 56th minute, Hobson came on for Reeves and, a minute later, Portas and Hardy replaced Purewal and Cartman. After this, Hannigan protested as Hardy was generously awarded a corner, after which Mitchell fired narrowly over the bar.

Alty came to life thanks to a Lawrie run on the counter attack. He fed Hobson who located Miller, but he shot just wide (63 mins). Next, Richman replaced Miller (65 mins). However, Darlington went closer as Hardy hit the sidenetting from left of goal.

After 70 minutes, Nowakowski came on for Mitchell and he joined Hardy up front for the visitors. After their lacklustre start to the half, Alty began to show a bit more attacking purpose and after 75 minutes, Lynch won a corner as he latched onto a loose ball. Lawrie took the corner from the left but Heathcote volleyed well over the bar at the back post.

Next, Richman did well to win the ball but the move ended with Lawrie shooting wide across goal (79 mins). Darlington protested when Scott went down in the box but they immediately won a corner on their right. From this, a bullet header from Burgess flew into the net to level the scores (80 mins).

From a good Lawrie freekick, the ball was half cleared to Heathcote who put what was a good chance over the bar (83 mins). Five minutes later, a foul on Patterson gave Lawrie a freekick from the left touchline. This hit a Darlo man at the back post, then struck the post. As Jameson dived to smother the ball he brought down Hobson to concede a penalty to Alty, which Moult hammered home to make it 2-1 (89 mins).

Following a Darlo corner, a minimum of four minutes of added time were announced. As those four minutes elapsed, Darlington won a penalty for a challenge by Hannigan in the box on Burgess. Galbraith rolled a low spot-kick into the net as Dawber went to his left (90+5 mins). As the game drifted on into a seventh added minute, Alty hearts were in their mouths as a Patterson challenge on Portas prompted strong but unsuccessful penalty appeals from the visitors.

In truth, Darlington well deserved their point. Altrincham generally defended well and worked hard all over the pitch but there was room for improvement on the attacking front, with Reeves getting little service during his hour on the pitch and, when at least three presentable chances did come, they were all skied over the bar.