Agony for Darlington as Crewe score late winner

HOME WOE: Darlington’s Lee Thorpe holds off two Crewe defenders

HOME WOE: Darlington’s Lee Thorpe holds off two Crewe defenders

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Sports Editor

Darlington 0 Crewe Alexandra 1

COLIN Todd handed debuts to three players but a late goal condemned Darlington to a harsh defeat against Crewe Alexandra last night.

In front of the lowest crowd for a league game at The Northern Echo Darlington Arena, Jordan Cook, Nathan Porritt and Rikki Bains all made their bows.

But Calvin Zola rammed home a loose ball in the 87th minute to leave Quakers stunned and pointless after three matches.

The attendance of 1,821, including 173 from Crewe, comfortably beat the stadium’s previous low of 2,180. It was the club’s lowest league gate since a match at Feethams 11 years ago.

But the few that did attend appeared set to see Quakers collect a deserved first point of the campaign.

But Zola popped up after Darlington were unable to sufficiently clear a Billy Jones corner, meaning Colin Todd’s side have now lost all three home games by a solitary goal.

But the performance was an improvement on the weekend defeat to Bury.

“I feel sorry for the players because we matched Crewe, who I think will be near the top at the end of the season, but we lacked that little bit of quality in the final third,”

said Todd rested captain Steve Foster and replaced him with Matt Plummer while Chris Lumsdon and Jeff Smith were dropped.

“We had tempo and we had energy but we are lacking in the final third.

“It’s a cruel game. I’m not saying we deserved to win, but I feel we deserved something from the game.

“I threw Porritt and Cook in and they haven’t trained with us yet so it was never going to be easy, but I think everybody came out of the game with credit.”

Todd last night revealed he expects to sign former Carlisle forward Kevin Gall in time to make his debut at Port Vale on Saturday.

But it was Cook who made a surprise debut last night after joining on loan from Sunderland yesterday.

Cook and Porritt were Quakers’ widemen, but in a tentative first half neither side appeared capable of creating chances and it took Todd’s side until the 30th minute to cause Crewe problems.

Railwaymen defender Harry Worley almost put through his own net when cutting out a David Dowson pass into the danger area.

Porritt flashed a shot over and Gary Smith pulled an effort well wide as half chances began to come, but the visitors ended the period on top.

Following good work by the impressive Joel Grant, Aman Verma’s venomous rising drive from distance brought a good save from David Knight.

But soon after the keeper charged out of his penalty, clattered into Plummer just as the defender cleared.

At the break Bains came on at right-back for Paul Arnison who limped off with a hamstring strain.

Arnison had been captain the so the armband was passed to Ian Miller and he began as skipper by executing a superbly-timed tackle in the penalty area on Byron Moore.

By that stage Darlington striker Lee Thorpe had twice attempted powerful attempts at goal, the first saved by keeper Dave Button, but neither came as close to opening the scoring as Zola’s 25-yard strike.

It whacked off Quakers’ woodwork and back into play, and Darlington were able to clear.

Porritt saw an effort from a narrow angle roll wide and Gary Smith lashed wide during a productive period.

But just as a point appeared likely, with just three minutes to go Zola lashed past Knight to steal all three points.

Matchfacts

Goal: Zola (0-1, 87)
Booking
: Bower (foul, 19)
Referee
: Jock Waugh (Sheffield) 7
Attendance
: 1,821
Entertainment
: ✰✰

DARLINGTON (4-4-2): Knight 6; Arnison 6 (Bains 46, 6), PLUMMER 7, Miller 7, Bower 6; Cook 6 (J Smith 58), Chandler 7, G Smith 6, Porritt 6; Dowson 6 (Main 71), Thorpe 6. Subs (not used): Liversedge (gk), Bennett, Lumsdon, Windass

CREWE ALEXANDRA (4-3-3): Button 6; Brayford 6, Mitchell-King 6, Worley 7, Jones 7; Ada 5, Schumacher 7, Verma 5; Moore 5 (Elding 79), Zola 7, GRANT 7 (Donaldson 71). Subs (not used): Legdzins, Miller, Murphy, Westwood, Davis

MAN OF THE MATCH
MATT Plummer – did not look out of place as Foster’s replacement

Comments (8)

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11:54pm Tue 18 Aug 09

seaspring says...

Looks like they have started in their normal mode of giving the game away at the end of the match.Is it surprising that the crowds are low? Raj singh must be wishing he had put his money somewhere else. Best thing would have to let the team go and not have one. Then we would no longer be the local laughing stock
Looks like they have started in their normal mode of giving the game away at the end of the match.Is it surprising that the crowds are low? Raj singh must be wishing he had put his money somewhere else. Best thing would have to let the team go and not have one. Then we would no longer be the local laughing stock seaspring
  • Score: 0

9:20am Wed 19 Aug 09

neilj_dafts says...

Half of the team last night were new loan players and bairns at that.

There was no chance yet to get a full team up to speed, when it's main attacking components weren't there for weeks of preseason training.

The "administration" didn't just have consequences for last season, but Darlo have had bad starts before & been amongst the runners at the end.

With Gary Smith we may have a new Gary Bannister as a midfield playmaker, so I can see the kids working well around him.

The next 5 results could be the acid test of how the season will go.

The "stay-aways" knew we only had a makeshift team, that wouldn't get anywhere without extra bodies & pace, but maybe Darlo will be the real deal if the kids can get bedded in
Half of the team last night were new loan players and bairns at that. There was no chance yet to get a full team up to speed, when it's main attacking components weren't there for weeks of preseason training. The "administration" didn't just have consequences for last season, but Darlo have had bad starts before & been amongst the runners at the end. With Gary Smith we may have a new Gary Bannister as a midfield playmaker, so I can see the kids working well around him. The next 5 results could be the acid test of how the season will go. The "stay-aways" knew we only had a makeshift team, that wouldn't get anywhere without extra bodies & pace, but maybe Darlo will be the real deal if the kids can get bedded in neilj_dafts
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Wed 19 Aug 09

Tony Daniels says...

Considering this is a makeshift team, Darlo's performance in the second half was a good enough to earn at least a draw or just shade it. Defeat was a cruel blow after the effort the team had put in. But that old adage still stands, if you don't score goals you don't win games.
However, slowly, they are improving and I'm confident that things will get better. I certainly felt better about the football last night than I did on Saturday. The trouble is there's still no drive up front and no one managing the mid-field.

What can be done to get more bums on seats remains a mystery? I still maintain that watching a live game, even at League 2 level, is better than lying out on the sofa in front of televised game.
Considering this is a makeshift team, Darlo's performance in the second half was a good enough to earn at least a draw or just shade it. Defeat was a cruel blow after the effort the team had put in. But that old adage still stands, if you don't score goals you don't win games. However, slowly, they are improving and I'm confident that things will get better. I certainly felt better about the football last night than I did on Saturday. The trouble is there's still no drive up front and no one managing the mid-field. What can be done to get more bums on seats remains a mystery? I still maintain that watching a live game, even at League 2 level, is better than lying out on the sofa in front of televised game. Tony Daniels
  • Score: 0

3:29pm Wed 19 Aug 09

billysaid says...

well,well well. seaspring of course is correct in statement. what a laughing stock they are. thats darlo they start as they mean to go on !!,,by losing. i too bet raj singh is wondering why he bothered,,maybe its a good loss against taxes !!, cos its a loss at everything else...lol.
well,well well. seaspring of course is correct in statement. what a laughing stock they are. thats darlo they start as they mean to go on !!,,by losing. i too bet raj singh is wondering why he bothered,,maybe its a good loss against taxes !!, cos its a loss at everything else...lol. billysaid
  • Score: 0

8:42pm Wed 19 Aug 09

dave427 says...

to get bums on seats the club needs to bite the bullet and cut the admission fee by half. the cost of this can come out of the profits to be gained from developing the land along the A66, this may take some time(the profit I mean)but at least this very new squad will get more support in the Arena as they improve results throughout September and October.
to get bums on seats the club needs to bite the bullet and cut the admission fee by half. the cost of this can come out of the profits to be gained from developing the land along the A66, this may take some time(the profit I mean)but at least this very new squad will get more support in the Arena as they improve results throughout September and October. dave427
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Thu 20 Aug 09

dell12345 says...

I agree with dave427, the cost of admission £18.00, to park at the stadium £5.00 is far too much. Then if you buy a pint, a pie, a program, it can turn expensive for a day out. And if you have a family, not everyone can afford that. Also my friend is a season ticket holder at Sunderland and says you can watch them play for around £23.00. So come on DO something about it. Oh and " billysaid ", change the record ya pond life...!
I agree with dave427, the cost of admission £18.00, to park at the stadium £5.00 is far too much. Then if you buy a pint, a pie, a program, it can turn expensive for a day out. And if you have a family, not everyone can afford that. Also my friend is a season ticket holder at Sunderland and says you can watch them play for around £23.00. So come on DO something about it. Oh and " billysaid ", change the record ya pond life...! dell12345
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Thu 20 Aug 09

billysaid says...

lol,,,pay your £18 to watch paint dry. and dell if you cant afford it,,then i suggest you get a better paid job,,or do lots of overtime so you can pay to see your waste of time,part time players being clowns !!.....lol.
lol,,,pay your £18 to watch paint dry. and dell if you cant afford it,,then i suggest you get a better paid job,,or do lots of overtime so you can pay to see your waste of time,part time players being clowns !!.....lol. billysaid
  • Score: 0

10:56am Fri 21 Aug 09

Big_Phil says...

£18 is far, far too much for League Two football. Anyone who pays that much needs their head looking at.

Problem Darlo have is that £15-£20 is the going rate in League Two - and even if they reduced admission I'm not sure they'd get many more through the gate. We were only getting 3,000 last seaso with the club's best team in years.

The cost of car parking should be free - the council are to blame for that one, as they are for much that is wrong in this town.
£18 is far, far too much for League Two football. Anyone who pays that much needs their head looking at. Problem Darlo have is that £15-£20 is the going rate in League Two - and even if they reduced admission I'm not sure they'd get many more through the gate. We were only getting 3,000 last seaso with the club's best team in years. The cost of car parking should be free - the council are to blame for that one, as they are for much that is wrong in this town. Big_Phil
  • Score: 0

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