Darlington relegated after 2-2 draw with Bath City

The Northern Echo: Darlington have been relegated to the Conference North Darlington have been relegated to the Conference North

DARLINGTON'S relegation was confirmed today in a cruel fashion at The Northern Echo Arena.

Anything other than a win would have consigned Quakers to the drop from the Conference, and they were on course for victory when they took a 2-0 lead against Bath City.

But bottom-of-the-table Bath grabbed two late goals to salvage a draw, leaving Craig Liddle’s side ten points from safety with three games to go.

He struck a glum figure after Scott Murray grabbed an 89th minute leveller, and the interim manager said afterwards that the manner of the game summed up the club’s season.

Their situation has looked bleak for the past few months and with the winless run continuing, many observers came to expect relegation.

But with struggling Newport to play on Tuesday and the season ending at home to already-relegated Kettering on April 28, there remained the tiniest glimmer of optimism.

Haydn Hollis bolstered lingering hopes when he put Darlington ahead on 34 minutes.

The centre-back found himself in the penalty area after going forward for an Arron Brown free-kick. It was not cleared, Adam Rundle played the ball back into the penalty area where Hollis, on loan from Notts County, took a touch before turning and shooting past Glyn Garner.

That was one of the few notable moments during a moderate first half lacking in incident.

That there was so little quality on show was no surprise given that the game was between the teams positioned 22nd and 24th in the Conference.

But Darlington had clearly been the better side, improving as the half wore on against the part-time opposition.

The second half was similar, though neither keeper seriously tested for lengthy spells, but what appeared to be a match-clinching second goal came on 81 minutes.

It was a smart strike too, Adam Rundle volleying home from inside the penalty area after meeting a cross by teenage winger Danny Lambert.

Lambert had just come on as substitute, replacing Neil Wainwright who was carrying a calf strain as was Paul Arnison who returned to the side at right-back.

The two-goal cushion meant victory looked assured and, with relegation rivals Newport and AFC Telford unable to win, the fight against the drop looked likely to continue.

But within two minutes of Rundle’s goal, Bath pulled one back through Alex Russell.

The ball fell kindly to him outside the penalty area and he connected well with a lob that drifted over Jordan Pickford’s head.

The goal rocked Darlington and invigorated Bath who sensed blood and they got it in the dying minutes.

Murray dribbled towards the back-peddling defence, cut inside from the left and delivered a low strike beyond Pickford to salvage a draw and sink Darlington.

That Murray celebrated the goal by running across with the width of the pitch to goad some home supporters appeared wholly unnecessary, and hardly the conduct expected of an experienced player.

But his reaction was not among Darlington’s major concerns on a sad day for the football club as they dropped into the Conference North for the first time.

Relegation has appeared the likely destination almost since the club entered administration in December, but that has not made it easier to take.

There remains three games to play and the next opportunity to end the winless run, which now stands at 18 matches, comes on Tuesday at Newport.

Goals: Hollis (34, 1-0), Rundle (81, 2-0); Russell (83, 2-1); Murray (89, 2-2)

Bookings: Broughton (69, foul), Keltie (85, foul)

Referee: Scott Duncan (Newcastle)

Attendance: 1,420

Darlington (4-4-2): Pickford; Brown, Arnison, Hollis, Ferguson; Wainwright (Lambert 76), McReady, Keltie, Rundle; Broughton, Bowman. Subs (not used): Nixon (gk), Barton

Bath City (4-4-2): Garner, Jones, Rollo (Stonehouse 66), Preece, Gallinagh, Russell, Canham, Cook (Murray 46), Connolly, Hogg, Watkins. Subs (not used): Simpson, Egan, Canham

Comments (21)

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7:26pm Sat 14 Apr 12

doonhamer says...

'Struggling Newport' ....... Get real, they drew at play off hopefuls York, whom they play in the F.A. Trophy final at Wembley in a couple of weeks. Eighteen games without a win and you still think Darlo have a chance of a victory. Your optimisim is commendable, but so was the Captain's of the Titanic.
'Struggling Newport' ....... Get real, they drew at play off hopefuls York, whom they play in the F.A. Trophy final at Wembley in a couple of weeks. Eighteen games without a win and you still think Darlo have a chance of a victory. Your optimisim is commendable, but so was the Captain's of the Titanic. doonhamer

8:47pm Sat 14 Apr 12

laughingboy51 says...

Well................
I knew it would all end in tears! Its a shame for all the genuine supporters who have been let down badly by owners, players and Darlington Council.............
.....
Well................ I knew it would all end in tears! Its a shame for all the genuine supporters who have been let down badly by owners, players and Darlington Council............. ..... laughingboy51

9:24pm Sat 14 Apr 12

leedsy says...

I see doonhamer is on again to stick the knife in.....only one thing to say "get a life" and I wonder who you are going to pick on next year.
I see doonhamer is on again to stick the knife in.....only one thing to say "get a life" and I wonder who you are going to pick on next year. leedsy

10:23pm Sat 14 Apr 12

doonhamer says...

leedsy wrote:
I see doonhamer is on again to stick the knife in.....only one thing to say "get a life" and I wonder who you are going to pick on next year.
Not sticking the knife in at all, just relating plain simple facts. If you find that hard to comprehend then I feel sorry for you. Far too many Darlo fans have been led up the garden path by Owners, Groups, Councillors and unfortunately the media, albeit unwittingly giving some false hope of a new dawn. The future of football in Darlington has but one chance, FACT.... and that is to liquidate and reform as a Phoenix club with no debt. There is no alternative, but there are none so blind as those that cannot see. So to clarify Leedsy, I HOPE to be watching the reborn club wherever they are playing and in whatever League they are in. Will you be doing the same or can you just offer inane criticisim and not offer constructive dialogue because of the ineptitude that your modicum of intelligence has bestowed upon you
[quote][p][bold]leedsy[/bold] wrote: I see doonhamer is on again to stick the knife in.....only one thing to say "get a life" and I wonder who you are going to pick on next year.[/p][/quote]Not sticking the knife in at all, just relating plain simple facts. If you find that hard to comprehend then I feel sorry for you. Far too many Darlo fans have been led up the garden path by Owners, Groups, Councillors and unfortunately the media, albeit unwittingly giving some false hope of a new dawn. The future of football in Darlington has but one chance, FACT.... and that is to liquidate and reform as a Phoenix club with no debt. There is no alternative, but there are none so blind as those that cannot see. So to clarify Leedsy, I HOPE to be watching the reborn club wherever they are playing and in whatever League they are in. Will you be doing the same or can you just offer inane criticisim and not offer constructive dialogue because of the ineptitude that your modicum of intelligence has bestowed upon you doonhamer

10:26pm Sat 14 Apr 12

grumpyoldpops says...

At least they went down fighting all credit to the lads and Craig Liddle
we will return
At least they went down fighting all credit to the lads and Craig Liddle we will return grumpyoldpops

10:45pm Sat 14 Apr 12

mrrealist says...

My friends, you miss the point. With the club in deep crisis, a ''crowd'' of 1420 simply will not do. Arena capacity 25000, meaning over 23000 empty seats. No future at the Arena. Craig Liddle was a journeyman footballer, no manager. Sir Bobby Charlton was a world class player, but a disaster at Preston North End. It does not follow that a player makes a manager. Leave the Arena, while there is still time.At this time it does no good to inhabit a fantasy land. Only citizens of the planet Zardos, will fail to recognise the mortal danger that the club is in.
My friends, you miss the point. With the club in deep crisis, a ''crowd'' of 1420 simply will not do. Arena capacity 25000, meaning over 23000 empty seats. No future at the Arena. Craig Liddle was a journeyman footballer, no manager. Sir Bobby Charlton was a world class player, but a disaster at Preston North End. It does not follow that a player makes a manager. Leave the Arena, while there is still time.At this time it does no good to inhabit a fantasy land. Only citizens of the planet Zardos, will fail to recognise the mortal danger that the club is in. mrrealist

10:57pm Sat 14 Apr 12

MSG says...

Perhaps Mrrealist can suggest where Darlo would play if they suddenly leave the arena?. Groundshare with Boro? Can't play at the RA, Bishop, West or Shildon as their grounds don't meet the standards required of the league we will be in. A new ground would take three years to plan, fund & build.
Yes a manager will be required , but how would Mrrealist pay this person with such stretched resources, that is why Liddle was promoted i.e. 2 roles for the price of one !!!
The problems are not as easy to resolve as Mrrealist seems to think thay are. He needs to wake up!!!
Perhaps Mrrealist can suggest where Darlo would play if they suddenly leave the arena?. Groundshare with Boro? Can't play at the RA, Bishop, West or Shildon as their grounds don't meet the standards required of the league we will be in. A new ground would take three years to plan, fund & build. Yes a manager will be required , but how would Mrrealist pay this person with such stretched resources, that is why Liddle was promoted i.e. 2 roles for the price of one !!! The problems are not as easy to resolve as Mrrealist seems to think thay are. He needs to wake up!!! MSG

11:06pm Sat 14 Apr 12

mrrealist says...

Wide-awake, thank you. what do you think will be the outcome of DFC staying at the Arena if they go to the NPL, which seems likely?
Wide-awake, thank you. what do you think will be the outcome of DFC staying at the Arena if they go to the NPL, which seems likely? mrrealist

11:46pm Sat 14 Apr 12

doonhamer says...

MSG wrote:
Perhaps Mrrealist can suggest where Darlo would play if they suddenly leave the arena?. Groundshare with Boro? Can't play at the RA, Bishop, West or Shildon as their grounds don't meet the standards required of the league we will be in. A new ground would take three years to plan, fund & build.
Yes a manager will be required , but how would Mrrealist pay this person with such stretched resources, that is why Liddle was promoted i.e. 2 roles for the price of one !!!
The problems are not as easy to resolve as Mrrealist seems to think thay are. He needs to wake up!!!
You are probably closer to the answer than you realise. A reformed club would start way down the Leagues, probably Wearside or Northern Second Division. Therefore grounds you mention give a lot of scope. Hard to swallow I know to see Darlo at this level, but Aldershot and Wimbledon came back from this and a fan base of 1200 or so would make the fledgling club the best supported in the North East at that level. Are we as fans and a community prepared to swallow that pill though, that is the question.
[quote][p][bold]MSG[/bold] wrote: Perhaps Mrrealist can suggest where Darlo would play if they suddenly leave the arena?. Groundshare with Boro? Can't play at the RA, Bishop, West or Shildon as their grounds don't meet the standards required of the league we will be in. A new ground would take three years to plan, fund & build. Yes a manager will be required , but how would Mrrealist pay this person with such stretched resources, that is why Liddle was promoted i.e. 2 roles for the price of one !!! The problems are not as easy to resolve as Mrrealist seems to think thay are. He needs to wake up!!![/p][/quote]You are probably closer to the answer than you realise. A reformed club would start way down the Leagues, probably Wearside or Northern Second Division. Therefore grounds you mention give a lot of scope. Hard to swallow I know to see Darlo at this level, but Aldershot and Wimbledon came back from this and a fan base of 1200 or so would make the fledgling club the best supported in the North East at that level. Are we as fans and a community prepared to swallow that pill though, that is the question. doonhamer

12:10am Sun 15 Apr 12

bishopman says...

I think MSG will find that Bishop's ground is, or is not far short, of Confrence North standards and certainly is Northern Premier League standard, so ground sharing could be an option.
I think MSG will find that Bishop's ground is, or is not far short, of Confrence North standards and certainly is Northern Premier League standard, so ground sharing could be an option. bishopman

8:59am Sun 15 Apr 12

manchester quakers says...

First of all a big thank you to Craig who didn't want the job but saw it through. I wish you all the best for the future. So at best it's Conference North next season, maybe Evostick (I didn't know they still made it) or a phoenix club. Worst case is no club at all so any of the above is preferable. Our core support is good for a non-league side. We have some talented youngsters who I hope will stay. If Lee wants a management job, give him a go. Beggars can't be choosers. Nobody could have done anything with our side post-Christmas. The 'strength' of our subs bench yesterday says it all. As ever I remain DTID.
First of all a big thank you to Craig who didn't want the job but saw it through. I wish you all the best for the future. So at best it's Conference North next season, maybe Evostick (I didn't know they still made it) or a phoenix club. Worst case is no club at all so any of the above is preferable. Our core support is good for a non-league side. We have some talented youngsters who I hope will stay. If Lee wants a management job, give him a go. Beggars can't be choosers. Nobody could have done anything with our side post-Christmas. The 'strength' of our subs bench yesterday says it all. As ever I remain DTID. manchester quakers

9:46am Sun 15 Apr 12

mrrealist says...

thank you bishopman for your input. this groundshare could be the saviour of DFC. If any fans of the quakers are feeling a false sense of superiority, tell them that the two blues won the amateur cup ten times. also tell them that in 1958 they supplied players to MUFC, after the disaster at Munich. I can only repeat that there is no long term future for the club at the Arena. This view is also shared by Craig Liddle. MSG please take note.
thank you bishopman for your input. this groundshare could be the saviour of DFC. If any fans of the quakers are feeling a false sense of superiority, tell them that the two blues won the amateur cup ten times. also tell them that in 1958 they supplied players to MUFC, after the disaster at Munich. I can only repeat that there is no long term future for the club at the Arena. This view is also shared by Craig Liddle. MSG please take note. mrrealist

10:35am Sun 15 Apr 12

stevegg says...

Disaster. Unless some harsh decions are now taken by the management, DFC will be wound up. Its no good burying their heads in the sand anymore hoping all will be alright. Its now crunch time, if they want DFC to survive then now is the time to make decisions which should have been taken long ago and may have averted the situation they are now in.
Disaster. Unless some harsh decions are now taken by the management, DFC will be wound up. Its no good burying their heads in the sand anymore hoping all will be alright. Its now crunch time, if they want DFC to survive then now is the time to make decisions which should have been taken long ago and may have averted the situation they are now in. stevegg

5:30pm Sun 15 Apr 12

DarloJon says...

What management? What decisions? The 'owners' just want to minimise losses and don't give a **** about the club / fans / town. Craig Liddle is one of the few who can walk away from this disaster with any pride. Without much help or resources, he managed to scrape a team together to fulfil the fixtures. Many people also tried in their own small way to save the club, but rather than let their hard earned cash go into the pockets of the administrators and stadium owners, bite the bullet and start a new phoenix club, even if it means playing at the RA and starting in NPL Division 4.
What management? What decisions? The 'owners' just want to minimise losses and don't give a **** about the club / fans / town. Craig Liddle is one of the few who can walk away from this disaster with any pride. Without much help or resources, he managed to scrape a team together to fulfil the fixtures. Many people also tried in their own small way to save the club, but rather than let their hard earned cash go into the pockets of the administrators and stadium owners, bite the bullet and start a new phoenix club, even if it means playing at the RA and starting in NPL Division 4. DarloJon

10:25pm Sun 15 Apr 12

doonhamer says...

DarloJon wrote:
What management? What decisions? The 'owners' just want to minimise losses and don't give a **** about the club / fans / town. Craig Liddle is one of the few who can walk away from this disaster with any pride. Without much help or resources, he managed to scrape a team together to fulfil the fixtures. Many people also tried in their own small way to save the club, but rather than let their hard earned cash go into the pockets of the administrators and stadium owners, bite the bullet and start a new phoenix club, even if it means playing at the RA and starting in NPL Division 4.
Your so right DarloJon, it's our only hope of keeping football alive in Darlington
[quote][p][bold]DarloJon[/bold] wrote: What management? What decisions? The 'owners' just want to minimise losses and don't give a **** about the club / fans / town. Craig Liddle is one of the few who can walk away from this disaster with any pride. Without much help or resources, he managed to scrape a team together to fulfil the fixtures. Many people also tried in their own small way to save the club, but rather than let their hard earned cash go into the pockets of the administrators and stadium owners, bite the bullet and start a new phoenix club, even if it means playing at the RA and starting in NPL Division 4.[/p][/quote]Your so right DarloJon, it's our only hope of keeping football alive in Darlington doonhamer

7:15am Mon 16 Apr 12

Ian James says...

Their here, their there, their every f-----g where, EMPTY SEATS!! EMPTY SEATS!! LOL. Good owld Darlo, they never let you down to disappoint, do they!! At least the fans have sum crackin, local, derby matches to local forward to watchin such as, Workington n Whitby Town!! I think they'll love it!! lol.
Their here, their there, their every f-----g where, EMPTY SEATS!! EMPTY SEATS!! LOL. Good owld Darlo, they never let you down to disappoint, do they!! At least the fans have sum crackin, local, derby matches to local forward to watchin such as, Workington n Whitby Town!! I think they'll love it!! lol. Ian James

7:51am Mon 16 Apr 12

doonhamer says...

Ian James wrote:
Their here, their there, their every f-----g where, EMPTY SEATS!! EMPTY SEATS!! LOL. Good owld Darlo, they never let you down to disappoint, do they!! At least the fans have sum crackin, local, derby matches to local forward to watchin such as, Workington n Whitby Town!! I think they'll love it!! lol.
Just the sort of comment from some of the uneducated numpties that have no love for Darlo, spew out. Darlo v WORKINGTON a derby..!!!!!!!!! just like Leeds v Manchester City I suppose cos that's even closer together. Go back to sleep.
[quote][p][bold]Ian James[/bold] wrote: Their here, their there, their every f-----g where, EMPTY SEATS!! EMPTY SEATS!! LOL. Good owld Darlo, they never let you down to disappoint, do they!! At least the fans have sum crackin, local, derby matches to local forward to watchin such as, Workington n Whitby Town!! I think they'll love it!! lol.[/p][/quote]Just the sort of comment from some of the uneducated numpties that have no love for Darlo, spew out. Darlo v WORKINGTON a derby..!!!!!!!!! just like Leeds v Manchester City I suppose cos that's even closer together. Go back to sleep. doonhamer

9:39am Mon 16 Apr 12

cromwell1599 says...

They couldn't have "derbies" against Workington AND Whitby, they are in different divisions. A more likely prospect would be Whitby and Kendal.
They couldn't have "derbies" against Workington AND Whitby, they are in different divisions. A more likely prospect would be Whitby and Kendal. cromwell1599

2:45pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Quakerz says...

Why is everyone taking it for granted that Darlo will end up in the NPL? Do you all know something that I don't?

Also, groundsharing with bishop...yeah it may be NPL standard but a couple of problems 1) it only holds 1,900 and Darlo regularly get bigger crowds than that, and certainly will if they're winning regularly, which means we'd lose out on vital income on important days when we could have got 3,4,5,000 and 2) it isn't BSN or BSP standard, who would pay for the ground improvements, Darlo? If we're going to end up paying out just to stand still, might as well pay out on the Arena and try and make it work
Why is everyone taking it for granted that Darlo will end up in the NPL? Do you all know something that I don't? Also, groundsharing with bishop...yeah it may be NPL standard but a couple of problems 1) it only holds 1,900 and Darlo regularly get bigger crowds than that, and certainly will if they're winning regularly, which means we'd lose out on vital income on important days when we could have got 3,4,5,000 and 2) it isn't BSN or BSP standard, who would pay for the ground improvements, Darlo? If we're going to end up paying out just to stand still, might as well pay out on the Arena and try and make it work Quakerz

4:52pm Mon 16 Apr 12

laughingboy51 says...

Winning? oh! i remember now!
Winning? oh! i remember now! laughingboy51

6:23pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Quakerz says...

Do you?

I don't.
Do you? I don't. Quakerz

Comments are closed on this article.

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