Brown: No relaxing in final game

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

Darlington captain Gary Brown has promised there will be letting up this evening when Quakers complete a terrific season.

Brown will lift the Northern League trophy after the game with Guisborough Town at Heritage Park, the team’s 46th and final fixture of a campaign that saw Darlington clinch promotion on Saturday.

Their place in the Evo-Stik First Division North was assured with a 3-1 win over Team Northumbria, after which supporters and players alike celebrated the success.

“What went on there at the final whistle, that’s not Northern League football,” said Brown. “That sort of scene belongs in the Football League.

“The fans all season have been absolutely tremendous and we couldn’t have asked for a better ending. The fans deserved that as much as we did.”

The win was Quakers’ 20th of their 22 matches at Heritage Park and Brown wants to ensure that Darlington maintain their unbeaten record at ‘home’.

He said: “We’ve still got a job to do. We don’t want to be turning up and thinking that in 90 minutes time we’re picking up the trophy.

“If we muck up our unbeaten home record it would put a dampener on the night.

“I’d imagine there won’t be too many changes to the line-up – we want to finish this the way we started.”

Winning the Northern League title represents not only success for Darlington, but also a personal triumph for Brown, who admits that lifting the silverware will act as redemption having, until now, failed to win a trophy in senior football.

“This is the first trophy that I’ve won since junior football,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s a surreal feeling when you look at the quality of teams in the league, like Spennymoor, Whitley Bay and Ashington.

“I nearly won a trophy in Sunday football once, but I let the team down got sent off in the county cup final. That was two years ago, my last red card, and whenever I’m out with my pals I get reminded of it, so this is a massive relieve for me.

“It’ll be great for all the lads to lift the trophy and for me it’s going to be my biggest feat in football.

“I had a good FA Cup run with Blyth, but I got dropped for the third round - funnily enough by Harry Dunn who brought me here!”

Guisborough are tenth and are among the elite club of four to have defeated Darlington this season. A 4-1 success in September, when Brown was unavailable, was Quakers’ first loss of the campaign.

They’ve since also lost away to Newton Aycliffe, Team Northumbria and West Auckland, all of whom Darlington beat at Heritage Park.

* Last night there were around 100 tickets available at Quakers’ club shop, which is open today 1.30-4pm - anyone without one will not be admitted into Heritage Park. Kick-off is 7.45pm and the turnstiles and clubhouse will be open from 6pm.

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