Barnet 3 Darlington 0

DURING the long journey home on Saturday, as Darlington picked over the bones of their unjust defeat, they will have been wondering “how did that happen?”

Central to their thoughts will have been their numerous missed scoring chances – eight of them, according to frustrated manager Steve Staunton.

He saw his side gain a huge boost by collecting their first victory of the season the previous weekend against Shrewsbury, and on Saturday watched Quakers waste an opportunity to win again.

Before Barnet scored three in the second half, Darlington could easily have built such a lead before the break.

Most culpable were striker Simon Thomas and debutant midfielder David Davis, who failed to make the most of their opportunities against a team with an unbeaten home record.

Darlington will have another chance to end that run a week on Saturday after yesterday being drawn away to Barnet in the first round of the FA Cup.

The tie should act as an incentive to put right what went wrong on Saturday.

“We had eight chances, clear-cut chances,” reflected Staunton. “Barnet had chances too, but I felt they were more half chances, goalmouth scrambles and long shots. Goals change games but we didn’t get any.

“Their keeper made a save, at 1-0, that I don’t think he knew anything about. It’s all ifs and buts now.

“We had worked on a few things in training and they came off in the first half, but Simon he was unlucky. He did all the right things but couldn’t finish.

“The pleasing thing is that we’re creating good chances, if we weren’t we’d be in a hell of a state.”

That’s what Darlington were in before Staunton and assistant Kevin Richardson arrived. The table indicates that they still are, with Quakers bottom on five points, six adrift off third bottom Torquay United. And the result equalled the worst of the season, 3-0 at Lincoln City.

But Saturday’s showing was a huge improvement on that at Lincoln, and on most of the season’s early displays when Quakers struggled to create three chances, never mind miss them.

The first two came in the first 16 minutes. Thomas curled the ball wide after cutting in from the right, then Davis broke the offside trap but spooned the ball over the bar when he had only the keeper to beat.

Davis’ inclusion was one of four changes Staunton was forced to make to the side which played so well against Shrewsbury.

New striker James Collins was another debutant, while goalkeeper Liversedge">Nick Liversedge made his first league start and youth team product Corey Barnes was on the right of midfield. But the upheaval did not adversely affect Darlington before the break.

Despite kicking up Barnet’s notoriously steep slope, they caused the hosts plenty of problems. But Thomas wasted a second good chance after the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the penalty area, blasting his low shot narrowly wide.

Quakers could have done without half-time as after the break they lost their momentum and the chances dried up.

So it was not a complete surprise when defender Ismail Yakubu made it 1-0 on 62 minutes.

Following a corner, Yannick Bolasie’s cross to the far post was headed past Liversedge, and soon afterwards Darlington knew it was not going to be their day when Collins’ effort, after meeting Paul Arnison’s whipped-in cross, was blocked by unwitting keeper Jake Cole.

They never again looked likely to equalise, with goals from Nicky Deverdics and Bolasie sealing the points in the last ten minutes.

Bolasie scored the third after beating Arnison to the ball when Jake Hyde pulled the ball back from the byline, but the match-clinching second was typical of Darlington’s luck as Deverdics benefited from a questionable offside decision.

He latched on to Albert Adomah’s through ball before slotting past Liversedge and it summed up Quakers’ day.

Not only did they miss chances before the break but they also lost defender Ian Miller through injury.

He was momentarily knocked out by Paul Furlong after challenging for a high ball and had to be substituted, meaning Darlington’s only ever-present player failed to complete a game for the first time this season.

Staunton added: “I thought it was a game of two halves and we dominated the first half. I told the players at halftime that Barnet were going to come at us in the second half, which they did.

“We failed to get on top of the game in the second half.

We didn’t pass the ball as well as we had done.

“We know the position that we’re in and now we have to go to Hereford next week and make sure we get something.”

Match facts


1-0: Yakubu (62, deft header at far post following Bolasie’s left-wing cross)

2-0: Deverdics (80, low finish past Liversedge after collecting Adomah ball through the middle)

3-0: Bolasie (82, slid home after meeting Jake Hyde’s ball from the byline)

Bookings: Furlong (15, foul); Collins (31, foul); M Hyde (55, foul); Davis (76, foul)

Referee: Steve Bratt (Walsall) – Waved play on when he shouldn’t have done and awarded fouls when he shouldn’t have 4

Attendance: 2,313

Entertainment: ✰✰✰

BARNET (4-4-2): Cole 6; Devera 6, Yakubu 7, Breen 7, Gillet 5; Adomah 7, Hughes 6, M Hyde 5 (Deverdics 60, 7), BOLASIE 7; O’Flynn 5 (J Hyde 60, 7), Furlong 4. Subs (not used): Carpenter (gk), O’Neill, Jarrett, Kamdjo, Deen


7 Liversedge: Could not be held to account for any of the goals in his first league start; 6

Arnison: Delivered some fine crosses from the right when venturing forward 7

FOSTER: Kept a tight grip on Furlong, ensured he saw little of the ball

7 Miller: Being knocked unconscious brought his game to a premature end

6 Barnett: Two of the goals came down his flank, though he was not assisted by Smith;

6 Barnes: Not used in his best position but showed some nice touches

7 Chandler: Tried to stamp his authority but prevented from tackling by a busy Bratt

6 Davis: Showed some promise on his debut but wasted a great scoring chance

5 J Smith: Found it difficult to get into the game and subbed in second half;

6 Thomas: Missed two excellent chances before the break

6 Collins: Wrongly called offside in the first half on decent debut


Plummer (for Miller 29): An able deputy for Miller 6 Main (for J Smith 73) Convery (for Barnes 80) (not used): Knight (gk), Bennett, Groves


YANNICK Bolasie – Scored one and set one up.