Darlington 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 2

Goodbye Football League, hello Blue Square Premier, and now the clear-out begins.

Darlington completed their season on Saturday and this morning manager Simon Davey will make a statement of intent by dispensing with the services of those players he deems as simply not good enough.

Since being being appointed Davey has being overseeing an assessment period, one which ended at full-time on Saturday when Quakers slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge.

The Daggers secured a play-off spot thanks to a goal in each half of a scrappy game that was hardly the rousing send-off Darlington were looking for.

They bow of the League 19 seasons after promotion from the GM Vauxhall Conference and some of the stay-away fans turned up for the occasion, maybe through morbid fascination, as Quakers were backed by a healthy crowd of 2,710, including around 400 from Dagenham.

But as Darlington suffered their 17th home defeat few will have been enthused by a game of few chances.

Davey's side occasionally played decent football while winger Mark Convery among those doing his best to earn a new deal with a series of accurate crosses.

But they did not trouble keeper Tony Roberts until the 89th minute, when substitute Dan Groves had a shot saved.

Supporters should not be too damning in their verdict, however, because most of Saturday's line-up, aside from the four youth team players, will not be at the club next season as Davey overhauls the squad.

One-by-one he will today call the squad into his office and to many will deliver an Alan Sugar-style 'you're fired', a task some supporters would relish.

They'd perhaps find it a cathartic process, helping to unload the frustration that has pent up during the last nine hellish months, and it is a task that Davey not does fear.

He said: “It's not nice, but it's just part of my job and I have to be ruthless. They don't know who's going but a lot of them will have an idea.

“It's harder telling the kids, it's harder telling a YTS that he's not going to get a professional contract.

“We did that recently and that was a difficult day. With senior players, it's part and parcel of being a footballer and they live and die by their performances.”

At the final whistle Dagenham celebrated their play-off spot on the pitch, just as they did at The Northern Echo Arena two years ago when a win saved their League status.

But, perhaps it was down to nerves, they did not look like a promotion-chasing side.

After a nondescript first half an hour, they took the lead on 31 minutes when Jon Nurse headed home from a Danny Green corner after climbing above Alan White.

White now returns to Luton Town where he has a year remaining on his contract,

The 34-year-old was partnered at centre-back by Dan Burn, a youth team player called on to replace Ian Miller who was unable to play due to a hernia problem.

Unfortunately the teenager was turned on the touchline by striker Paul Benson who delivered the cross for Dagenham's second, Josh Scott turning in from close-range on 75 minutes.

“Both goals were mistakes, they didn't carve us open,” said Davey. “The first one from a free header in the box and the second goal one after a mistake by a young lad who will learn from. He's got a good future, he's only a first-year YTS.

“At times the performance wasn't bad and we finished the game with four YTS boys on the pitch which is pleasing and they all performed admirably.”

The other youth team players were midfielder John McReady and strikers Jordan Marshall and Michael Smith.

But Davey does not expect to call on them so regularly next season as he intends to bring in plenty of new faces ready for Darlington's assault on the Blue Square Premier.

“Unfortunately we finished off the season with a defeat but I'm glad it's all over,” he added. “We can now rebuild and start getting ready for next year.

“What it's about now is my retained list on Monday and the players I recruit for next season to try make sure we bounce back.

“It's been a terrible season for everyone concerned. Myself and Ryan Kidd have come in at a late stage, we've put smiles on a few faces and brought the optimism back to the club, now we have to carry that into the summer.

“It's going to be a busy summer but that's what it's all about for a manager. Now is the time when I earn my wages.”

Match facts


0-1: Nurse (31, close-range header after meeting Green’s corner)

0-2: Scott (75, tapped in Benson’s ball from the right)

Bookings: White (21, dissent); Arber (36, foul), Green (42, foul)

Referee: David Webb (County Durham) – Had to get his book out three times in the first half but had a comparatively quiet second period 7

Attendance: 2,720

Entertainment: ✰✰


6 Liversedge: Showed quick reflexes to save from Benson at the near post in first half;

6 Arnison: Steady performance but almost gifted Daggers a goal with a wayward pass

6 White: Was beaten to the ball when attempting to defend at a corner for the first goal

5 Burn: Too easily beaten by Benson in build-up to second goal

6 Milne: No real errors in what was his last game for the club on loan from Leeds;

5 Mulligan: Did not feature hugely and no surprise when substituted

6 Dempsey: Saw plenty of the ball in his own half

6 McReady: Not as effective as at Macclesfield but showed some occasional nice touches

5 G Smith: Played with an ankle injury and it showed as he struggled to make a positive impact

7 CONVERY: Delivered plenty of accurate crosses which weren’t taken advantage of;

5 M Smith: The 18-year-old had a tough job playing on his own up front Subs

Groves (for G Smith 67): Had a shot saved late on but found it difficult to make an impact 5

Marshall (for Mulligan 70): The 16- year-old saw little of the ball 5

(not used): Thompson (gk), Bower, Madden


Roberts 6; Ogogo 6, Doe 6, Arber 6, McCory 5; Green 7, Vincelot 6, Gain 6, Nurse 7 (Currie 83); Benson 7, Scott 7. Subs (not used): Lewington, Uddin, Montgomery, Thomas, Tajan- Sie, Walsh


MARK Convery – Buzzed around the pitch in a determined effort to impress Davey.