Darlo 1 Lincoln City 0
by Scott Thornberry - 2nd September 2009
Darlington fans have forgotten that winning feeling but on Tuesday night we, well 828 of us, were reminded of it and also were witness to a display which certainly provided a lot of encouragement for the future.
After recent crowds of sub 2000 it was always going to be a low turnout, and it certainly turned out that way with the third lowest crowd in The Quakers history.
Colin Todd was only permitted to make four changes to the squad that played on Saturday and four changes he made. In came Mark Convery, Paul Arnison, Matt Plummer and Lee Thorpe. I will be honest, I am struggling to work out who is who on the pitch so these changes confused things further.
Lincoln City had the best of the opening chances with Paul Connor being provided with the best opportunity, fortunately David Knight was on hand to quickly close down the shot.
Darlo were showing some good promising signs as they worked the ball through midfield with pace, accuracy and invention. One of these moves provided Darlington with the winning goal. Mark Convery, who whipped in many crosses during the course, sent in a low cross to the six yard area. Former Imps forward Lee Thorpe attached his foot onto the cross and volleyed home his first goal for Darlo.
Darlington were comfortable throughout the game but had to be alert on several occasions when lapses in defence gifted Lincoln the odd opportunity. Rene Howe should have done better when he was through one on one, but David Knight was quick off his line and blocked his powerful effort and it was away to safety.
Darlington carried on in the second half as they had done in the first, in control. Some lovely flowing football carried on even after Todd made several changes. On came Jeff Smith and David Dowson and chances continued.
In the final minutes David Dowson cut inside to send a thunderous 25 yard drive towards goal. The keeper had to be on hand to tip the ball over the bar, souped up on his save he then felt the need to go and charge towards one of his defenders and barge into him to complain about the apparent lack of defending. This lead to a bit of fistycuffs which was quite bizarre really but shows the frustration in the Lincoln camp at the moment.
At the final whistle it was greeted with cheers, obviously, we deservedly got our first victory of the season and also our first clean sheet. Now lets just hope we can do the same at Sincil Bank this Saturday as I am sure in reality we would prefer the three points than the next round of the JPT.
Goals: Thorpe (27, 1-0).
Bookings: Clarke, (20, foul), Hone (55, foul); Arnison (74, foul), Thorpe (80, foul).
Referee: Mark Haywood (Manchester) 6.
Darlington (4-4-2): Knight 6, Arnison 6, Plummer 7, Miller 6, Bower 7, Convery 6 (Bains 87), G Smith 7, CHANDLER 8, Porritt 6 (J Smith 75); Thorpe 7, Gall 7 (Dowson 75). Subs (not used): Liversedge (gk), Bennett Lincoln(4-4-2): Burch 5, Hughton 5, Swaibu 5, Hone 6, Brown 5; Hutchinson 4, Clarke 5, Kerr 4, Clucas 4 (Fagan 63, 5), Howe 4 (John-Lewis 63, 5), Connor. Subs (not used): Musselwhite (gk), Coleman-Carr, Miller.