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Twelve Angry Men: Darlington Report

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 20/03/2005

A ghostly afternoon in the gloomdome, with around 600 Darlings audible but barely visible down Mexico way. The floodlights shrank from view, the foghorn leghorns in the Pontoon bellowed out warnings to the passing ships, the tannoy played a fugue for the fog. Weird scenes inside the goldmine.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Reports > Darlington (h)

Grimsby Town 0 Darlington 1
19 Mar 2005, Coca Cola League 2

Town lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, as shown. Reddy played as a right winger type midfielder person, with Parkinson the leftist version. Life is very short and there’s no time - you can work out where everyone else was.

Dish of the Day has been terminated. It’s Player’s Tipples now or, if you read it on a Saturday night, tipply players. First up it’s Graham Rodger’s cappuccino, which is, err, a cappuccino. It’s getting all Delia now. What next? "How to suck eggs" by Positive John.

Darlington played in yellow shirts and white shorts. Mmm Armstrong: heard of him. Appleby: doesn’t he sell ice cream by the sea shore? Jonjo Dickman won the Cheltenham Gold Cup this week, didn’t he? And wasn’t Jason St’Juste Jack Duckworth’s pseudonym at the dating agency, or maybe Vidal Sassoon’s rival in London’s busy West End?

The referee was wearing suspiciously ostentatious boots, far too much flashing white for our liking.

1st half

The Darls kicked off towards the Pontoon without much fussiness or frippery. Town got the ball and Reddy ran riot, a sixty yard Riverdance, to be sure, through three, through four yellowmen. A fifth loomed, he checked inside, exchanged passes with Gritton and sighed along with the crowd as Clarke stepped in like an old-fashioned Peeler to stop all this nonsense.

The mist thickened, Town strangled Darlington from both sides now. Harrold a perfect foil, heading on, holding up, Gritton swirling, Reddy whirling, Parky perky, all Town attacking. Lovely. Ooh, close; aah, closer. A cross dippled, a cross dappled. Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye; Russell resplendent in electric blue. Pressure, no chances. Good start, nice.

Darlington had a method and slightly worrying it were too. Armstrong alone up front, supported by a legion of little scurriers; they broke quickly, they broke with purpose, often exposing the Town flanks. Russell, cheeky chappie, flashing punts to the unmarked winger on the right when everyone lined up on the left. Bull asleep, Convery crossed, Whittle necked the ball away. Warning.

Parkinson...won’t use his left foot. Dribbling, drabbling, the ball ankled away, Bull looped a cross back. Nurgh, far too high. Yay, Harrold climbed mountains and nodded back into the six yards box. Scrambled eggs with buttered scones for tea, a Town corner.

This is pretty fine, old-style Town attacking: mixing and matching, a bit of this, a bit of that, a clear and conscious attempt to avoid the lumpen lumping; even Williams was rolling the ball out. Even Whittle was trying to keep possession. Even!

A free kick to them? Why? Answers to FIFA please. The crowd were already grumbling about the referee for ignoring the Quaker goats. No, no, no sir, that’s misleading, not all the crowd, just the 4,000 Townites. Taken once, taken twice knocked high towards the centre of the penalty area, Williams remained in situ and some Town player headed it away to the right. The little hairdresser awaited, contorted his body and smooched a volley goalwards. The ball bibbled along the ground, avoiding legs with the grace of Bart Simpson on his skateboard. Cue the music. As the ball passed the final defender, Williams leapt like Homer. Cue the scream. The ball rolled across the withering Welshmen to his left and into the bottom corner; ST’JUSTE had scored, to the pleasure of his Darlington buds and the invisible army in the Osmond Stand. Ten minutes gone, first shot, first goal. No one was the least bit surprised.

Anthony Williams
John McDermott
Justin Whittle
Terrell Forbes
Ronnie Bull
Michael Reddy
Terry Flemingred card
Thomas Pinault
Andy Parkinson
Martin Grittonyellow card
Matt Harrold


Graham Hockless30 mins
Rob Jones
David Soames
Tony Crane
Glen Downey


Phil Taylor


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The report continues in Part Two.

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