Coopers Quakers get their oats
09 November 2010
On the back of their superb FA Cup victory over Crewe on Saturday, Des Lyttle's Lambs travelled north to face Mark Cooper's FA Cup heroes, who defeated Bristol Rovers to book their place in the Second Round Proper.
Richard Tait was ruled out due to a five game haul of bookings, so Jay Smith, back from his one match suspension took to the field in the only change from the weekend.
It was also the final game for James Severn who would be returning to Derby with Ross Atkins due to return on Saturday for the visit of Gateshead.
Darlington had dropped admission prices for the match to just a fiver, in a bid to get more through the turnstiles in their MASSIVE stadium which was quickly living up to its reputation as the coldest ground in the UK.
The Quakers got the match underway with Tamworth attacking the empty end to the left of the press box. At the other end, Severn had a solitary flag behind him and the small band of travelling Lambs huddled in one section of seats as the fine rain came down through roof.
Tamworth were lining up in a 4-5-1 formation with Bradley at right back and everyone else pretty much as you'd expect from recent run outs.
An early clash saw MacKenzie need treatment off the field but came back on and home keeper Russell got his first touch of the ball on 3.
The offside flag ruled out a chance for Darlo on 5 after Severn had been forced to punch clear and the shouts from the Lambs fans rang out around the ground.
Barrow launched a long throw into the area on 8 but MacKenzie saw his half volley cleared and Barrow then won a corner with a deflected cross which Oakes took left footed and Wylde nodded it back towards the near post, but it was wide of the mark despite being the right height.
Russell rolled a goalkick almost to the half way line on 12 but a foul by Perry as the ball was cleared set up the home side with a half chance with was put away from danger.
Severn made a bread and butter save from Senior on 15 as the ball rolled towards him from a weak shot from 10 yards and the Lambs countered, keeping the ball in the opposition half, however the home side did some attacking of their own and on 17 Miller crossed from the right for Hatch who floated a header onto the roof of the net.
Thomas sent in a teasing cross on 19 which was headed away and MacKenzie's follow up volley from 20 yards almost, but not quite, cleared the roof of the main stand which would have been some feat...
Another Thomas cross was ball watched by the home defence on 22 allowing MacKenzie to nip in but it was eventually cleared and the move broke down.
Darlington pushed forward quickly but Senior's header from the whipped in left wing cross was misdirected and went harmlessly well wide of the mark.
A superb run by Bradley took him round a number of players and into the box but his final shot was cut out on 27 and Thomas followed up with a low shot which went just wide and into the side netting.
The referee gave another talking to another Darlo player on 32 after Perry had been wrestled to the ground on the half way line but refrained from showing any cards just yet as MacKenzie fired the ball into the box and although it was cleared, it eventually came back to him but his shot drifted wide.
Smith and Perry tried to tee up shots shortly after but a brave stop by the home defence prevented a clear shot or sight at goal, and then a freekick was conceded inside the Lambs half. Bridge-Wilkinson floated it into the area and it found it's way into the back of the net via the head of Hone who saw his effort drop over Severn and into the far corner. (0-1, 35 mins)
Perry tangled again with Hatch on the halfway line and then Brough bore the brunt of a Smith challenge as the ball ran free resulting in a booking for The Lambs captain.
A good passing move from one side to the other allowed Bradley to fire at the target but with a defender coming in his shot was a snapped one and curled way off the mark on 45 as two minutes added time was shown at the end of the half and despite a couple of forays forwards the home side held the advantage at the break.
Tamworth kicked off the second period but the home side quickly gained possession and kept The Lambs penned back in the early exchanges which then turned into a midfield stalemate.
Perry talked himself into the book on 52 putting him out on Saturday v Gateshead (having accrued 5) following a foul and the same player directed a header goalwards on 57 but Russell was equal to it before being replaced by Lake-Gaskin two minutes later.
Bradley then felled Senior on the hour giving Bridge-Wilkinson a dead ball shot at goal which went wide of the mark.
With announcement that approximately nine out of every ten seats in the arena were empty, and the majority of the noise still coming from the Lambs faithful Thomas curled a shot from 20 yards around and outside of the right hand upright with 20 to go.
Shortly after, a slip by Wylde in the middle of the park allowed Bridge-Wilkinson to pass to Miller on the right wing and his pass found a centrally placed Hatch who struck the ball far enough wide not to trouble Severn.
MacKenzie then got a lecture from Mr. Clark following a foul on the right win and Severn made a superb save to dent Hatch as he followed the ball into the area from Brown's freekick.
Severn tipped the bouncing goal bound ball over the bar for a corner which came out to Louis who saw his shot deflect and spin out for another corner which Mitchell headed away.
Sheridan and Wilkinson came on for Oakes and Sheridan with just under 15 to go as Louis headed strongly at Severn who was well positioned to take the ball at chest height.
The Lambs now shaped p in a more conventional 4-4-2 formation but roles were interchangeable as they went in search of something from the game as the last ten minute came into view.
On 85 Lake-Gaskin forced Russell to tip a driven rising shot over the bar from 12 yards and Smith's corner was headed behind at the far post by Miller for another on the opposite side which Russell punched away for a throw on the other side!
Bradley's throw made its way back to Thomas and although the ball ended up in the net via a deflection and prod home the offside flag had already been waived so the Lambs had no choice but to try and find another way through with just three minutes remaining.
Hatch had to be replaced as 5 minutes stoppage time was indicated and Sheridan strayed just offside from Wylde's flicked header over the Quakers defence.
The home side obviously wanted to play keep ball by the corners to run the clock down and both Bradley and Sheridan were booked for protesting what they saw as time wasting on 94 and despite a last push forward a foul and a Lambs offiside allowed some more time to pass and the final whistle blew on victory for the home side after the seven minute of added time ended.
Severn, Oakes (Sheridan 76), Wylde, Mitchell, Smith J, MacKenzie (Wilkinson 76), Perry (Lake-Gaskin 59), Rodman, Thomas, Bradley, Barrow
Subs: Marshall, Connor
Yellow Cards: Smith 43, Perry 52, Sheridan 90, Bradley 90
Darlington 1883 Team:
Russell, Brough, Miller, Hatch (Arnison 90), Senior (Louis 71), Moore, Hone, Smith G, Brown, Bridge-Wilkinson
Subs: Waite, Main (Wright 66), Gray
Referee: R.M. Clark