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Look back at TFC v Darlington Games

Thursday Oct 17, 2019

 Lambs and Darlington have locked horns on 9 previous occasions. 

 Darlington have a proud history in the Football League. They were part of the Football league set up from 1921 until they lost their place at the end of the 1988/89 season. Their stay in the Conference was short lived as former Villa player Brian Little lead them straight back into the Football League the following season. However, they were relegated back into the Conference at the end of the 2009/10 season. Tamworth and Darlington first locked horns in a Conference National Fixture on 9 November 2010 at the Darlington Arena where the home side, managed by former Lambs legend Mark Cooper, ran out 1 - 0 winners in front of a gate of 2625. Five weeks later Des Lyttle’s Lambs made the trip north again to face the Quakers in an FA Trophy game which saw the Lambs lose 3 - 2 in front of a much reduced crowd of just 477. The game had to be rearranged from 11th December due to a postponement caused by snow. Tamworth’s goal scorers on the evening were Alex Rodman and Jake Sheridan. Darlington went on to win the Trophy that season, beating Mansfield Town 1- 0 after extra time, the goal being scored just seconds before the game was due to go into penalties. The return league game played at the Lamb was a 1 - 1 draw. A crowd of 1034 turned up to see Michale Wylde grab a 90th minute equaliser for the Lambs.
 It was a sunny summer day the next time the teams met on 20 Aug 2011 for a Conference National Fixture and Tamworth, now managed by Marcus Law, grabbed their first victory over the Quakers. Iyseden Christie scored the all important goal from the penalty spot in the 81st minute in front of a gate of 977. Tamworth travelled north the Northern Echo Arena for the away game on 26th November 2011 and were on the receiving end of a 2 - 0 defeat. The attendance that day was 1752. A couple of weeks later Tamworth travelled north again and beat Gateshead in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup which saw us draw Everton in the 3rd round. For Darlington though it was sad news as they went into administration and lost their place in the Conference National. A supporters group took charge and the club was placed in the Northern League - a demotion of 4 levels. They also left the Northern Arena and ground shared with Bishop Auckland,
 With Darlington (known as Darlington 1883) working their way back up the pyramid, the next time the Lambs and Quakers locked horns was in a National League North fixture in the 2016-17 season.During this season Darlington were able to move back to their town to play home games as they arranged a ground share with Darlington Rugby Club at the Blackwell Meadows ground. Tamworth, managed by Andy Morrell won the home game that season 2 -1 in front of a crowd of 914 on bonfire night. Darlington took a 1 - 0 lead into the break but the Lambs fought back with 2 goals from Danny Newton. The game played at Blackwell Meadows in April ended in a 3 - 2 win for Darlington in front of a healthy sized crowd of 1696. Danny Newton and Ross Dyer were on the score sheet for Tamworth.
 The last two games played between the teams was in the 2017/18 season which also saw the club allowed to revert to their original name of Darlington FC. There was also a link between the two teams as Darlington’s manager Tommy Wright signed Tamworth’s leading goalscorer at the time, Reece Styche, in November ‘17. Talks with Styche were happening as the two clubs were due to play each other in the league on 18 November at Darlington and a buoyant Tamworth side came away with a 1 -0 victory without Styche in the side. Darryl Knights scored in the 72nd minute and the gate that day was 1296. Tamworth’s line up for the game was: Rowley, Burns, Morley, Deeney, Jones (c.), Lane, Upton, Fox, Reid (Taylor 69), Verma, Knights (Powell 81) Subs: Coulson, Shaw, Hayden.
 Mike Fowler was in charge for the final game played between the two teams on 13 March 2018 with the fixture ending up as a 0 - 0 draw in front of a crowd of 849. The Lambs line up that day was: Jezeph, Burns, Sharpe, Kettle, Jones (c.), Lane, Taylor (Powell 76), Shaw T, Asante, Verma, Knights (Gray 81) Subs: Morley, Thomas, Shaw C. Unfortunately the Lambs were relegated at the end of the season to the newly formed Southern League Premier Central Division at the end of that season.
 The game on Saturday is expected to be a close run affair with both teams in a good vein of form. Tamworth sit second in the League and Darlington are on a run of 4 straight wins in all competitions. While Tamworth have reached the 4Q round by beating Nuneaton, Loughborough Dynamo and Hereford, the Quakers have beaten Trafford (3-1) and Leamington (2-0) both away from home. In the League Darlington currently sit in 12th place in the Vanarama National League North with 17 points from 13 games. A large following is expected from Darlington as they look to get into the First Round proper for the first time as a fan owned club.

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