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Darlington v Harrogate Town

Darlington 3 - 1 Harrogate Town
26 Dec 2017 - 15:00

A magnificent performance, one of the best of the season, gave Quakers their first win in six matches.

Quakers started as underdogs against the second placed team in the league, but two goals from Reece Styche in the first half gave them something to hang on to with some well-organised defending.

Styche scored from the spot and then added a scrambled effort to give him five since he signed for the club last month.

Quakers started with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Phil Turnbull playing in front of the back four, and Dominic Collins at right back and Leon Scott recalled to left back.

Stephen Thompson made a good run in the second minute that lifted the crowd, and his cross from the left was intercepted.


Goal: Quakers got a penalty after 7 minutes when Thompson cut in from the left, worked his way into the box, and as he crossed, was tackled late by Lloyd Kerry and the ref pointed to the spot, from where Reece Styche sent the keeper the wrong way.

Quakers nearly got a second on 13 minutes. Thompson was fouled 30 yards, and Josh Gillies curled the free kick towards the far post where Dominic Collings headed over the top.

There was then some good defending by Darlo, with Collins and Heaton both putting in some good headed clearances, while Talbot held a high cross from the left under pressure.

But Quakers recovered, and won a couple of corners, while a right foot shot by Josh Gillies flashed across the face of goal. Quakers also had a penalty shout when Collins seemed to be brarged to the ground

Goal: Quakers got the second on 25 minutes. A corner by Gillies went over to the far post, Turnbull crossed the ball back into the box where the ball hit the post and then the bar before Styche forced it in.

Harrogate nearly pulled one back on 33 minutes. A free kick came in from the left, and Terry Kennedy found the roof of the net with a diving header.

Quakers had a let off when Talbot got underneath a left wing cross by Leesley, and Thomson volleyed over the top.

But with the fans behind them, Quakers defended well, and held on to their advantage until half time.

Half time

Darlington 2 Harrogate 0


At the start of the second half, Styche battled against three defenders before hitting a long range shot that Belshaw saved, and Talbot held on well to a left wing cross.

Quakers had a chance when Phil Turnbull won the ball in midfield, charged forward and hit a low left foot shot that went just past the post.

Talbot then did well to push two dangerous crosses over his crossbar.

Styche nearly got his hat trick when he won the ball halfway inside the Harrogate half and hit a right foot that was deflected wide.

Quakers then suffered a blow when Styche limped off, to be replaced by Harvey Saunders.

Goal: Harrogate pulled a goal back when Falkingham opened the Darlo defence down the right for the ball to be fired in, and Ainge forced the ball in.

It’s getting more and more nervous now!

Quakers regrouped, and created a chance when Gillies ran forward and hit a rising effort just over the bar.

It’s proper backs to the wall stuff now.

Harrogate then had Burrell red carded for a late challenge on Wheatley, and then Kennedy for pulling down sub HarveySaunders as the last man, which led to the second penalty award of the game.

Goals: Stephen Thompson fired the penalty into the top corner of the net to everyone’s delight!

After that, Quakers held on comfortably to give Tommy Wright his first win as manager, and lift them two points above the relegation zone, although Saunders had to go off after experiencing breathing difficulties.

Attendance 1759


Talbot, Collins, Heaton, Brown, Scott, Gillies, Turnbull, Wheatley (sub Glover 90), Thompson, Styche (sub Saunders 57, sub Mills 86), Syers

Subs: Marrs, Glover, Mills, Caton,

Booking: Turnbull, Glover


Harrogate: Belshaw, Vann, Parker, Falkingham, Kennedy, Burrell, Thomson (Sub Thewlis 59), Kerry (sub Emmett 58), Ainge, Agnew (sub Beck 80), Leesley

Subs: Emmett, Cracknell, Beck, Swain, Thewlis

Booking: Thomson

Red cards: Kennedy, Burrell