Match Report: Darlington – Droylsden (Ray Simpson)

Darlington 5 Droylsden 2.

Quakers comfortably brushed Droylsden aside as they won their fourth game in a row and stayed well in touch with leaders Salford.

It now looks as if it’s going to be a shootout for the title as leaders Salford comfortably beat Spennymoor.

Darlo manager Martin Gray made two changes to the starting line up, with Monday’s trip to Scarborough in mind.

Nathan Cartman started instead of David Dowson, and Alan White came into the centre of defence instead of Ian Watson, Terry Galbraith moved to left back instead of Watson.

Quakers missed a great chance after just 90 seconds, a clearance by Droylsden keeper Craig Ellison rebounded off Graeme Armstrong square into the path who took careful aim 25 yards out, but sidefooted wide of an open goal.

But Droylsden stunned Quakers by taking the lead after 6 minutes. The ball seemed to bounce off Gary Brown and ran into the path of Ciaran Kilheeney, who ran forward and hit a 25 yarder that bounced off the post and into the net.

Quakers levelled on 9 minutes. Adam Mitchell floated a free kick from the left into the box, and Alan White, on his return to the side, glanced the ball past the keeper into the net.

But Quakers were back again inside the Droylsden box on 20 minutes. Galbraith picked up the ball on the left, played it inside to Thompson, who laid the ball off for Mitchell to hit first time into the net with the help of a slight deflection.

Quakers went 3-1 up on 29 minutes. This time Thompson got away down the left and played the ball into the near post, where Cartman nipped in and turned the ball past Ellison.

It was 4-1 three minutes later. Mitchell won possession just outside the box, ran forward, and set up Armstrong to score his 21st league goal of the season.

Droylsden then nearly scored at the other end when Hillhouse got through, but Jameson blocked, and when Kilheeney followed up, Hunter cleared off the line.

Quakers were furious on 37 minutes when Mitchell weaved his way into the box and seemed to be scythed down by the last defender Nat Kerr, but the ref booked Mitchell for simulation.

Droylsden were reduced to ten men a minute before half time, when Armstrong was pulled back by Dogan on the  edge of the area – although the foul appeared to be inside – and the Droylsden defender was shown his second yellow.

But Quakers didn’t have long to wait for the fifth. Watson won possession in midfield, ran forward and fired towards goal, but the ball was partly blocked by a defender and it ran for Cartman to tuck under the keeper for his second of the game.

Ten man Droylsden pulled a goal back on 52 minutes. Sub Rob Doran got away down the right and forced Jameson into a good save, but the ball ran for Fernando Moke to slot home, although the ball appeared to deflect into the net off Mitchell.

Cartman nearly got his hat trick on 61 minutes, when White headed a Galbraith corner down to him, he turned quickly but Ellison blocked his shot.

In their next attack, Thompson surged into the box, and hit a blistering shot against the left hand post.

Quakers lost some of their momentum, and after Brown lost possession, Moke curled a right foot shot just wide.

However, long range specialist Galbraith nearly made it 6-1. He picked up the ball 25 yards out, glanced up, and hit curling a left foot shot that Ellison pushed away.

And from the corner, the ball came out for Nelson Mota to curl into the box for Cartman to have a downward header blocked by Ellison.

It was a thrilling performance by Quakers at the perfect time as they enter the last three weeks of the season.

The next game is on Monday against Scarborough at Bridlington, while Salford are at Radcliffe Borough.


Nathan Cartman celebrates with family



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