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Darlington Football Club

Ray Simpson / 24th July 2021

Quakers lose to Magpies in first game in front of a crowd in 17 months

Quakers lose to Magpies in first game in front of a crowd in 17 months

Very good performance though

Darlington 1 Newcastle Under 23s 3

Scorer: Allan (38 mins, 0-1), Beeden (53 mins, 1-1), Stephenson (79 mins, 1-2, 90 mins 1-3)

Quakers were beaten by Newcastle who fielded two different teams at Blackwell Meadows.

The Magpies completely changed their team at half time when they led 1-0, so Quakers will be very pleased with their performance against two full time outfits.

Quakers played some good football, especially in the first half, and they deserved their equaliser soon after half time.

Here's what manager Alun Armstrong thought about the game:


There was delight and happiness in the air when the fans returned to Blackwell Meadows for Quakers' first game in front of fans for nearly 500 days, when Newcastle United's Under 23s visited.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong made nine new signings during the summer, and most of them figured.


Taylor (sub Martin 67), Hedley (sub Winstanley 76), Storey, Beeden (sub Woodhouse 74), Hope (sub Smith 61), Wheatley (sub Winstanley 76), Purver, Rivers (sub Dos Santos 46), Hatfield (sub Mondal 76), Mondal (sub Rivers 71), Charman (sub Armstrong 75)


Sub not used: Griffiths


Newcastle (first half)

Brown, Oliver, Bondswell, Savage, McEntee, Brookwell, De Bolle, Allan, Ferguson, Flaherty, Wilson.


There was a great atmosphere when the players were welcomed on to the field, with plenty of applause around the ground.

Quakers, playing in the new third kit, settled well into the game and showed one or two glimpses of good attacking play, while Newcastle had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end after Tommy Taylor had beaten away an effort.

There was a loud cheer when Danny the physio came on to the field to give Jarrett Rivers treatment on 16 minutes.

Quakers went close on 17 minutes when Will Hatfield curled a free kick over from the left for former Newcastle player Luke Charman to glance just wide.

Good, patient play on the left hand side involving Will Hatfield, Joe Wheatley and Joey Hope ended with Hope playing the ball into the box for Charman to have a shot blocked by a defender a few yards out.

Luke Charman has a shot blocked


On 25 minutes, Hope, who was finding plenty of space on the left flank, was picked out by Hatfield, and he struck a left foot shot from the corner of the box that just cleared the crossbar.

Hatfield had a penalty appeal turned down when he burst into the penalty area and appeared to be tripped, but the referee waved play on.

Newcastle took the lead on 38 minutes when Tom Allan controlled a long ball, got away from the Darlington defence and fired left footed past Taylor’s outstretched right hand.

Quakers nearly levelled when Joe Wheatley played a 1-2 with Charman, and fired just wide from inside the area.


Half time: 0-1

Here's our half time ad roll, courtesy of Alex Holland

Newcastle Second half: Thompson, Stewart, Carlyon, Wiggett, Cross, Scott, White, Longelo, Young, Stephenson, Turner-Cooke

Newcastle put a brand new team on for the second half! The second time that's happened to Quakers in pre-season, as Sheffield United did the same a fortnight ago.

Quakers levelled on 53 minutes. Hatfield curled over a teasing free kick from the right to the far post, where the ball was bundled into the net, with Lexus Beeden claiming a touch.

Lexus Beeden scores from Will Hatfield's free kick


There was concern on 58 minutes when Taylor was caught by Newcastle striker Dylan Stephenson as he pushed away a right wing cross, but he was able to resume after treatment.

Lucas Martin came on for Taylor on 67 minutes, and his first taste of action was to save a low shot by Longelo.

The Magpies took the lead on 79 minutes after Quakers had made three more subs, Alun clearly rotating his players. The ball was threaded through for Stephenson to slide past the advancing Martin.

And they made sure right at the end when Stephenson ran through and slipped the ball past Martin.

But Quakers could feel quite pleased with their efforts, in their first game back in front of fans.