LiveLive Saturday football blog

First published in Sport

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FT: Hartlepool 1 Doncaster 1. Jones right at the death pegs Pools back . More points dropped. 


Matthew Grieve’s record in matches he’s played in involving Darlington this season: P3 W0 L3 F2 A13.


GOAL: Rob Jones makes it 1-1, forced in at the far post from a long free kick. Pools can't see a game out again. 


FULL-TIME: Darlington 6 (Scott 2, Thompson 2, Amar Purewal, Emms), Ashington 1 (Johnson).  


GOAL: Substitute Chris Emms adds the sixth goal for Darlington, calmly rolling home after a neat pass by Steven Johnson. #echosport


Stephen Harrison hits the post for Darlington. Played in by Chris Emms, the overlapping right-back’s shot was tipped onto the upright by the Ashington keeper. 86mins, 5-1.


Substitution for Darlington, Chris Emms replaces Adam Nicholls on 77 minutes. But a chance for Ashington, after breaking the offside trap, sees Marc Walton one-on-one with Jack Norton, but the keeper saves with his feet. 79mins gone, 5-1.


GOAL: Hartlepool 1 Doncaster 0 - Neil Austin pen on 69 mins. Awarded after two defenders got a hold of Howard in the area. 

Comes on the back of a positive second half for Pools.  


And now an Amar Purewal shot is pushed away by Ashington keeper Karl Dryden. 75mins gone, 5-1. Fair to say this has been a disastrous return to Darlington for Ashington centre-back Matthew Grieve.


Ashington’s Lewis Stories draws applause from the Darlington fans after coming close with a vicious dipping volley that brushed the top of the net. Within a minute Shaun Reay comes close at t'other end with a lob, shooting just over the crossbar.


GOAL: After a run into the Ashington box by Shaun Reay, Leon Scott heads home from a yard out to make it 5-1 to Darlington on 67 minutes. #echosport


GOAL: Darlington now 4-1 up, Amar Purewal with a close-range header on 63mins after an Adam Nicholls cross.


Bit of action at Hartlepool - Pools twice go close and for the first time the crowd is really lifted. 

First Poole's shot, curling at goal from 20 yards, was tipped over by keeper Woods then, from the corner, Howard's header was planted straight at the keeper.

Wyke just coming on now for Noble.


Attendance at Darlington v Ashington 1,498 and the latest score after 55mins is 3-1 to Darlington.


Substitution for Darlington, David Dowson replaced by Shaun Reay on 53 minutes. The division’s joint-top league scorer’s on the pitch now. Reay has 11 goals, same as Ashington’s Marc Walton.


Darlington go 3-1 up against Ashington with their 50th goal of the season, Stephen Thompson from the spot in 48th minute. Adam Nicholls had been fouled by James Taylor.


HT: Hartlepool 0 Doncaster 0. James Poole, on for Horwood, hit the post. Nothing special this one.


HALF-TIME: Darlington 2 (Scott 10, Thompson 13), Ashington 1 (Johnson 8). 


Wow, that was some decision by the ref. Darlington's Amar Purewal in full flight, caught and chopped down by Ashington's Gareth Williams – but Alan Marshall says no! 44mins, 2-1.


After that goal-tastic start – three goals in the first 13 minutes – it’s gone a bit flat at Heritage Park. 40mins gone, 2-1 to Darlington.


Chance for Ashington by the player Spennymoor loaned to them just in time to face Darlington. Coincidentally. Glen Taylor’s acrobatic shot, following an Andrew Johnson cross, was blocked by Adam Nicholls and out for a corner. 35mins, 2-1.


Still 0-0 between Hartlepool and Doncaster, still little to report. Been here before. 


Save by Karl Dryden keeps the score at 2-1. Darlington's David Dowson turned smartly in the penalty area before shooting low, but the Ashington keeper came of his line quickly to save. A minute earlier he had also saved from Leon Scott. 32 minutes gone, 2-1.


Ashington’s No. 4, Paul Antony, is wearing a headband and fluorescent yellow boots. Gotta’ be good to get away with that combination. 21 minutes gone, 2-1 to Darlington.


Only 18 minutes gone and, by my reckoning there’s already been EIGHT shots at goal, mainly for Darlington. Aside from the three goals we’ve seen David Dowson shoot wide after 21 seconds, Amar Purewal brought out a save from Ashington keeper Karl Dryden who dived comfortably to his right, Purewal also saw Liam Atkin deflect an effort over the bar, Dowson hit the advertising hoarding from 20 yards and then Purewal lashed an effort across the face of the goal.


Not a lot going on at Hartlepool. Doncaster started brighter, Steve Howard's gone off for stitches to a cut and that's about that. 


GOAL: Darlington now 2-1 up, Stephen Thompson lashing home from 20 yards in the 13th minute. 


GOAL: Leon Scott (yet again) scores for Darlington, he bags the equaliser on ten minutes after a cross by Dowson was spilled by Ashington keeper. 1-1.


GOAL: Ashington take the lead on eight minutes against Darlington, a header by Andrew Johnson from an Andrew Dugdale cross. 0-1.


GOAL: Ashington take the lead on eight minutes against Darlington, a header by Andrew Johnson from an Andrew Dugdale cross. 0-1.


David Dowson close to marking his Darlington return with a goal after only 21 seconds. He met Amar Purewal’s left-wing cross, but screwed the shot wide of Ashington goal.


No surprise at all to see Sweeney, Murray and Howard back in the Hartlepool starting XI. The only decision for Cooper was to go for 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 and he's opted for the latter.

Wyke misses out, but I expect the loanee from Boro to still get a decent run out from the bench.

Dave Penney, the ex-Darlington boss, and linked with the Pools job last December, is in the press box, assisting BBC Radio Sheffield with their commentary.


Darlington (4-4-2): Norton; Harrison, Brown, Tait, Richardson; Amar Purewal, Scott, Clough, Nicholls; Dowson, Thompson. Subs: Morris (gk), Emms, Reay, Johnson, Arjun Purewal

Ashington: Dryden, Williams, Scott, Antony, Atkin, Grieve, Taylor, Dugdale, Walton, Taylor, Johnson. Subs: Bainbridge, Storie, O’Dea, Bell, Dobbie


Centre-back Matthew Grieve is in the Ashington side. He played two games last month for Darlington, both losses – 4-1 at Guisborough in the league and 3-0 at Hebburn in the Durham Challenge Cup.

Ashington also have Marc Walton. The striker has 11 goals this season, putting him level with Quakers’ Shaun Reay in the leading scorer rankings.

Darlington’s defeat at Guisborough remains the only league game they have not taken three points from having won their 13 other fixtures, giving them a six-point lead at the top of Division One.

With Spennymoor in FA Vase action today and without a midweek match, Quakers have an opportunity to open up a 12-point gap on the second-place side. Gray’s men are at Celtic Nation on Tuesday.


David Dowson returns to the Darlington side for today’s game with Ashington at Heritage Park.

The striker has missed the past six league matches with a groin strain, but he is back in the side as one of two changes for the Ebac Northern League game against the Colliers.

Midfielder Adam Clough is also selected in Martin Gray’s XI, filling in for Craig Gott who begins a three-match suspension having been sent off in his final game for Billingham Synthonia last month.

Making way for Dowson is Chris Emms, who is not in the starting XI for a league game for the first time this season.
Dowson’s selection means that he and fellow former Durham City forward Stephen Thompson are reunited.

They enjoyed great success at Durham and started together soon after Thompson signed for Quakers, but Dowson was soon substituted with the injury that has sidelined him for a month.


Teams are in from Victoria Park..

HARTLEPOOL: Flinders; Austin, Baldwin, Hartley, Holden; Franks, Sweeney, Murray, Horwood; Noble, Howard. Subs: McHugh (gk), Humphreys, Collins, Walton, Poole, Richards, Wyke. 

DONCASTER: Woods; Quinn, Martis, Jones, Syers, Cotterill, Spurr, Harper, Bennett, Paynter, Brown. Subs: Husband, Woods, Blake, Woods, Balls, Sullivan (gk), Keegan. 

Refere: Graham Scott (Oxford)




Welcome to The Northern Echo's live football blog. It's a bit of a sparse affair today with only Hartlepool and Darlington in action.

Nick Loughlin is at Victoria Park for Pools' vital home game with Doncaster, while Craig Stoddart's afternoon is spent at Heritage Park for Darlington v Ashington.



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