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Liddle proud as Quakers earn a point
Newport County 0 Darlington 0
Darlington boss Craig Liddle expressed his pride of his side following last night's goalless draw at Newport County.
With the team already having been consigned to relegation from the Blue Square Premier League, the match represented little in terms of league position.
But Quakers were well worth a point, despite undergoing the trek to Newport from The Northern Echo Arena yesterday afternoon.
The interim manager had called for his players to maintain pride in their performance and they did not let him down in South Wales.
The draw means Quakers have equalled the cub record of 19 league matches without a win.
Liddle, though, was slightly disappointed not to record that long-awaited victory.
He said: "The conditions weren't great and the pitch wasn't great, but we've come off disappointed because we want to get that win for the supporters.
"Obviously it doesn't matter now how many points we get, but want a win for the supporters who have been put through the mill this season because it's their club."
After a five-hour coach journey, Quakers could have expected to start sluggishly, but both teams were lively from the off.
Gaps appeared in each defence during an even start, leading to chances at each end.
Paul Johnson, who returned after a one-match ban, did just enough to force Sam Foley into blasting over from 12 yards when the ball dropped kindly to the Newport midfielder inside the first five minutes.
John McReady was well off target when he mis-hit an early effort from inside the penalty area and, after scoring from close-range on Saturday, Haydn Hollis last night tried his luck from distance but the shot ended closer to the corner flag.
Quakers had two good chances before the break, the first handed to Drewe Broughton. He beat the offside trap when he raced on to Clark Keltie's through-ball, but goalkeeper Karl Darlow comfortably stopped the shot.
Quakers keeper Jordan Pickford was beaten by a low Jake Reid blast, however the ball rebounded off a post.
Pickford's handling was assured and he easily held two Foley free-kicks, the second coming after Darryl Knights deceived referee Tim Robinson by leaping enthusiastically in front of a Paul Arnison challenge.
Pickford saved bravely at Lee Baker's feet while Aaron Brown had Quakers' second good chance, viciously belting a shot from distance that Darlow beat away.
While the bulk of the first half had seen action in both penalty areas, Darlington struggled to make an impression at the beginning of the second 45 minutes
The hosts threatened at two quick-fire corners. Broughton hooked away a Gary Warren header from close to the goal-line, and the same Newport defender then saw Pickford tip over a header.
Pickford was outstanding and saved at the near post when Nat Jarvis tried to beat the 18-year-old with a low drive after Keltie had lost the ball cheaply in midfield.
But at the back Hollis and Johnson, both enjoyed fine games, infinitely better than their last outing together in the 5-0 defeat at Lincoln last week.
They combined to snuff out a Foley run through the middle, as Newport maintained the tempo.
With Darlington struggling to make an impact, though defending well, teenage wingers Danny Lambert and Jamie Barton were both sent on and the former's pressure on Darlow almost resulted in a goal.
He closed down the keeper whose scuffed clearance fell to Bowman who tried to catch the keeper off his line, but from 35 yards the ball was just over.
But easily Quakers best chance fell to Johnson inside the final ten minutes.
He met Brown's inswinging free-kick from close to the corner flag, and the centre-back rose unmarked at the far post, but he headed into the ground and Darlow gathered.
In injury time the keeper also proved himself alert enough to deal with an opportunistic effort from 40 yards by Keltie - were Darlington enjoying more luck it would have sailed in.
Liddle added: "They stuck at it and gave me everything.
"To put in that kind of performance after travelling for five hours on a coach shows what genuine, good people these players are."
Booking: Broughton (28, foul)
Referee: Tim Robinson (Bognor Regis) 7
Newport County (4-4-2): Darlow 7; Pipe 6, Warren 7, Hughes 6, Baker 6; Knights 6, MINSHULL 7, Porter 5, Foley 6; Jarvis 6 (Rose 61, 5), Reid 5. Subs (not used): Thompson, Rodgers, Buchanan, Evans
Darlington (4-4-2): PICKFORD 8; Arnison 6, Johnson 7, Hollis 7, Brown 6; Wainwright 6 (Lambert 56, 6), McReady 5, Keltie 7, Rundle 6; Bowman 6, Broughton 5 (Barton 74). Subs (not used): Nixon (gk), Ferguson
Man of the Match
JORDAN Pickford - the teenage keeper was unflappable between the sticks.
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