6:00pm Saturday 26th October 2013
By Craig Stoddart
Final Score: Lancaster City 0 Darlington 0
Darlington’s winless run now stands at five matches in all competitions after a drab 0-0 draw at Lancaster City.
Quakers created little in Lancashire, with Lancaster goalkeeper Mike Hale not having a shot to save.
In comparison to most of their performances this season, Martin Gray’s side were ordinary though they did work hard for the point in what was a scrappy game, but there was controversy at full-time due to a confrontation between players and fans.
Darlington players were subjected to verbal abuse by a small group of fans as they left the field and it has been suggested that Curtis Edwards was spat at by a supporter, leading to a short flare-up between fans and players.
Gray also became involved, picking out a fan for a verbal dressing down on the pitch while stunned stewards looked on.
The spat was at odds with what was a largely dull game.
Nonetheless, Quakers will at least be pleased to have kept their first clean sheet in six games, which is what Gray had demanded beforehand and it came with a new goalkeeper.
Peter Jameson made his debut as one of three changes as Mark Bell has a calf injury, and the debutant had to overcome some early nerves.
Lancaster’s Gary Hunter shin-roller was spilled by Jameson for a corner, but he grew into the game and by full-time he looked at ease.
He was one of three changes that saw former Sunderland youth player Nathan Thomas start after signing yesterday, while Jordan Robinson came in for the absent Bruno Pilatos.
It was not until the 34th minute that Darlington had their first shot of note, Stephen Thompson shooting wide after a Terry Galbraith throw-in.
And soon came the first of two Darlington corners after a Thompson free-kick hit the wall and was diverted.
A clumsy challenge by the otherwise impressive Chris Hunter on Ryan Winder in penalty area was cause for concern, but the referee said no penalty.
The second half was similarly underwhelming, but more competitive.
Darlington had a chance when Leon Scott scuffed a shot to Edwards, and his effort on the turn was blocked by centre-back Neil Marshall.
At the other end, Lancaster striker Simon Wearing volleyed over from 20 yards while Gary Hunter screwed a shot horribly wide at the end of a counter attack that began after Darlington carelessly wasted a free-kick.
Jameson gathered a Ryan Winder shot at the second attempt after the Lancaster winger received the ball after a simple punt up field from keeper, but it was only a half chance which is about al either side mustered.
However, in injury time an erroneous linesman’s flag cut short the last Darlington attack of the game.
Thompson was in on goal, but the linesman flagged for a non-existent foul on Lancaster left-back Ryan Alderton.
Thompson was then booked for dissent, and seconds later, at full-time, almost the entire incensed Darlington team as well as Gray confronted the officials.
And as the players reached the tunnel came another flashpoint, an unsavoury incident that incensed the team and Gray.
Bookings: Jackson (32, foul), Elderton (55, kicking ball away), Clark (69, foul); White (89, foul), Thompson (90, dissent)
Referee: Brian McGill
Lancaster City (4-4-2): Hale, Willis, Marshall, Clark, Elderton, Winder, Mahoney, Hunter (Walker 63), Kilfin, Jackson, Wearing (Donnelly 81). Subs (not used): MacDonald (gk), Akrigg, Henry
Darlington (4-4-1-1): Jameson, J Robinson, Hunter, White, Galbraith, Moore (Johnson 68), Scott, Edwards, Thompson; Dowson (Davis 84), Thomas. Subs (not used): Bell (gk), Mitchell, P Robinson
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