"Bucks after solid performance against Quakers"
Match Date : August 14th, 2021 3:00 pm
Competition : National League North
Ground : Blackwell Meadows
Kick Off : 15:00
The Bucks will finally make the long trip north to face Darlington this Saturday.
Originally scheduled to be the season opener, the fixture had to be postponed because of Covid. But with both sides healthy again (and out of the FA Cup), the game can now go ahead.
The Quaker’s league campaign barely got going last year, with Alun Armstrong’s side playing just 11 league games – the lowest in the division – before the season was cancelled. The County Durham club picked up 13 points from those games, leaving them in 19th and one point above the drop zone when February’s curtailment was announced. But while Darlington were undeniably inconsistent in the league, their lowly position was a little misleading. Darlo’s points per game was, in fact, better than most of the other teams in the bottom half, including the Bucks.
Other than the backdrop of the pandemic, the main reason for the Quakers’ erractic and exceptionally short league campaign was their success in the cup competitions. Armstrong’s side made it to the second round of the FA Cup, beating Swindon Town, then of League One, 2-1 en route. Darlo also made it to the quarter finals of the FA Trophy. After beating the Bucks on penalties in the thrid round, the Quakers then saw off Weymouth and Wealdstone before losing to eventual winners Hornchurch in the last eight.
Armstrong hasn’t been shy in revamping his squad this summer, with the number of offseason arrivals in double figures. The new faces include goalkeeper Tommy Taylor, defender George Smith, and forwards Jake Cassidy, Andrew Nelson and Junior Mondal. Meanwhile, key man Luke Charman penned a new two-year deal. There have been plenty of departure’s too, including tricky winger Érico Sousa – a scorer against the Bucks last season – who has jumped up the divisions to join Grimsby Town.
The new look Quakers have made a slow start to the current campaign, picking up four points from their first six games as well as exiting the cup to Chester.
The Bucks also have four points so far this term but won 2-1 when the sides met at Blackwell Meadows in the league last November, with Jason Oswell and Dom McHale grabbing the goals. Gavin Cowan’s men looked good in the December’s Trophy clash too, but a Darlo late equaliser saw the sides draw 2-2 before the Quakers won on spot kicks.
With both sides eager to pick up the points and start climbing the table, an entertaining game could well be in store this weekend.
Ground Address: Blackwell Meadows, Grange Road, Darlington, DL1 5NR
You can buy tickets in advance via the Darlington website.