A Darlington Dynasty

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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

Post by Strike Force One »

The Langfield in the match report is indeed Jamie Langfield.

Millwall signed him before start of season two for £3.1 million: I couldn't afford him then and anyway I was in the Second Division at that time, they were First Division. All about the finances right?
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

In this post, August ends and it's time for the first of many international breaks.


After a very good opening day win, we play our second game of the season on Sunday as part of a Sky Sports double header. The Saturday sees Manchester United make it three wins from three thanks to a 2-1 win at West Ham United, Ruud van Nistelrooy with the 86th minute winning goal. Meanwhile Steve-Gordon Eriksson's Arsenal crash 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion after leading 1-0 at half time with a Thierry Henry goal, substitute Luke Beckett comes off the bench to score twice for the Baggies whilst new signing Anders Svensson adds the other.

"Big Dave" is away on international duty forcing us into a change tomorrow, picking up his fifth cap for Jamaica but they lose an international friendly with Honduras 2-1: Nottingham Forest's David Johnson scoring for the Reggae Boyz.

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After Blackburn Rovers defeated Sunderland 2-0 with a pair of first half goals in the early kick off, it's time for a North East derby at St. James Park. The home crowd know I'm a boyhood Sunderland fan as my appearance on the touchlne at kick off is greeted with a loud chorus of booing. Our winning team at Millwall has one change, George McCartney replacing the internationalist "Big Dave" in the starting eleven with Mike Simpkins fulfilling the vacant spot on the bench. The Magpies start four of their summer signings with the other on the bench, former England captain Alan Shearer skippers them.

Predictably, the home side controlled the game. Their first real chance came after ten minutes, Shearer's header being well saved by Alejandro before Sergei Rebrov headed inches wide three minutes later. Just before the half hour, Alejandro saved well again: this time from Italian internationalist Fabio Liverani. Our first chance came in the 37th minute from a Peter Weatherston header that one time Darlington target Carlo Cudicini managed to produce a great fingertip save to. Then shortly before half time, Tonton Zola Moukoko fired a shot inches wide with the former Chelsea keeper beaten. So close.

Our defensive attributes were put further to the test in the second half, and much to the home fans annoyance: we kept them out time and time again. Shearer had an oppotunity four minutes from time but sent it over the bar to much derision from our fans in the gods of the Leazes End Stand. At the final whistle, Newcastle were booed off as their fans thought they'd dropped two points whilst we celebrated an incredible away point that few thought we would obtain.

Attendance: 47140
Man of the Match: Kieron Dyer (Newcastle United)
Position After Game: 7th
Next Game: Blackburn Rovers (A)

The opening day of the month always sees the monthly awards handed out, and with three wins from three it came as no real surprise that Manchester United's Glenn Hoddle took the managerial gong. Player of the Month was Neil Clement of West Bromwich Albion whilst John Welsh of Blackburn Rovers was the Young Player of the Month. Former Reading manager was announced same day as the new Carlisle United chief as the Premier League geared up for the first international break of the season, something completely brand new to us all here at Darlington: well at least we could use it to keep those not on international duty, fit, and it also enables the injured ones more recovery time.

The following day saw Derby make another foray into the transfer market, signing Southampton's 23 year old defender Michael Dobson for £3.8 million: their sixth signing of the summer and second raid on the Saints. We also made some moves ourselves but on the back room with Ayr's Campbell Money and Farnborough's Mike Newell improving the standard of coaches with Martin Gray leaving Feethams. Our increased offer for the Belgian "B" internationalist was accepted, so we awaited him flying in to discuss terms whilst Middlesbrough confirmed a signing of their own: Jermaine Wright of Coventry City moving to the North East for £5.75 million.

Internationals began on the Friday with Under 21 action for Tonton, and he made the most of it with a brace for Sweden's young guns in their 3-0 win over their Belarus counterparts. Saturday saw "Big Dave" bag cap number six for Jamaica as they boosted their hopes for a place in Germany 2006 with 2-0 win over Surinam. On these shores, George McCartney got his 20th cap for Northern Ireland but they slipped to a 2-1 loss at Windsor Park to Croatia. Sunday, and after an overnight stay in Darlington's finest hotel (all paid for by Uncle George of course), we finally got our third signing of the summer as Belgian "B" internationalist Jonathan Bourdon agreed to sign a five year deal for an initial fee of £2 million which could rise to £2.5 million with an add-on.

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After a quiet Monday, things got busy again on Tuesday. Millwall brought former Lion Lucas Neill back to SE16 from Nottingham Forest for £5.25 million, three seasons after selling him to Blackburn Rovers for £1 million. In Scotland Celtic boosted their defence with Romanian international defender Matei Radoi for £3.6 million. Tonton played his second Under 21 game, and once more he bagged a brace: this time as they hammered their Hungary version 5-0. Surely a full cap is on the horizon, eh? Fast forward 24 hours, and a tinge of sadness as we released 1973 FA Cup hero Jim Monrgomery for his coaching role at Feethams. His replacement? Highly rated Greek Kosmas Stratos.

Player wise, young Welsh attacking midfielder Carl Watkins was released as it was felt he would be best served elsewhere: we wish him all the best in his future endeavours of course. David Copeman and McCartney got international caps, Copeman: his seventh in a 1-1 draw with Ukraine and McCartney: his 21st for Northern Ireland in a superb 3-1 away win in Poland. News broke of a second TV appearance, the away trip to Arsenal being switched from the 25th to the 26th of September. Whilst Friday saw Dutch international striker Roy Makaay come to the Premier League, the 29 year old signing for Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £1.5 million. Could be a bargain that.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Awesome point away to Geordies!

Chunk of change as well

£2m is a lot of cash - can we see his att's please?

Good to see some Int'l footie for your fellas
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Redknapp69 wrote: Fri Nov 17, 2023 10:16 am Awesome point away to Geordies!

Chunk of change as well

£2m is a lot of cash - can we see his att's please?

Good to see some Int'l footie for your fellas
Aye it's a fair bit to spend but considering how the other promoted clubs have spent then it's small money. Think if I can get another central defender in then that'll do for purchases this season. Main thing is to stay up and consolidate.

Here's as promised Bourdon's statistics:

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Looks decent doesn't he? And he meets the criteria of trying to bring young players in. Nine players out of contract in summer, doubt all will receive new deals. Will cost Collett and Van der Geest £16K and £22K respectively now to give them free transfers and reduce the keeper pool to three with maybe seek for a decent youth one on the marker for free. Don't want to blow the whole transfer budget in one swoop, it's a one step at a time project: anyway we will need cash in the bank for the supposed training facilities expansion won't we?
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

In this post, the international break is over and it's back to the Premier League for us.

Our destination is Ewood Park, Blackburn, the home of the 1994-95 Champions Blackburn Rovers. Could we build on the point gained at Newcastle, and turn that into three in East Lancashire?

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For the trip to Ewood, we made just the single change from the side at Newcastle: "Big Dave" returned at the expense of George McCartney who dropped to the bench. New goalkeeper signing Jonathan Bourdon was on the bench as Alejandro was kept between the posts after an outstanding showing in NE1. Rovers fielded a side packed of full and Under 21 internationalists from various nations, and had eyes on UEFA Cup action in midweek.

The game's first chance came after 16 minutes but Neil Maddison lashed his shot high and wide of Mark Bosnich's goal. Blackburn's first opportunity was just before the half hour when Christian Nerlinger's cross was headed goalwards by Sigurd Rushfeldt but Alejandro made an excellent save to turn the ball away from goal. Rovers then almost took the lead on the stroke of half time in bizarre circumstances, Damien Duff with the volley that Alejandro spilled but before it could roll into the goal: Jon-Paul McGovern hooked it clear from danger. 0-0 at half time.

Five minutes into the second half, Blackburn went close again when Tugay fired a shot into the side netting. Our response was almost immediate, Tonton Zola Moukoko shooting wide under pressure. With the game in its final quarter of an hour, Rovers went close again when Alejandro again foiled Rushfeldt. Yet the better of the final chances went to us, Peter Weatherston with a volley that Bosnich made a meal of before Tugay cleared the danger and then with four minutes left, Moukoko's cross headed goalwards by substitute Chris Ronaldo that Bosnich this time saved superbly. No goals, but a third clean sheet for us and maybe again a very useful away point.

Attendance: 32651
Man of the Match: Mike Duff
Position After Game: 11th
Next Game: West Bromwich Albion (H)

Sunday, and a couple of bits of market action. The first was that Portuguese legend Luis Figo has been put on the transfer list at his own request, not that he's going to join us. Secondly, there was a new arrival at Portman Road as Portsmouth's Northern Irish international Joe Dolan joined the Tractor Boys for £5 million. Monday and a bit of good news as "Robbie" Palacios was able to resume light training at least from his recent ankle knock picked up on international duty for Peru. Former Quakers loanee Graeme Smith could be on the move though as Southampton have approached Wolves for his services and lodged a £300K bid. Talk about training again, David Copeman was a real standout on the Monday.

Tuesday saw more transfer activities with news breaking that Smith had agreed terms with the Saints and Nicky Weaver (yes he was the Manchester City number two we were after) is the subject of a three month loan bid from SPL side Falkirk. If he goes, he will become the sixth keeper on their books, and second one they have on loan. Smith signed for Southampton on the Wednesday, whilst we made a free agent defender an offer the same day. He had come through the Liverpool academy, making only two appearances but would he agree to come to Darlington?

Thursday saw a trip to West Bromwich Albion's training ground where our Reserves were in action against theirs. Three second half goals proved to be the difference in the end as the Baggies second string triumphed 3-0. Then it was back to Feethams to unveil signing number five for the season in front of the assembled fourth estate.

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Yes versatile former Liverpool player Stephen Warnock is one of us! He can play either right back or central defence in the back line or in a defensive midfield role. Even better, he's prepared as it stands to wait for his chance in the first team which is just grand. He will probably be our last signing for a while but never, say never right? Weaver confirmed his short term switch North of the Border on the Friday. Now attention switches to 24 hours hence, when Albion come to Feethams: it's our first ever Premier League game at home!
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

Post by Strike Force One »

Before you ask....

Here are young Warnock's attributes:

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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Lovely signing in Warnock

Slight fook up that he's left footed so was a bit of an error on the DB :lol:

Versatile as well - should be able to operate as wing back

Excellent away point - the "D" is doing well

Keeper looks brilliant!



CHRIST - Warnock has improved there from how I remember him on ODB. Looks a belter DM I'd say!
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

In this post, there's more Premier League action and new ground is broken as we feature in the Second Round of the League Cup. Perks of being a Premier League club, eh?

Saturday at 3pm, and the town of Darlington is a buzz with excitement as the Premier League finally arrives. Can we take maximum points or will the Baggies burst our bubble?

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We named an unchanged sixteen for the visit of the Albion, which meant a reunion with some old faces for our very own "Big Dave". Naturally he was given a warm welcome from the visiting fans which was a nice touch. Albion's starting eleven was the same as the one that lost 2-1 to Bolton Wanderers last Sunday. We opened the scoring after 18 minutes play, when Geoff Pitcher produced a great deal of individual skill to beat Rab Douglas with a powerful left foot strike into the top corner. Michael Dunwell and Pitcher again went close as we looked to double the advantage but we were curtailed in the 33rd minute when Albion level, the first league goal we conceded this season when defender Barry Smith thumped home a header from an Anders Svensson corner.

Douglas denied Mike Duff with a smart save and then Dunwell went even closer, a shot clipping the post with the Scottish custodian beaten. Yet we restored our lead on the stroke of half time, Pitcher finding Tonton Zola Moukoko with a nice pass, and the former Derby trainee drove a left foot shot beyond Douglas despite Neil Clement's close attentions. Half time 2-1.

Second half and Albion pushed for an equaliser again. We were thankful not once but twice to Alejandro as our Spanish number one denied Baggies skipper Paul Rudden and then Jason Roberts with smart saves. In between, we had a chance for a third but Peter Weatherston sent a volley over the bar. Weatherston went closer nine minutes from time when his header from a cross by the mega impressive Pitcher was turned around the post by Douglas. Pitcher fired well over, Douglas then saved well from Jamie Victory and finally Duff scooped one over as we looked for a third and clinching goal. However, it stayed 2-1 and we stayed unbeaten in four.

Attendance: 13391
Man of the Match: Geoff Pitcher
Position After Game: 6th
Next Game: League Cup Round 2 - Preston North End (H)

Sunday saw Aston Villa make a new signing, spending £975K on Everton's American striker Joe Max Moore. Meanwhile, Monday saw a big name arrive in the Premier Leagye as Chelsea signed Luis Figo from Real Madrid for £8.5 million. What a marquee signing by the Blues, eh? Wednesday saw a light training session as we geared up for a night under the Feethams lights. It's the time for some Cup action folks!

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We made wholesale changes for the League Cup tie against Second Division Preston North End, in fact eight of them as only Jamie Victory, Tonton Zola Moukoko and Michael Dunwell kept their places from the team that defeated West Bromwich Albion on the Saturday. This meant debuts for Belgian goalkeeper Jonathan Bourdon plus defenders Stephen Warnock and teen starlet David Copeman. Preston were forced into two changes before the half hour mark but they had the first real opportunity when Graham Alexander curled one just wide of Bourdon's goal. Our first chance came on 32 minutes, Dunwell with the effort that Alan Kelly parried away from goal. Yet the Lilywhites had the final chance of the opening half, Alexander with the cross and David Healy heading just wide. Half time 0-0.

Second half and Preston were still on the front foot. Thus it came as no surprise that they opened the scoring after 48 minutes when another superb Alexander delivery was headed home by Darren Garner. Then before we could settle down Curtis Woodhouse had an effort well saved by Bourdon. Yet tThe chances kept coming for the visitors, Bourdon having to perform a double save within seconds to deny Derek Lilley and Healy from adding to the scoring. Just after the hour though, we levelled when Dunwell was fouled in the area by Alan Lynch (who picked up a yellow card) and Victory made no mistake from the spot. The visitors kept creating good chances with Bourdon denying Lilley, Garner and Healy for a winner. Thankfully we held on, and the game went to extra time locked at 1-1.

Extra time and Lilley had two good chances for Preston, thankfully for us Bourdon was in the right place both times to save. That said, Moukoko went close twice for us, and the game would go to penalties but not before Lynch received a red for two yellows in the 109th minute following a hard tackle on Dunwell. As for the penalties, following two rounds of successful kicks: Garner had Preston's third kick saved by Bourdon. Dunwell bagged our third whilst Jon Björklind scored their fourth. Kelly then saved from McCartney but Bourdon again stood tall for us with another save; this time from Lilley; allowing Julian Gray to step up to convert and send us into the Third Round.

Attendance: 5546
Man of the Match: Graham Alexander (Preston North End)
Next Game: Arsenal (A) - LIVE ON TV...AGAIN!

Thursday arrived with a diagnosis on Peter Weatherston, whose substitute appearance in the League Cup was limited to a mere five minutes. The extent: a very badly broken toe which will sideline him for ten days at least. With us playing on the Sunday, the reserves took on their Arsenal equivalent on the main training ground pitch. Having lost three from three previously, it was fourth time for the second string as they won 2-1. Our goals came from Simon Betts, with a penalty, and Dean Shiels with Steve Sidwell scoring for the Gooners. The Gooners also had their starting goalkeeper Graham Stack dismissed for a professional foul which led to Betts' spot kick. Now can the first team surprise all and sundry on the Sunday by defeating Steve-Gordon Eriksson's vastly expensively valued stars?
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Warra win v Baggies - you have taken to life in PL like a duck to water!

Just about squeaked through in cup!

TV cash is most welcome!

Glad that Tonton off the mark in PL
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

This latest post sees the month of September conclude already, coupled with the usual summary of news.

With the team not playing until the Sunday, we travelled down the day before to hold a light session in the beautiful surroundings of Hyde Park before retiring back to the hotel. Well that's what the squad did, as I decided to go and watch the West Ham and Leeds encounter and it was a really entertaining game with all the goals in the second half and the home side scoring a last minute winner from substitute Michael Carrick. Elsewhere it was five from five for the champions as United brushed aside West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at the Hawthorns.

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We were in action in the first of the two televised games on the Sunday, and most were predicting that the Gooners would inflict a heavy defeat on us: the Premier League's newcomers. From the side that squeaked through on penalties in midweek, the bulk of the first team were back in action bar Peter Weatherston whose broken toe ruled him out: Chris Ronaldo stepping up again to deputise. Arsenal, as expected, fielded a side of world class talent.

They nearly had the dream start when after two minutes play Artur Correia clattered Kennedy Bakircioglü in the area; but the referee wasn't interested and waved away the home appeals. Big let off there. Yet we almost surprised them totally two minutes from the half time whistle. A well flighted free-kick from Jon-Paul McGovern was met by the head of Geoff Pitcher, only for Richard Wright to position himself well and save. Half Time 0-0.

After a disappointing first half, Arsenal stepped it up in the second half. Kanu had three chances in seven minutes before the game was an hour old, especially the last one when he was clean through with just Alejandro to beat. Thierry Henry then went just as close, a low shot that pinged off the post. As time ticked on, the home crowd were getting more and more restless whilst there was a slight belief we might get an unexpected point. Kanu blazed another one over the bar then with one minute left, our resistance was broken. Ashley Cole with the cross and Henry powered home a header past Alejandro to break our hearts. Life is so cruel.

Attendance: 34575
Man of the Match: Ashley Cole (Arsenal)
Position After Game: 9th
Next Game: Everton (H)

As we relaxed in the hotel post-game, still feeling gutted that a point had been cruelly snatched away, we found out that the home derby against Sunderland had been moved to the Sunday for our third appearance in front of the Sky cameras. More money coming in to us, eh? As well as that, congratulations though were in order for McGovern, George McCartney and David Copeman for international call ups in October's international break. The following Wednesday, news also broke that "Big Dave" had been called up for action by Jamaica whilst on the training pitch, Weatherston was out doing some light jogging on his comeback.

Next day, Leicester splashed out £3.2 million on young Charlton full back Thomas Neill and Millwall £4.6 million to attract "Big Dave"'s international colleague David Johnson to the New Den from Nottingham Forest. Thursday, and more good news on the injury front as "Robbie" Palacios stepped up his rehabilitation by starting full training again. After training concluded, all eyes were on the televisions in the canteen as the Third Round of the League Cup was drawn live. It gave us this:

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Not the easiest of draws, against a fellow Premier League side. The draw saw Newcastle United host Liverpool whilst the lowest ranked side: Wigan Athletic got a home draw, entertaining the Tractor Boys of Ipswich at the JJB Stadium. Following on from that, all the monthly gongs were handed out and the last of the the Premier League ones brought a massive cheer from all, that being the Premier Division Young Player of the Month for September.

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Well done Tonton! A nice acknowledgement for our Swedish star in the making. West Ham United's David Moyes took the Manager of the Month award whilst Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo won the Player of the Month accolade. Friday, and the first day of a new month meant a trip to Merseyside to watch the Reserves against their Everton counterparts. It all looked depressing at half time as the Toffees second string led 3-0 thanks to a Duncan Ferguson brace and one from Alex Nyarko. But after a few words from Mark Seagraves, we scored three of our own in 11 minutes to get a draw with Jules Mendy, Dean Shiels and Scouser Stephen Warnock no less on target. All these goals came in the final 16 minutes as well.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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When I started this story, I didn't think it would be that well received to be honest.

Four seasons and 14 pages in, that buzz is still there. Thanks for everybody's support and comments, means a lot.

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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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• Killer of a last min goal in North London
• Tough draw away as well in League Cup
• Nice recognition for Tonton
• Good ressies comeback v the bluenoses
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

Welcome back everybody, it's now time to start to see what happens in October.

Since we were not playing until Sunday, this time not in front of the Sky cameras, we had a light training session ahead of the Everton encounter just as we had done for the live games against Newcastle United and Arsenal respectively. Once the session was done, I was heading down to Merseyside to watch the Liverpool - Villa game. This was of particular interest because Villa were our next opponents after Everton before the next international break started. The Reds would take the three points by a sole Steed Malbranque strike just after the quarter hour mark.

Sunday lunchtime, and a home date with Walter Smith's Toffees.

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We named the same side that narrowly lost at Arsenal seven days beforehand. That meant that young Chris Ronaldo continued to deputise for the injured Peter Weatherston. The Toffees had the first chance after just three minutes when Joseph-Desire Job's header was fumbled by Alejandro but hooked clear before a visiting player could pounce. Job went close again just after the quarter hour, this time Alejandro made a smarter save to stop the scoring being opened. Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solsjkær headed horribly wide after half an hour then Michael Dunwell nearly broke his goalscoring drought shortly afterwards, his volley being turned around the past by England number one Michael Oakes. Half time 0-0.

Second half, and it was only six minutes on when Solsjkær had another opportunity but once more the striker lashed his shot wide of goal. Dunwell went closer five minutes later but it went inches over Oakes' crossbar. The Norwegian striker had three more chances in the final quarter of an hour, but a combination of unlucky finishing, good goalkeeping by Alejandro and also a bad finish: kept him off the scoresheet. Our next best opportunity fell to Geoff Pitcher but he skewed it high, wide and not very handsomely over the bar. So honours even again, our third draw in our opening six matches.

Attendance: 13359
Man of the Match: Jon-Paul McGovern
Position After Game: 10th
Next Game: Aston Villa (H)

Monday saw Chelsea take their summer spending to £27.5 million when they paid Ipswich Town £8.5 million for Republic of Ireland internationalist Matthew Holland. However, the transfer rumour mill was in action same day with Juve's Gianluca Zambrotta being linked to a £50 million to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Mad money.

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Our last game before the second international break saw the Villa arrive at Feethams. We made just one change from the side that drew with Everton on the Sunday. That change was to bring back Weatherston, recently back in full training, to the starting eleven. He replaced Chris Ronaldo who dropped back to the bench. We almost made a great start with the opener after just three minutes, Mike Duff setting up Dunwell but his long range volley went wide of Dida's goal. Dida then came to Villa's rescue eight minutes later with a smart save from a curling effort by Jamie Victory. Yet we were forced into an early change after 20 minutes, Weatherston breaking down and holding his ankle to be replaced by young Ronaldo.

Losing Weatherston so early into his comeback was a blow but we've overcome adversity like this before so we rolled up our proverbial sleeves and got ready to go again. Dida saved again another Victory effort, Ronaldo shot wide when unmarked and then Pitcher fired over the top as we continued to ask the questions. Tonton Zola Moukoko was the next to try his attacking luck but he headed over when well placed then as we edged closer to half time: we breached their defences when Victory's corner was met by a sweet connection from Pitcher and the ball nestled into the back of the Villa net. Just reward. Half time 1-0.

Villa came out with more purpose at the start of the second half, and we were indebted to Alejandro who denied Bosko Balaban, Lee Clark and Olof Mellberg in the space of two minutes. They would prove to be very important saves indeed. Then as time ticked on, and us firmly on the back foot, the nerves in the home crowd were becoming more palpable - particularly with the dramatic finish at Arsenal at the back of some minds including my own. Juan Pablo Angel and Clark sent efforts wide in the final eight minutes as we looked to hold on for three massive points. It could have been two in the final minute, Moukoko with a sweet volley that required a Dida fingertip save to deny him. But hold on we did, another win in the column.

Attendance: 13379
Man of the Match: Geoff Pitcher
Position After Game: 7th
Next Game: Manchester City (Away)

The extent of Weatherston's fresh injury became apparent the following morning when a scan at the local hospital showed a very badly twisted ankle which would keep him sidelined for a fortnight. This meant he would be a serious doubt for the first game after the internationals. Then we had another transfer rumour story, thankfully not one for us to deal with, Sunderland's prolific forward Kevin Phillips being linked with a £6.75 million move to Arsenal.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

This post details what happened to our small bunch of internationalists on the recent international break, the second one this season.

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The first set of internationals took place on the Saturday, where both George McCartney and David Copeman were in action for Northern Ireland and Wales respectively. Having won superbly in Poland in their last game, Northern Ireland and George travelled to Sarajevo to take Bosnia-Herzegovina with their sights set on making it two successive away wins in Group 6. George won his 22nd cap and played all 90 minutes at left back for the Green and White Army but they slipped to a 3-0 loss.

Meanwhile in Lisbon, teenage defender David Copeman played a full 90 minutes for Wales in central defence against Portugal. It was his eighth cap for the Welsh and although he performed superbly in his own right, two goals in five minutes just before the hour gave a Rui Costa inspired Portugal a 2-0 success in Group 7.

Central defender Jon-Paul McGovern was not named in the Scotland squad as the Tartan Army squeaked a 2-1 win over Azerbaijan at Hampden Park.

Diversifying slightly, there was a couple of notable Premier League transfers made. Southampton paid Nottingham Forest £1 million for central defender Guy Branston then West Ham United shelled out £1.7 million to bring Rangers defender Michael Ball (no, not the singer but the guy who used to feature at Everton) back to England and the PL.

Wednesday and three internationalists in action in various corners of the world. First of all, "Big Dave" won his seventh cap for Jamaica as they drew 2-2 with the USA at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. That result means that if Jamaica can beat Barbados next month, bearing in mind the Barbadians have zero points from five games so far, Jamaica will go into a play off for the next stage in World Cup qualification from the CONCACAF section.

Both George and David were back on home shores for Northern Ireland and Wales in their next qualifiers. George won cap number 23, again a 90 minute feature at left back, as Northern Ireland scored twice in the second half to see off Luxembourg 2-0 in Belfast. David got his ninth cap as Wales came from behind to defeat Austria in Cardiff thanks to a late winner from Celtic's John Hartson. David turned in another great performance by all accounts.

Although he travelled with the party, there was still no debut for McGovern as Scotland won 2-1 away to Georgia thanks to a pair of goals in the final five minutes from Barry Ferguson and Kenny Miller.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Michael Ball :lol:

Johnny Hartson a blast from the past!

Incredible defence again and 4/6 at home v 2 big experienced PL names is a superb haul
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Redknapp69 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2023 8:39 pm Michael Ball :lol:

Johnny Hartson a blast from the past!

Incredible defence again and 4/6 at home v 2 big experienced PL names is a superb haul
Only downside is that I'm not scoring many goals yet, less than a goal a game whilst looking to keep it tight at the other end.

Will upload a league table at the end of October; which should be in the next couple of updates or so.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

The international break is over and done with, so we go back once more to the Premier League campaign. Can we build on our impressive start to life in England's Elite?

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Our first game after October's international break would be a trip to Moss Side to face City. Moss Side, for those who don't know the City of Manchester, has a very notorious crime rate attached to it and you wouldn't really want to walk through its streets alone at night if you were new to the City itself. We made one notable change to the side that defeated Villa at Feethams, Neil Maddison was out with concussion type symptoms which he felt during training on the Friday so Glen Little replaced him. Julian Gray also came into the side, he replaced Peter Weatherston who hadn't fully recovered from his toe injury so Tonton Zola Moukoko moved up front but in a free role to work his magic.

We almost got the early goal after eight minutes, an unmarked Michael Dunwell thought he'd broken his Premier League drought but Mart Poom turned his effort around the post. Then from the resultant corner, Mike Duff headed goalwards but Andy Johnson cleared off the line. Unlucky. City responded with efforts from Johnson and Darren Huckerby that Alejandro did well to save. After Geoff Pitcher had shot over the bar under pressure, City took the lead nine minutes before half time. It came from a corner taken by Ryan Williams and a header into the net from Paul Butler; the centre half's first goal of the season. Half Time: 0-0

Second half and we made a positive move to level, Moukoko with a hard shot that Poom saved superbly. Ten minutes into that second half, City scored a second when Jon-Paul McGovern was adjudged to have impeded Huckerby as they challenged for a Williams cross and Danny Tiatto converted from twelve yards. Gray almost halved the deficit two minutes later but Poom made a nice fingertip save. Williams and Paolo Vernazza almost scored a third for the home side but Alejandro was on hand to save the day for us. There were also late chances for City, Williams and Tiatto once more but we survived, yet slipped to a second league defeat of the season.

Attendance: 31156
Man of the Match: Ryan Williams (Manchester City)
Position After Game: 10th
Next Game: Sunderland (H) - ANOTHER LIVE TV OUTING!

The following afternoon saw former Chelsea and Fulham left wing-back Jon Harley, swap SE7 for the Black Country with Wolves paying £3 million for his signature. City made a foray into the transfer market on the Tuesday, parting with £2.1 million to acquire West Bromwich Albion's teenage defensive midfielder Shaun Crouch: no relation to Portsmouth's Peter. With our derby match against the Black Cats on the Monday evening, we trained Friday as normal and had a light session on the Saturday morning. The positives were two-fold as both Maddison and Weatherston were declared fit enough to take part as part of the main group.

After Saturday's light session, I chose to make the short trip up the road instead of watching the Manchester derby from Old Trafford. Predictably United won the honours on the day with a 3-0 win and another brace for Ruud van Nistelrooy, taking him to nine this season in just 13 games. City played the game with ten men for 85 minutes after Paulo Wanchope was sent off for two quickfire yellows in the first five minutes. The game I was at was down by the Riverside as 'Boro bounced back from conceding an early Arsenal goal to trounce the Gooners 4-1. Earlier that day, the North Londoners sold French defender Peter Luccin to Paris Saint-Germain for £3.4 million whilst there was another managerial casualty as Leicester City gave former Three Lions caretaker manager Peter Taylor the old boom boom and a P45 in the post.

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Monday night and under the lights, live on Sky again. Feethams was almost packed to capacity, as it has been all season so far, to welcome near neighbours Sunderland. Maddison came straight into the starting eleven, replacing Little whilst Weatherston was on bench as we didn't want a repeat of what happened to him against Villa when he came back from his previous injury. With Dunwell struggling in front of goal, a third change saw him replaced by Chris Ronaldo to form a youthful strike force with Moukoko.

Sunderland made the main running, with Kevin Phillips being an constant threat up front and keeping McGovern and "Big Dave" on their respective toes. The predatory Sunderland marksman, somehow not in Roy Hodgson's Three Lions picture, thought he had broken the deadlock a minute before half time. Julio Arca provided the cross, and Phillips outjumped Alejandro to guide a header home only for a flag for offside to quell his celebrations. We responded immediately with a chance seconds before half time, Pitcher with a well struck shot that Sander Westerveld saved at full length. Half Time: 0-0

Second 45, and Sunderland had the first chances through Norwegian Thorstein Helstad and then a deflected free kick from the gifted Arca. Thankfully for us, neither effort got close and we remained unscathed defensively. With quarter of an hour to go, we had our best chance so far when Artur Correia found substitute Weatherston (a 56th minute sub for Chris Ronaldo) but he shot wide when well placed. That miss only triggered more attempts from the away team, Alejandro saving from both Helstad and David Prutton within a minute of each other. Nicolas Medina then tested Alejandro as the game headed towards an exciting conclusion. Then in the final seconds, Moukoko fired over for us and Alejandro denied Medina again as an entertaining local derby ended goalless.

Jon-Paul McGovern was booked for the fifth time this season in the 65th minute, meaning he will now serve a one match ban and the away trip to Derby on 13 November 2004 as it stands.

Attendance: 13374
Man of the Match: Alejandro
Position After Game: 9th
Next Game: League Cup Round 3 - Manchester City (A)
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Shame you couldn't bag the point in the North East match

City not what they are now so not sure if we should be 100% expecting a loss there

Key for this season is to pick up points wherever possible and remain in the division
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

In this post, we finish up October with a League Cup Third Round and a trip to high flying Bolton Wanderers? Can we finish off the month on a high note?

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So just eleven days after a league match, we were back in Moss Side for the Third Round of the League Cup for the first time under my tenure. City named the same side that beat us 2-0 in that league encounter bar central defender Spencer Prior who was absent with a foot injury, former Arsenal man Matthew Upson replaced him. We made wholesale changes from the goalless draw on Monday with Sunderland, seven in fact. It was a chance again for the visiting fans to see Belgian goalkeeper Jonathan Bourdon in action as well as highly rated Welsh teen David Copeman, Michael Dunwell and Peter Weatherston led the line and "Big Dave" captained the side.

City almost opened the scoring in the first minute, a well struck low shot by Darren Huckerby that Bourdon saved well. Right back Ernest Faber headed over and then Bourdon produced two more great save to this time to deny Paulo Wanchope and Paolo Vernazza as the home side pushed for an opener. Our first sight of goal came in the 15th minute but Glen Little's long range piledriver whizzed over the top of Mart Poom's crossbar. Wanchope and Geoff Pitcher traded chances as the game proved to be very open indeed, and then it was Little and again Wanchope causing both keepers to work hard in an entertaining opening half. But nobody could break through and the teams were still scoreless after 45 exciting minutes. Half time: 0-0

Ten minutes into the second half, Wanchope had another chance but once more Bourdon was in the right place to save the day for us. The deadlock was broken 17 minutes from time, and what a fins goal it was for us. Weatherston played in Dunwell and when the former Hartlepool man realised he couldn't get a shot off he laid the ball off to Julian Gray and the former Palace winger lashed a shot beyond Poom into the roof of the net. It was his first of the season. City looked to respond immediately but Bourdon denied Huckerby. The pressure mounted right up to the final shrill of the referee's whistle but we held firm for a place in the last sixteen. A new page of history created.

Attendance: 19363
Man of the Match: Paulo Wanchope (Manchester City)
Next Game: Bolton Wanderers (A)

Shortly after the final whistle, the draw for the Fourth Round was made after Tottenham Hotspur's 3-2 extra time win at Loftus Road. It gave us the following tie:

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Leicester named their new manager the day after, and Peter Taylor's replacement in the East Midlands is former Sheffield United and Birmingham City manager David Mitchell. All attention now turned to a trip to the Reebok Stadium on the Saturday afternoon, could we surprise all and sundry by bagging a fourth win in our first ten games against the third placed home side?

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So the game at the Reebok was to be a dress rehearsal for the League Cup, just like the City Premier League encounter ended up being a dress rehearsal for the League Cup. The players who were given the night off for the Cup win, returned to the starting eleven whilst Dunwell and Weatherston were given another chance to score the goals with the pair only having a single goal between them this season. Have the pair found a level which they can't reproduce at or is it just simply a case of they're being unlucky in front of goal at the moment? We will find out eventually I suppose.

We had two early chances, with the recalled Tonton Zola Moukoko and Jamie Victory going close in the first eight minutes as we refused to be overawed by the third placed home side. Bolton's first real opportunity came in the 31st minute from a well struck effort by right wing-back Gareth Ainsworth but the ball soared into the crowd behind Alejandro's goal much to derision from the Darlington support at the other end of the pitch. Just before the half time whistle, our plans suffered a jolt when "Big Dave" limped off and George McCartney came in to fill in the void caused by the former West Bromwich Albion defender's absence from the back four. Half time: 0-0

Early in the second half Bolton forced their first save from Alejandro, the Spanish stopper performing an exceptional save to deny Danny Invincibile the opener. Back we came with an opportunity of our own, Weatherston setting up Moukoko who volleyed wide of goal: a big chance indeed. Simon Davies and Henrik Pedersen (twice) went close for the Whites before we snatched the winner with 12 minutes left to play. It came from a well constructed move that started with Mike Duff, moved onto Moukoko and Weatherston who laid it off to Jamie Victory. The former Cheltenham defender was determined to make it his, and stretched every sinew to reach Weatherston's pass before finishing beyond Johansson and silencing the home crowd. Could Bolton save their unbeaten home record? No, they could not and we celebrated probably our best win of the four league wins this season. It felt, and was actually nothing short of, huge in all respects for us.

Attendance: 26019
Man of the Match: Jamie Victory
Position After Game: 8th
Next Game: League Cup Round 4: Bolton Wanderers (A)

We were supposed to be playing Chelsea in our next game at the start of the month but due to a fixture clash in midweek we won't. Chelsea were in Champions League action whilst we were at City, and have been told to play their League Cup Third Round against Everton on Sunday instead of a Premier League encounter against us. That Premier League game will be played on 1 December 2004, the same night as the rescheduled Merseyside derby at Anfield.
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

As we stand....

Here are the top and bottom halves of the Premier League table with virtually everyone having played over 25% of league fixtures.

Top Half

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Bottom Half

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Our next month's games are as follows:

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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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6 goals scored is very worrying but 2nd best defence in division!

Lovely away cup win v City

And a big confidence booster in beating Bolton on their own turf as you you'll face them soon enough in the cup

Looking for minimum 4 points from next 3 league games with 2 bottom half teams
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

In a new post, we began the short batch of games in November which we hope we can provide more fireworks of our own in the Premier League. Or will it blow up in our faces?

November, as the start of every month does, began with the monthly awards of Manager, Player and Young Player of the Month. October had seen our very own Tonton receive the Young Player award, could we see similar accolades? Well, the Manager of the Month for October went to SW6 and Chelsea's former Celtic and Leicester City manager Martin O'Neill. The ever prolific Ruud van Nistelrooy took the Player of the Month gong whilst Everton's teen winger Tony Talbot won the Young Player award. So nothing this time out to celebrate.

Transfer wise, there was a departure from Tottenham as Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw left them for Rangers for £4.2 million. Our neighbours Middlesbrough also boosted their attacking options as they acquired Russian striker Vladimir Bestchasnykh (imagine how much that would cost to have printed on the back) from Spartak Moscow for a £5.75 million fee. As the 'Boro unveiled their new signing ahead of their game on the Monday, we had a blank weekend due to some strange fixture scheduling. Manchester United though took on old foes Arsenal in an Old Trafford heavyweight clash, and heaped more misery onto Steve-Gordon Eriksson with a 3-0 win inspired by goals from van Nistelrooy (who else?) and a brace from an unlikely source: German centre half Christian Wörns. Tottenham finally got a win, at the 12th time of asking, with a 2-0 home success over Manchester City.

The new international squads were announced too. JP, McCartney and Copeman were all named in the relevant senior squads for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales respectively whilst Tonton got named in the Sweden Under 21 side. We would have probably seen "Big Dave" in the Jamaica side for their crucial game against Barbados but the thigh injury he got in the win at the Reebok meant he missed out on possibly a eighth international cap. Our next game coincidentally would be against Bolton in the Fourth Round of the League Cup.

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Wednesday night under the lights at Feethams and a place in the quarter finals of the League Cup at stake. We made some changes as usual with Jonathan Bourdon continuing as the Cup keeper. JP was suspended and "Big Dave" was still injured so teen Copeman and McCartney formed a new partnership in central defence for the first time. Stephen Warnock came in for Artur Correia in a further change, so four changes in total. Bolton fielded a side different to the side that we beat eleven days previous, giving some of their fringe players a run out too. Well most Premier League sides do this anyway, especially the big ones.

The first chance came our way in the 13th minute when a speculative effort from distance by Neil Maddison was turned away well by Jussi Jääskeläinen at full stretch. Bolton's first shot in anger came nine minutes later from Henrik Pedersen but Bourdon was equal to the effort and pushed it away from goal. Jääskeläinen was called back in action almost immediately after the Pedersen chance, the Finn saving well from Peter Weatherston. Just after the half hour, Nicky Forster went close for the Whites but again Bourdon saved the day. Both keepers were having solid games and determined to give their sides a chance to win but we were goalless as the half time whistle sounded. Half Time: 0-0

After Tonton Zola Moukoko had shot wide within seconds of the restart, we broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when Moukoko's cross was headed home by Jamie Victory, his second goal against Wanderers this season and third overall and making him our top scorer. We could have added gloss with 14 minutes to go when Moukoko got away from his defensive marker to fire in a hot but the shot went wide of Jääskeläinen's goal, giving Wanderers some hope they could force extra time. As it was, they didn't and we moved into a quarter final berth. Who would we get?

Attendance: 6951
Man of the Match: Jamie Victory
Next Game: Derby County (A)

At half past that same night, the draw was made live on Sky Sports News for the quarter-finals: producing this for us:

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A not bad a draw to be honest, and one we will take. We have some interesting games with Wycombe in the last two seasons and this will probably be no exception either. In the other ties, Ipswich Town will host Newcastle United, First Division strugglers Bradford City will play the winners of Manchester United or Leeds United and Norwich City will take on either Chelsea or Blackburn Rovers. The afternoon afterwards saw the Reserves take on their Derby equivalent after the first team had finished training, and win 2-0 thanks to a first half brace from Byron Bubb. Can we do similar or better on the Saturday at Pride Park? It would be nice...
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Season 2004/05

We move through November in this update. Can we take our first three points from Derby County and continue our impressive start to life in the Premier League? Oh, and there's some midweek international action for some of the team as well. Welcome to this recap.

After seeing off Bolton Wanderers under the Feethams floodlights in midweek, Saturday was back to Premier League business and a trip to Pride Park. Would a ram raid be on the cards?

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The team showed predictable changes for the visit to Derby. Alejandro returned in between the sticks whilst JP was back from suspension and "Big Dave" had fully recovered from injury so Bourdon, Copeman and McCartney made way. There was no place in the Rams sixteen for one-time Quakers transfer target Marvin Robinson though.

We made a great start with the opener after just seven minutes play. It came from a free kick awarded for a barge into Julian Gray's back by Rams central defender Stephen Foster. Up stepped Victory to fizz the set piece into the net, leaving Gary McGlynn clutching thin air. It was the left back's third goal in as many matches, and took him to four this season. Little had been seen of the home side but they got their fans excited midway through the first half with a Scott McDonald effort but Alejandro was in the right place for us to save. Then with half time about to kick in, we punished them again to double the advantage. It came from a loose goal kick from McGlynn which landed straight at the feet of Tonton Zola Moukoko and the former Rams trainee returned it with interest to find the net. Half Time: 0-2

The second half saw Derby come out a bit more determined as if they had been read riot at the interval. They went close with their first chance after the restart, Seth Johnson with an effort that required Alejandro to produce a great fingertip to turn around the post. Yet we responded with a similar effort from Gray that called for McGlynn to replicate Alejandro's save. Victory almost added his second of his own on the hour but McGlynn denied him before Michael Dunwell planted a header wide. Derby's hopes took a crash in the 74th minute when centre half Peter Wijker pushed JP off the ball in front of the ref and got a straight red. Dunwell almost made it three moments after the dismissal but he was denied a first goal of the season by an offside flag.

We did get the third though with six minutes to go, substitute Chris Ronaldo was sent tumbling in the area by Johnson. Up stepped Neil Maddison to send McGlynn the wrong way for 0-3. Still Derby tried their damnest to stop Alejandro's clean sheet, Craig Burley with a free kick that required the Spanish stopper to turn it round the post and then Johnson heading wide in injury time. Another very important three points that keeps us in the top half of the table.

Attendance: 26049
Man of the Match: Stephen Warnock
Position After Game: 7th
Next Game: West Ham United (H)

The period after the game was hectic to say the least. First of all, 'Boro opened Steve Gibson's cheque book to attract Leicester City's Egyptian midfielder Sayed Abd El Hafiz northbound for $2,4 million and Arsenal signed Finnish defender Hannu Tihinen on a free transfer from Viking FK of the Norwegian top division to boost their defensive corps. Monday morning saw a welcome returnee to first team training, midfielder Geoff Pitcher starting light training following a groin related injury.

Tuesday saw Tonton turn in a Man of the Match performance as well as score the game's opener in the 3-0 win for Sweden Under 21's against their Romanian counterparts. Wednesday saw the turn of the senior squads to take centre stage. George McCartney picked up cap number 24 for Northern Ireland but couldn't prevent a 1-0 loss in Lithuania for the men in green whilst teen David Copeman collected his 10th cap for Wales in their 3-1 win over Cyprus in Cardiff. Even without "Big Dave" Jamaica won; three goals in the final 11 minutes saw off Barbados and sent them into a play-off league where the top three make Germany 2006.

Thursday would see a fresh loan move for Neil Wainwright land, this time from Enfield. The winger had been in good form for Hendon in his three month loan there, scoring twice and creating eight in 11 matches. We accepted it. Meanwhile, Mathieu Louis-Jean swapped Fulham for Tottenham with a £3.7 million fee paid whilst Martin Grainger moved from Birmingham City to Derby for £1.9 million: however we felt a bit aggrieved when Leo Roget joined Manchester City from Reading for a £2.7 million fee. Why? Well, Roget was the same defender that Reading refused to sell to us earlier in the season and that he was not for sale to anyone. Double standards from the Biscuitmen, eh?

Now for the Hammers at Feethams. Time to burst their bubbles...
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Nice cup win and always handy when oppo plays fringe - and WHATA FECKING DRAW v WYCOMBE!

Superb away win v Derby

Tonton tearing it up on the national stage

Guwon Jamaica in play off!

Dirty hammers next
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Re: A Darlington Dynasty

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Redknapp69 wrote: Sat Nov 25, 2023 11:10 pm Nice cup win and always handy when oppo plays fringe - and WHATA FECKING DRAW v WYCOMBE!

Superb away win v Derby

Tonton tearing it up on the national stage

Guwon Jamaica in play off!

Dirty hammers next
Hopefully we can see off the Chairboys in the quarter-finals to make the two legged semi final which will be amazing. Perhaps the promotion to the PL has just kicked us onto a whole new level and boy oh boy, we're loving it and living the ultimate dream! Be interesting to see where we are the halfway point of the season, 19 games in - if we're 10th or higher then dare we dream of bringing European football to little ol' Feethams?

Considering we don't have any world class players (at the moment anyway), we're really punching above our weight this season. Tonton's valuation has gone up from £725K to £1.9 million (when he signed) to £3.4 million (at present): he's unreal. Might see "Big Dave" in the World Cup with the Reggae Boyz....

One point, they usually say if you exceed 40 points then you will survive in the PL in real life apparently. Think we're heading in the right direction, but there might have to be some players let go at the end of this season as we continue to try and evolve as a team. All about finding the right players for the right price which doesn't financially ruin the Club. It would be foolish to change the Club philosophy of being a well run Club to one that spends recklessly, don't you think?

This is proving to be quite a fun one-team only save, really enjoying it and thanks as always for the comments and support.
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