Date: 28th January 2009 at 12:40am
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Despite going down to ten men early in the second half, Darlington managed to hold on to their one goal lead at a cold and rather empty Balfour Webnet Darlington Arena tonight.

The game was a few minutes old when an Alex Rhodes cross found the head of Nick Fenton but his shot went wide of the post. At the other end a bit of head-tennis was going on when Robert Purdie’s cross was headed away by Ian Sharps, followed by Sharps clearing again this time from Franz Burgmeier before Tim Ryan’s cross was eventually cleared by returning skipper, Pablo Mills. The next action was when Pawel Abbott had a shot from some thirty yards out only to see the ball go wide of the goal. Burgmeier was denied the opening goal on seventeen minutes when his shot was tipped over the bar by Andy Warrington. But, it wasn’t long after that the only goal of the game was scored. Danny Carlton, who looked to everyone but the officials like he was off-side, flicked the ball in after a cross by Abbott. Alex Rhodes should have had the equaliser five minutes later but he headed wide and on the half-hour mark, Reuben Reid hit a low shot that went just wide. A bout of niggling fouls and a session of fisticuffs happened before Burgmeier saw a cracking shot hit the foot of the post and, luckily for the visitors, go harmlessly across the face of goal. Just before half time, Pablo Mills and Mark Hudson had feeble shots at goal that resulted in nothing.

The visitors had the first chances of the second half when Mark Hudson saw a shot blocked by Alan White and an Alex Rhodes corner was cleared at the near post by Ryan Valentine. Ten minutes later and Dean Gerken, in the home sides goal, had his first shot to save from Mark Hudson which was followed by a Dale Tonge cross that swung in to be cleared by Ryan. On the fifty-sixth minute, the Quakers were reduced to ten men when Robin Hulbert was shown a red card for a reckless challenge on Mark Hudson. But, even with the extra man, the Millers couldn’t put the ball in the net. Pablo Mills was very lucky to only get a yellow card after a rather fierce challenge on Carlton and wisely, as the game looked about to boil over, the skipper was substituted with Mark Burchill. A couple of Alex Rhodes’ inswinging corners caused Gerken problems and he also saved a shot from Broughton while shots by Sharps and Hudson were cleared by defenders and ten minutes from time Drewe Broughton saw a header go whizzing past the upright but, to be honest, the Millers never really looked confident enough to score tonight with a typical example being with a few minutes left on the clock, Ian Sharps found the ball at his feet just in front of goal and instead of smashing the ball in, the tall defender hesitated and toe-poked the ball at the ‘keeper.

The Millers had a lot of possession this evening but they have to learn to make it count and to put the b****y ball in the back of the net.