Hebburn Sports & Social Ground – Durham Challenge Cup Preliminary Round.
Attendance – 209.
The Hornets defeated Darlington in a one-sided Durham Challenge Cup Preliminary Round match at the Hebburn Sports & Social Ground to return to their winning habit and secure their first home win of the season.
Both teams made a host of changes, with Darlington selecting a small number of youth team players to add to their squad of fringe players and established players from their early league games that have propelled them to the top of the Ebac Northern League Division 1.
With a much smaller squad in comparison, and a number of injuries further depleting those available, Hebburn manager Paul Bennett made a number of changes of his own with an eye on Saturday’s South Tyneside league derby against South Shields.
Hebburn started the brightest and, following some committed challenges in midfield to show that every game is taken serious on South Tyneside, the home side were soon in their stride and attacking down both flanks using the pace of Stephen Forster and James Luccock.
Paul Gardiner almost opened the scoring for the Hornets following good work down the left from Carl Paterson. A low cross was fired over and Tony Stephenson just missed out on a goalbound connection, yet when the ball fell into the path of Gardiner, the midfielder thumped the ball off the crossball before Forster’s follow-up volley was well closed down by the Darlington defence.
Gardiner was to be involved in the turning point of the game when he easily manoeuvred between the Darlo centre-backs to collect a through-ball and round Chris Porter in the Darlo goal, who brought saved the goalscoring opportunity by bringing the Hebburn man down. The referee had no hesitation in sending the goalkeeper off and Jonny Davis scored his first goal for the club when he fired in the penalty high past substitute ‘keeper Dale Connor.
Hebburn extended their lead after 42 minutes when Paterson was again involved down the left. Getting forward from his full-back position, Paterson drilled in a low cross that Scott Robson stroked in at the back post.
The second-half started and the ten-men of Darlington started to come back into the game with substitute Dave Mitchell going close with his first touch.
Yet just when the visitors looked to be enjoying most of the possession, Davis found his superb form of the first-half to collect the ball from his defence and control the game from the centre of midfield. A series of ball to the left and the right flanks characterised the classy midfielder’s game throughout the evening.
The South Tynesiders made all three of their allowed substitutions during the second-half and Mark Rasmussen was immediately involved playing a one-two pass with Brad Brooking on the edge of the Darlo box. From a tight angle closing to the goal-line, Brooking collected the return ball and superbly fired past Connor to seal the win and send the Hornets into the next round.
|1. Dan Regan|
|2. Brad Brooking||Goal|
|3. Carl Paterson|
|4. Jonny Davis||Goal|
|5. Dan Kirkup|
|6. Chris Jewels|
|7. Stephen Forster|
|11. James Luccock|
|8. Scott Robson||Goal|
|8. Paul Gardiner|
|9. Tony Stephenson|
|4. David Borley|
|10. Aaron Croft|
|11. Mark Rasmussen|