Competition: Vanarama National League North
Location: Blackwell Meadows, Darlington.
Admission: Adults £12, Concessions (Over 60’s & Students with valid ID) £8, Children (Aged 5 to 16) £5, Children (Under 5)- Free
Gloucester City are once again on the road following last weekend’s trip to Altrincham, with a long journey in the search for maximum points in the North East, away to Darlington 1883, writes Ollie Williams.
City are back to winning ways after a difficult spell of six losses on the bounce, with a 1-0 away victory at basement side Altrincham. Joe Parker’s effort was enough for the much needed three points against an Alty side who haven’t won at home all season. It was our first game of 2017 after our home fixture against Brackley Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and now with the new year in full flow the Tigers will be looking to continue how we started.
Recap the highlights of our win at Altrincham by clicking here.
Yet to record a win in 2017, Darlington come into the match with just one win in their last ten matches in all competitions. Two of those matches came in Buildbase FA Trophy action facing Northern Premier League side Marine, who they drew with at home before losing the replay. They last played on Saturday, with a 1-2 home loss to Nuneaton Town in dramatic fashion. Joe Ironside gave Nuneaton the lead from the spot before a 90th minute equaliser from Darlo’s Dave Syers. With the points shared the Quakers were happy until yet more drama. As the 94th minute ticked over Nuneaton’s Jordan Nicholson ran through to snatch away any points. Darlington’s last win came on Boxing Day with a 3-2 win over FC Halifax Town.
New City signing Luke Thomas is available for Tim Harris having joined on loan for a month from Sky Bet Championship side Derby County. The forward can play in a variety of positions and at just 17 adds real quality to the side. He began life with local rivals Cheltenham Town aged 8 and moved to Pride Park last January at 16 having made his senior debut in the FA Trophy against Chelmsford City. The youngster who was once offered trials with Portuguese giants Benfica will certainly add competition to the Tigers squad.
For Darlington, striker Mark Beck has a new lease of life since joining up with the Quakers in the summer. The Sunderland-born powerhouse began life with Carlisle United making his debut against Charlton Athletic aged just 17. He had loans with Workington and in Scotland with Falkirk before he signed for Yeovil Town in 2015. He made just eight appearances for the Glovers and was loaned out to National League side Wrexham making a further 11 appearances, but failed to score for either side. But this term he has 11 goals to his name and at 6ft 5 is a handful for centre-halves.
Head to Head
We have met just once before with Darlington 1883, who re-formed following the demise of the old Darlington FC in 2012. The old club were relegated from the National League (then Conference Premier) but with the club taken over with the intention of community ownership, the FA opted to relegate them four division and to re-form a phoenix club now named Darlington 1883. Having achieved promotion last season (their third in four seasons) we met for the first time. It was the Quakers who took the points in a 2-1 victory at the LCI Rail Stadium.
Tigers full-back Keiran Thomas who was sent off last weekend at Altrincham in our 1-0 victory will miss out on our trip to the North East through suspension. Chris Knowles returned to the side from injury last weekend and is available.
You can keep up with all the action if you can’t make it to Blackwell Meadows with our live text commentary of the game on our official Twitter ‘@GCAFCOfficial‘ and our Facebook ‘Gloucester City AFC‘. Meanwhile subscribe to our YouTube channel (GCAFCOfficial) for highlights and exclusive interviews from Tim Harris and the squad. There really is nowhere else better to follow your club.