Highs and lows: Darlington 1 AFC Telford United 2

National League North: Darlington 1 AFC Telford United 2

Darlington's Jarrett Rivers on the attack AFC Telford United. Picture: Ryan Jones

After Darlington suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to AFC Telford United yesterday, Craig Stoddart reflects on the highs and lows of his day.

HIGHS

Back in the Hunt
Great to see the defender back at Blackwell Meadows four days after such a worrying incident. Hunt and Darlington therapist Danny O’Connor shared a hug close to the dugouts when they saw each other 45 minutes before kick-off, the defender having been tended to by the likeable medic after being knocked unconscious in the latter stages of Tuesday’s game with Boston United.

Nicky Hunt with Darlington therapist Danny O’Connor on Saturday. Picture: Andy Futers

Sizzling Sousa
Tricky winger Erico Sousa sometimes glided through the opposition’s half, showing a combination of balance and close control that will make him an asset to the team. Telford defenders Lee Vaughan and Theo Streete were kept occupied by Sousa, who scored his first Darlington goal to make it 1-1.

Erico Sousa after scoring for Darlington on Saturday. Picture: Andy Futers

Stuart’s generosity
Quaker TV commentator Stuart Armstrong pulled out all the stops with a selection of grub for those behind scenes on Darlington’s TV channel. The former Eastbourne School pupil turned globetrotting consultant for a healthcare company demonstrated he has not lost the common touch, raiding a local bakers en route to Blackwell and providing a selection of treats for the lads. Rumours that Kevin Luff stuffed his bag with sausage rolls are unconfirmed.

Graphics seen
On-screen graphics were debuted by Quaker TV, providing viewers additional information such as the number of fouls, shots on/off target as well as detailing substitutions. It’s another step forward for the burgeoning broadcasters, who attracted more than 1,000 subscribers on Saturday despite some halfwit being let loose on co-commentary.

LOWS

Darlington’s defending
“We were a soft touch,” is how the always-honest Alun Armstrong summed up his team’s lack of aggression in the centre of defence, where Hunt was sorely missed. Granted, it was Louis Laing’s first competitive start for eight months, but more was expected and it would not be a surprise to see more personnel changes on Tuesday at Guiseley.

No cover drive
It’s occasionally rumoured that extra cover will be installed above the balcony at Blackwell Meadows, specifically for those in the media, and never was it needed more than on Saturday when the amount of rain steadily increased throughout the afternoon. As they focused on filming the action, the crew’s expensive cameras and computers risked being ruined by the weather.

No pizza the action
You’ve just got home after being out in the cold all afternoon, the rain is teeming down and your team has lost, so the last thing you need when you open your fridge is to discover that the pizza you were going to have for tea is past its best and has mould on it. Disaster. Absolute disaster. Roll on Guiseley on Tuesday.

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