Monday, 30 August 2010

Ground 129: Brinkburn Road, Darlington Railway Athletic

The second match of our Northern League double-header took us a few miles further down the A68 to Darlington Railway Athletic, where the visitors were promotion favourites and early season table-toppers Guisborough Town.

Arriving early, we watched the cricket on the next-door pitch and did a loop of the paved path that circles the stadium. There are covered stands behind both goals, the bigger one with red plastic seats, the smaller just three wooden railway sleepers.

The home side started like a train (sorry), smacking the bar in the first two minutes. "Lads, we need to wake up," bellowed the Guisborough manager. "This is fucking rubbish," agreed the number three. "Howzat?" roared the fielding team on the cricket pitch, celebrating the fall of yet another wicket.

It took Guisborough until half time to start hitting their stride - forty-five minutes in which Railway, lacking only a final ball, had been marginally the better side. But once the visitors took the lead early in the second half there was only going to be one winner. The second came from a cleverly worked free-kick, taken while the Darlington defence were busy debating whether or not to "Get out", and though Railway eventually pulled a goal back with a shot that squirmed under the keeper's body, they never really looked like adding a second.

Admission: £3 (cheapest in the Northern League)
Date: 30th August 2010

The main stand

One way of discouraging wayward shots

The cheap seats

This is how you photograph a football stand

Checking the teams

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