Darlington 1, Swansea 2

Darlington finally met their match when their six-game winning run was brought to an end by a classy Swansea.

Darlington finally met their match when their six-game winning run was brought to an end by a classy Swansea.

The home side had the better of the first half, and had they taken their chances it might have been a different story against the League One opponents.

Martin Smith put Darlo ahead after just two minutes with his eighth goal of the season. He was on hand to fire home after the ball broke to him following Simon Johnson's run towards the penalty area.

But Swansea levelled at 13 minutes, after an accurate throw from keeper Willy Gueret to release Lee Turndle.

Darlington full-back David Juke chased him up the right flank but couldn't stop the Swansea star switching the ball to his favoured left foot. He delivered a perfect cross to the far post for Leon Britton to fire high into the net.

Darlington rallied and created several chances but couldn't find the killer touch.

Alun Armstrong should have done better than head over the bar from Smith's pin-point cross. Then on 38 minutes, midfielder Micky Cummins saw his 20-yard volley hit the bar.

But Swansea took control in the second half. The pace and trickery of Britton enabled a string of quick attacks, though it took a mistake from Darlington defender Craig James for Swansea to go in front.

He gave the ball away and when skipper Darren Pratley's shot was blocked by Sam Russell, Andy Robinson was on hand to turn the ball in on 51 minutes.

Cummings scuffed a shot at Gueret from Wainwright's cross and again Darlington were made to pay when substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa fired in off the post 10 minutes from time.

Even after that Darlington missed a good chance when Armstrong failed to turn in Carlos Logan's cross.

But Darlington manager Dave Penney was up-beat after his first defeat in his seven games in charge.

"If we had been battered I would have had to sit back and take stock, but we gave as good as we got.

"But we knew this would be a tough game and didn't defend as well as we can."


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer