Durham City AFC 1 - 5 Farringdon Detached
Saturday 7th January- 2pm - Wearside League - Leyburn Grove
It was Durham City's 'first' home game under the new management and committee and they played against a tough Farringdon Detached side. Whilst Farringdon had struggled for consistency, they came into this fixture winning their last two games.
Wayne Gredziak and his coaching staff have been working hard since their last game against Norton & Stockton on 2nd December. Bringing new players into the club, building cohesion and familiarity, working on fitness and tactics and getting them prepared for the game over the Christmas period. A 3-4-1-2 tactic was deployed and six new players made their debuts.
From the first whistle, Durham showed fight and determination to not be outplayed and to take the game to Farringdon. Farringdon started off the stronger of the two in the opening 5-10 minutes, however, the Citizens defence stood strong and were able to push forward to intercept a pass or dispossess a Farringdon player before they got into a dangerous area. When Durham gained possession back, they were quick to spring a counter attack with new players Craig Megson and Lennox Magahaels becoming real attacking threats out on the wings, particularly Lennox who has joined the club on a dual registration from Sunderland West End. Continuously he was creating on the right wing, dribbling past players, knowing when to go back, knowing when to play it forward and used the speed and skills in his repertoire to his advantage.
Despite the energetic showing from Durham, they made sure not to get caught out and when they lost possession themselves, they worked hard to get the ball back and players were supporting each other in filling in positions which may have been left and doubling up on marking. Farringdon however still remained in the game and made it difficult for the Citizens, particularly down the left wing . They had a few opportunities in front of goal, but none tested Jamie Crookhall in goal and most chances they had were put over the bar or stopped with some brilliant defensive blocks.
The lads performed excellently and the game was still 0-0 in the 40th minute, with the hopes they could keep this up until half time or perhaps even take the lead. A surprise perhaps to many supporters or followers, who have become so used to Durham losing by double figures. But, this Durham side was much improved, even just from their last competitive fixture. Just competing with Farringdon was a huge positive.
Unfortunately however, just before half time and in the 42nd minute, Farringdon took the lead. Against the run of play, Durham found themselves caught too high up the pitch and after being dispossessed of the ball, Farringdon attacked down the left wing and sent in a delicious cross into the box for a teammate to head into the goal. It was a towering header and there was nothing Crookhall could have done from such as short distance and with that much power.
The lads tried to keep their heads up and proceeded to attack Farringdon again in the hopes that they could bring it back level before half-time. Despite their best efforts, Farringdon made it 2-0 when their player was brought down from behind in the box and their player truly dispatched it into the top right corner. Again, nothing Crookhall could've done to stop it.
The referee blew his whistle to signal half time not long after and it was a shame that Durham found themselves 2-0 down after a brilliant and competitive first half. However, Farringdon took the chances they had and dispatched the opportunities well. No complaints
A quick break ensued and the fans were left wondering what the management must have said as straight after the whistle blew for the second half, Durham came flying out of the blocks. In the 46th minute, Durham gained a lifeline, when Curtis Layfield struck the ball from just outside the box after some great build up play and slotted it neatly into the bottom left corner and past the outstretched Farringdon keeper.
Belief and determination were clear to see and Durham once again, were trying to take the game to Farringdon and made a good account for themselves. The lads continued to attack and get forward over the next 10-15 minutes, with three good opportunities. One, a header just over the bar, another which was the keeper calmly collected and the last which forced the Farringdon keeper into a brilliant save to tip it round the post.
But unfortunately, this is when Durham seemed to run out of steam and fatigue and lack of competitive match fitness and experience crept in, to which Farringdon took full advantage. In the 62nd minute, the opponents made it 3-1, again against the run of play. Farringdons wingers were a handful in the second half and the lads just couldn't find a way to handle them.
It was then 4-1, 15 minutes later when Jamie Crookhall found himself beaten at the nearpost and by the 77th minute, it was 5-1 after a beautifuly weighted ball was lofted into the box for a Farringdon player to smash in on the half volley.
Despite the scoreline and goals scored in quick succession, Durham still continued to fight towards the end and still had opportunities on goal, with one once again being turned round the post by the Farringdon keeper. However, it wasn't enough to bring the goal advantage down. Durham performed admirably and speaking to some fans after the game, the score wasn't a true reflection of the game, however, Farringdon were brilliant during that 15-20 minute spell and made the most of their chances. The better team won. But, the display by the Citizens provides positive encouragement and hope going forward.