The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

Question of the Week

Should the League 2 season be suspended?


Darlo's Ground

Darlington v Grimsby Preview

By: Sam Kinnaird
Date: 20/02/2009

GRIMSBY head to Darlington, a team they have not beaten for 30 years in a league game, knowing they desperately need to buck the trend and get something out of the game to avoid Bournemouth gaining further ground on them.

Home > 2008-2009 Season > Previews > Darlington (a)

The Opposition


Darlington are League Two’s second longest inhabitants, behind only Rochdale after spending 16 years in England’s basement division. This season it looks as though this unwanted statistic could change, with ‘Darlo’ currently 8th as I write with 3 games in hand over the teams around them and only 8 points behind leaders Brentford. The club was formed in 1883 and played at the Feethams ground for 120 years before they moved to the current 25,000 seater Balfour Webnet Darlington Arena in 2003. Chairman George Reynolds built a stadium fit for the Premiership, as this was his long term plan for the club. In 2003 the club was in deep financial trouble and it looked like they might have to sell the shiny new stadium and move back to Feethams, this never materialised and Darlington survived. In 2005 they just missed out on the play-offs, despite chairman Reynolds dubbing his side the ‘Galactico’s’ of League Two. The following season they finished 8th again, and soon into the next season manager David Hodgson was handed his P45. Former Doncaster manager Dave Penney was appointed, an impressive appointment given what he achieved at Rovers. They finished 11th in 2007, with Penney blaming an ‘injury nightmare’ for the league position. In 2008 Darlo were expected to finally escape League Two and bring promotion to the long-suffering fans. The club experienced play-off heartbreak on penalties at the hands of Rochdale, who in the end lost out 3-2 to Stockport in an epic finale to the season. In 2008, Penney began to rebuild his team, with high profile signings such as Billy Clarke, Jason Kennedy, Liam Hatch and Sebastian Carole. They started the season with 2 draws and a defeat but ended that run in spectacular fashion with a 6-0 win at Macclesfield. Since then there have been ups and downs with wins over Bradford, Rotherham and Bury and losses against Bournemouth and Chester.

The Team

The summer brought many new signings for Darlington, with the aforementioned Clarke, Kennedy, Hatch and Carole all arriving. Other additions included Liechtenstein international midfielder Franz Burgmeier who was signed on recommendation by the chairman’s 12 year old son who was impressed by the wingers’ performance in a match against England. In the January transfer window Carlisle striker Danny Carlton was signed on loan until the end of the season as was Wrexham defender Carl Tremarco, and Carole was released on a free. Already at the club were stalwarts such as veteran goalkeeper Andy Oakes, full back Neil Austin, striker Pawel Abbott and midfielder Rob Purdie. Mariners fans will know all about Ricky Ravenhill, whom Darlington signed from Town in 2007. The midfielder had a somewhat quiet and uneventful spell during his time at Grimsby, but for Darlo he has become the mainstay of a promotion challenging side. Striker Greg Blundell has scored a number of goals against Town in his spells at Chester and Doncaster, and will have to be closely marked.

Key Player

34-year-old club captain and central defender Steve Foster was a surprise signing when he arrived from Scunthorpe in the wake of their promotion to the Championship in 2007. He had won the player of the year award at Glanford Park and the decision to drop down 2 divisions was a questionable one. However he wanted to link up with Dave Penney, who he worked with at Doncaster and has become a rock at the heart of the Darlington defence during his 70 or so games since signing. The centre back is strong in the air and reads the game well, he is certainly one of the better defenders in the division. His positioning will make it difficult for Town’s strikers on Saturday, he is part of a defence that is the third best in the league, conceding only 25 goals in 28 games this season.

Recent Form

Currently 21st in League Two.
Currently 8th in League Two.

Top Scorers


Team News


  • Clarke (knock), Sinclair (knee), Stockdale (calf) and Newey (hamstring) have all recovered from their injuries.

  • Only Akpro remains on the injury list.

  • Nathan Jarman is available again after suspension..
  • Liechtenstein international Franz Burgmei and defender Tim Ryan both return from suspension.
  • Squads

    1GKPhil Barnes
    2DFRobbie Stockdale
    3DFTom Newey
    4DFRyan Bennett
    5DFMatthew Heywood (c)
    7MFPeter Till
    8MFPaul Bolland
    9MFAdam Proudlock
    10MFChris Llewellyn
    11MFDanny Boshell
    12DFJamie Clarke
    13GKGary Montgomery
    14MFJames Hunt
    15DFMatthew Bird
    16MFJean-Paul Kalala
    17MFNick Hegarty
    18MFPeter Bore
    19FWDanny North
    20FWAndy Taylor
    21DFJoe Widdowson
    22FWNathan Jar man
    23MFGrant Normington
    25MFRob Atkinson
    26FWJean-Louis Akpa Akpro
    27MFMickael Buscher
    28GKLeigh Overton
    30MFStuart Elliot
    31MFDean Sinclair
    32FWAdrian Forbes
    1GKAndy Oakes
    2DFNeil Austin
    3DFClayton Fortune
    4DFAlan White
    5DFSteve Foster (c)
    6DFIan Miller
    7MFJason Kennedy
    8FWGregg Blundell
    9FWPawel Abbott
    10FWDanny Carlton (on loan from Carlisle United)
    11MFRob Purdie
    12DFRyan Valentine
    13GKPrzemyslaw Kazimierczak
    14MFRicky Ravenhill
    15GKNick Liversedge
    16MFDavid Poole
    17MFAdam Griffin
    18MFFranz Burgmeier
    19MFLewis Hardman
    19DFCarl Tremarco (on loan from Wrexham)
    22GKDean Gerken (on loan from Colchester United)
    23MFRobin Hulbert
    25FWCurtis Main
    26DFJonathan Hewitson
    27MFJosh Gray
    28FWMichael Smith
    29FWLiam Hatch (on loan from Peterborough United)
    30DFTim Ryan
    32MFDan Riley

    Head to Head

    Grimsby beat Darlington in August 1987 in a League Cup game, although they lost the game on aggregate, but they have not beaten the Quakers in a league game for exactly 30 years, despite 11 attempts at doing so. Prior to that the roles were reversed and Grimsby were a bogey team for Darlington.

    P 53 W22D10 L21F 77A63

    Darlington Head-to-Head (42nd on The Opposition Ladder)

    Last Meeting

    Grimsby 2 Darlington 1 (Sat 01st Nov 2008)

    Another defeat in Town's poor run in the first half of this season.



    The Fishy Prediction

    Darlington 1-1 Grimsby Town

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