Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quakers Unable to Match New Home

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quakers Unable to Match New Home

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

They may have its best stadium, but Darlington are the Third Division's worst side after this ground-opening defeat at the Reynolds Arena.

A second successive league reverse leaves the Quakers at the bottom of the table after a performance which had many of the 11,000-plus fans who came to their side's new home heading for the exits long before the final whistle.

The danger of such a fantastic setting, as manager Mick Tait had warned in the build-up to Saturday's curtain raiser, is that visiting sides would enjoy playing there more than Darlington do.

And so it proved. Kidderminster buzzed around in contrast to a Darlington side who appeared as though they were not only playing in their new home for the first time, but also with each other.

Static and devoid of flair, this was the sort of embarrassing start to life after the move from Feethams the club could have done without.

Having managed to attract a crowd almost four times the size of last season's average, the fear after such a disappointing first appearance at the Reynolds Area is that many will not bother coming for the visit of Leyton Orient on Bank Holiday Monday.

That would be a shame as the buzz around the stadium before a kick-off delayed by 15 minutes to allow the thousands of extra fans to filter in through the turnstiles must have brought goosepimples to every Quakers' stalwart.

There is no doubting the magnificence of the Reynolds Arena but, unless performances improve, the quality of the stadium will be wasted.

There are those who questioned club chairman George Reynolds' wisdom in putting stadium construction ahead of squad building, but there is little point arguing over that now.

Reynolds and Tait will be hoping Saturday was just an grand opening day glitch and it did appear as though Darlington were suffering from a severe case of stage fright.

But Tait was in no mood to defend his players.

He said: "It's a big disappointment on a big day.

"I was disappointed with the way the players performed, especially when you compare that to how we played at Bradford City in midweek. …

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