`You're Twisting My Melon, Man…' Shaun Ryder, Little Hulton poet.
OMG! As the sun blazed down on the pitch yesterday the players' shirts were the most dazzling thing on display – Darlington 1883 in their pink grapefruit coloured away kit and Salford City in their more serene tangerine jerseys. Each shirt on its own is not too gaudy but chuck them all together in the Salford bowl of Moor Lane, with a pudding of a referee, and it's a trifle harsh on the eyes.
Darlington 1883 is the name of the new team that sprung from the ashes of the old Darlington league team that went bust a few years ago – and it looks like they're having revenge on the football community with those shirts.
Even so, like Chester and Halifax before them, the Quakers are heading back in the direction of the Football League, having won the Northern League by a record 122 points before gaining promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North which they're also lighting up, courtesy of their colours.
The ex-league teams always canter through these lower leagues as they have big followings. And the North East team certainly had a big following in Salford yesterday – a very big following, judging by their beer guts. One group of bellied drinkers on the touchline didn't actually start singing until they were pissed enough – like, as the final whistle went.
But these were definitely third rate North Easterners – they didn't even go topless. Which was just as well, what with the sight of them and the colour salad clash going off on the pitch, everyone would have been reaching for the sick bags…
Meanwhile, in the background to all this was a football match. The first half saw a tense, even battle as a peach of a shot from Aaron Swift forced the Darlington keeper to make a smart save, and the ref failed to spot a blatant handball which would have given the Ammies a penalty and the chance to take the lead. Down the other end, Salford's centre backs Aaron Walters and Otis Gorman were squashing Darlo's frequent attacks. Half time 0-0.
Loads of the Quakers' fans were still in the bar when Darlington took the lead after just 35 seconds of the second half, a cross shot from the right hitting a Salford player and deflecting into the net. 0-1. A slice of luck added to the fruit salad clash.
Darlington seemed to gain confidence from the lead, and once left back Danny Browne had gone off injured and his position taken by top Salford playmaker Nelson Mota, that was almost the end of the Ammies as a force. And there were still forty minutes to play.
Darlington extended their lead in the 70th minute with a plum shot from outside the area by their winger who could have gutted a mango in the time he was given before lining it up. 0-2.
Salford hit back and Nathan Bond blazed over the bar with a great chance to make it 1-2 but the team seemed to lose heart after that. Darlington took control and ended comfortable winners, although the hard working Ammies defence wouldn't allow them to put a cherry on the jelly with a third goal.
No sour grapes, Darlington were the better team on the day. Salford got their just desserts.
Next up Mossley away on Tuesday night, followed by Norwich Victoria away in the FA Trophy next Saturday.
Photos by Gareth Lyons and Andrew Goudie