Darlington are celebrating their first silverware of the 2018/19 season after lifting the #NonLeagueChallenge trophy.
The National League North outfit raced to an extraordinary 6-1 victory on Sunday against the Marathonbet #NonLeagueChallenge Legends, managed by England 1966 hero Sir Geoff Hurst, who also presented Darlington with their trophy.
A host of former Premier League and international stars including Jay-Jay Okocha, Yakubu George Boateng, Danny Mills and Jeremie Aliadiere arrived at Darlington’s Blackwell Meadows ground looking to prove the old adage that class is permanent by sealing this year’s silverware. Casting their eye over the game were two broadcasting titans, tallkSPORT’s Ian Abrahams and former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson.
— #NonLeagueChallenge (@NonLgeChallenge) July 31, 2018
The Legends started well with some nice early touches, but Darlington’s superior match sharpness began to show as Reece Styche opened the scoring after six minutes to open the floodgates for the home side.
Darlo showed no mercy in the first half, despite some impressive goalkeeping from Legends keeper Russell Hoult, with the Quakers going four goals to the good at the break.
Two more goals from Styche ensured Darlo’s NLC-winning hero would walk away with the match ball, and a superb effort from Thompson capped off a fine first half for the Quakers.
£10,000 was raised at half time for the match’s official charity partner, St Teresa’s Hospice with Darlington officials and fans, Marathonbet staff and Legend Jay-Jay Okocha stepping up to the plate to take penalties against former Darlo and Sunderland keeper David Preece.
— #NonLeagueChallenge (@NonLgeChallenge) July 29, 2018
After the break, the Legends briefly threatened a remarkable comeback with Okocha pulling one back from the penalty spot, but a revolving Darlo team of club officials, former players and fans managed to hold out for a comfortable 6-1 victory.
Congratulations to Darlington on an extraordinary performance and for winning the 2018 Non League Challenge trophy!
Visit the #NonLeagueChallenge website to find out more about this year’s game.