Sunday, March 21, 2010

Durham perform miracles

Edited from: The Independent

It has been an astonishing week for Durham City, who began it with a record of 28 defeats from 28 games in the Unibond Premier League, only to win twice in four days. The club's season had been ruined in advance when the major sponsor and consequently the first-team squad all left after being told they were not eligible for promotion because they have an artificial pitch (Outside the Box, 20 December). Fielding a team of youngsters every week, they finally broke their duck last Saturday by winning 2-1 away to the Manchester United rebel supporters' team, FC United. In front of a crowd of more than 2,000, Durham came from behind and held on as the goalkeeper Rhys Jobling saved a penalty. FC United were so stunned that their website, which lists matches as W, D or L put "D 1-2". Then on Tuesday came an even more extraordinary game at home to Whitby, the FA Vase holders featured here last week after their three floodlight failures this season. Whitby were rabbits in headlights this time, dazzled by conceding three goals in the first seven minutes and eventually beaten 4-3. The two results have left Durham a mere 23 points behind at the bottom of the table on nought points, having been deducted six for fielding an ineligible player; a penalty that their website, presumably in the interests of morale, ignores.