Quite frankly, even when it was 11 v. 11, Darlington looked the better team and Ricketts's dismissal merely compounded the problem. I didn't see the off-the-ball incident (along, I guess, with 99% of those fans howling for the referee's blood) so I can't comment on it but the referee was very close to it. We may see more on tv or Virgin Media.
Our back line looked very uncertain against a slick moving Quakers' forward line and we were guilty of many wild, late tackles. Admittedly, a couple of the Darlington players appeared to have difficulty remaining vertical, at times, but, by and large, the fouls that we conceded were correct decisions. In contrast, we did carve out a few chances but the finishing was awful.
Ince - o.k. and couldn't be faulted for the goals
Palmer - useful utility performance at full-back and then in midfield in the closing stages
Gerrard - usual display, solid tackling, poor distribution
Roberts - I have yet to be convinced by this guy. He has little physical presence and does not dominate
Sansara - an encouraging performance
Nicholls - disappointing; promised a lot but delivered little
Hughes - steady and getting better as he gets fitter
Taundry - better than he has been recently and switched with Palmer in the closing stages
Zaaboub - I was beginning to despair of ever seeing him take on and beat his opponent until he actually did it - once! A cracking shot on the end of it, too.
Ibehre - won MotM; very impressed with his work rate and his ability to hold off and beat defenders but his finishing was awful
Ricketts - scored the goal, missed an absolute sitter, got sent off (I don't know why but I suspect that it was for elbowing Ravenhill in the face)
Reich - looked good when he came on
Smith - an improvement on Roberts when he replaced him
Deeney - not on long enough to pass an opinion - involved in fracas with a spectator at the final whistle
A big talking point will be the uselessness of our stewards when the Darlington coach threw a bottle of water into the stand in celebrating their 2nd goal. If a spectator had done that, he would have been ejected immediately, received a life ban and an appearance in the Magistrates' Court. What did our stewards, barely 3 yards from the incident, bedecked in their hi-vis jackets and radio transceivers, do? Absolutely nothing!!! Quite disgraceful.