In this episode of Extra Time, we feature, Bay Downing & Darren Mullings
In the last of these picture book player profiles we feature two players, one of whom is still with us ….and one who isn’t! The latter appears, and I make no apology for that, because he was very popular with fans, and that was enhanced by his success from the penalty spot – but to start with here’s Darren Mullings in action against Met Police last September. He too scored some important goals, but his main strengths lie in midfield and defence. The more observant amongst you will know why he has a head start in heading the ball!……….
…..but he didn’t always win them all! At Portland though his mere presence on occasion up front must have made opposition defenders very wary.
Bay Downing often found himself in advance of the midfield and liked nothing better than to get forward. He had made a good recovery after a nasty injury and there seemed to be no obvious after effects when he returned to match fitness. In September he scored an early opener against Hartley Wintney (from open play!).
…and here he sticks out a proud chest after his 9th minute strike which set the Whites on the way to a 2-0 win.
And as if to prove a point about getting forward, Bay leaves a defender in his wake at Paulton Rovers in October. Unfortunately Rovers left Salisbury behind to the tune of 4-0, and fans having a wake of a different type after the game.
Mullings is nearly mullered by a flailing Margate boot in the FA Cup game against Margate, but the pain was surely not as acute as that inflicted by the 2-4 loss. Darren is a brave soul, and proved that later in the season when he played on through the type of injury that may have had kept some lesser players sidelined for a season.
Bay was in amongst the tense action against Taunton and was on the winning side on that evening……
….just as he was with the October victory over Harrow Borough.
It got slightly worse though as the Whites were held at home to struggling Dorchester in the FA Trophy, but in spite of that Bay pulled it back to 2-2, again from open play, the match ending 3-3.
At Farnborough in November he showed willing in trying his luck, but neither side got really lucky in a 0-0 stalemate.
Better was to follow in the FA Trophy as King’s Langley were dumped out in the next match.
Strange how the fixtures fall sometimes, and at Hayes and Yeading Darren had loads of space to attack the ball, but the only attack that counted came from the home side as they won the league game 1-0.
Revenge is often sweet, and seven days after the league meeting came another game against United, with the Whites going through by the odd goal in seven. Darren started things going, giving his team a 13th minute lead.
Just four minutes later Bay added to the tally…….
… and here appears almost to be saying “Told you so.”
Darren did his best at Walton on the last day of November, but a disappointing defeat meant a wasted trip to the Xcel Sports Hub in Surrey.
A tough game followed in early December at home to Blackfield & Langley. December is the start of the pantomime season and this picture gives rise to the thought “Where? Behind you!”, but all was not as it appears. The 1-1 result however WAS all it appears – a physical stalemate, if you forget the injuries sustained before and during the 90+ minutes. For the Whites a draw certainly wasn’t the worst outcome.
Darren is seen here in action at Eastbourne Borough in the FA Trophy – the first of the two ties ending up at 2-2.
No matter how many times some people are put on the spot, there are some who don’t feel the pressure, and Bay didn’t disappoint. Looking at the images the style is very consistent, and there may be some keepers who wish they had done some homework to get a foretaste of the kick! However, most finishes were hit with sufficient venom and good direction to give keepers little chance, and a success rate of 5 from 5 says it all.
One such success was all that much sweeter as it came against Poole Town, equalised a Marvin Brooks opener, and saw Salisbury on the way to a 2-1 win.
As if losing players to long term injuries earlier in the season was not enough, like buses along came another one, to dampen the spirits after the Poole game. Yet another shoulder injury, all too familiar to Callum Hart – head bowed in sympathy. That injury was to keep Darren out of action until February, when he returned against Truro City. Maybe he wished he hadn’t as he was probably not fully recovered, and the Whites lost the game 3-0!
For Bay, it was a happier Christmas as he netted from the spot against Wimborne in the 78th minute on Boxing Day.
Strangely enough, it was again the 78th minute when Bay hit the spot, from the spot, once more, getting the winner in a tight 3-2 win over Chesham United.
Not so happy in the New Year though, and this was one of many tough challenges in a tough game against Wiltshire rivals Swindon Supermarine, as the Whites succumbed 2-0 at home…….
…….but the relief of the 5-0 romp at Dorchester a week later probably dulled the memory of the not so super Supermarine result.
Darren was not in action against Tiverton, the Wiltshire Premier Shield against Swindon Town, and away at Met Police, but returned against Truro. Here he is attempting to block a Truro effort, but I’ve no idea whether he managed to avert the danger. It was not for lack of trying though.
Darren played his part to complete a season double over Hendon, but a completely uneventful game at Gosport saw the Whites share the spoils as they did at Harrow before the season came to an abrupt end. To finish as I began, one of these two players is still with us, and one isn’t. Darren has committed for another season and has extra duties, but maybe he would like to be put on the spot with one more job – penalty kick responsibility – just a thought!
All images are reproduced by kind permission of our photographers,
Michael Berkeley and Roger Elliott and are copyright, so they should not be reproduced. Please seek agreement should you wish to do so, by contacting our Press Officer Alec Hayter on email@example.com or on 07884 477168 when any requests can be forwarded. The Club would like to thank Michael and Roger for the images, Alec for some of the words, and Ian Pearson for his website expertise, as part of the effort to alleviate football withdrawal symptoms! Roll on next kick off!
We recently had a video chat with Darren Mullings. You can see that interview here…
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