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Darlington make winning start
Shildon 1 Darlington 3
Darlington got their pre-season schedule off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory at Shildon last night.
Their goals came from Amar Purewal, David Dowson and Stephen Thomson during a match that saw Quakers change almost every outfield player at half-time and give run-outs to several trialists.
Only goalkeeper Craig Turns and trialist defender Jamie Poole played the entire 90 minutes while there were outings for new signings Paul Robinson, Chris Moore and Andy Johnson.
Trialists Rory Prendergast, Dan Riley and Axel Williamson played the first 45 minutes of a sometimes one-paced affair, typical pre-season fodder with both sides showing signs of rustiness.
But both teams did enough to get on the scsoresheet and it was 1-1 at the break.
Purewal scored the club’s final goal of the 2012-13 season and midway through the first half he netted Darlington’s first goal of their friendly fixtures. The striker kept his cool in a one-on-one situation to tuck the ball beyond Louis Graham.
Shildon featured former Darlington players Chris Emms and Darren Richardson, and the latter helped create the equalier on 40 minutes.
Playing at left-back, Richardson’s run into the penalty area led to Turns spilling a shot and new Shildon striker Paul Connor was on hand to tap home.
Johnson, leading scorer in the Northern League for the past two seasons, had a couple of half-chances, but his closest effort ended with the ball sailing over the Shildon crossbar just before the break and that was his last involvement as Darlington made nine changes.
Among the second half side was trialist midfielder Alex Francis, but it was Thompson who made the biggest impact.
He used his strength to dribble through the centre of midfield before playing in Dowson, whose shot rebounded off the post before tapping home the loose ball.
And Thompson completed the scoring with a long-range effort that bounced over the hands of keeper Graham.
Darlington will again field around 20 players in today’s match at Whitby Town (3pm), with new defender Chris Hunter expected to play, but Steven Johnson is still recovering from a knee operation.
Purewal will not face his brother, Arjun, in the hosts’ defence as the Whitby centre-back is to join Blyth Spartans.
Shildon (4-4-2): Graham, Christensen, Jones, Brackstone, Richardson; Harwood, Richmond, Scroggins, Turnbull; Connor, Wood.
Darlington first half (4-4-2): Turns; Mitchell, Brown, Poole, Prendergast; Riley, P Robinson, Galbraith, Williamson; A Johnson, Purewal.
Darlington second half: Turns; J Robinson, Gott, Poole, Scott; Moore, Davis, Francis, Thompson; Dowson, Lowe.
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