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Dowson at the double
Whitby Town 0 Darlington 2
Darlington got their pre-season schedule off on the right note with a win at Whitby Town today thanks to two goals from David Dowson.
The former Durham City striker bagged a first half brace as Quakers put in an encouraging display to overcome a team from two divisions above them.
A year ago the clubs met in pre-season with Darlington the side two divisions above and recording a 6-1 win, and although the Seasiders are now above Quakers in the league pyramid, the outcome was again an away win.
Dowson put Darlington ahead on 17 minutes, the striker tucking home a neat finish after meeting a cross from the right by triallist right-back Adam Clough, a former Middlesbrough trainee.
He had entered the play as an early substitute when Darren Richardson was substituted with a head wound following an aerial challenge with Whitby striker, Graham Armstrong.
But Richardson, who started a centre-back, was able to return to the field as a substitute late in the game.
In goal for Quakers was triallist Jack Norton, with Chris Porter unavailable, and he pulled off a smart save to stop a header by Whitby centre-back Kevin Burgess, but soon after Dowson added the second goal.
After Chris Emms rode an untidy challenge by Whitby skipper Mark Robinson, the right-winger played a pass in-field to Dowson to rifle home from 18 yards to conclude a fine move.
Another good spell of football, during a first period in which Quakers played some tidy football and were largely on top, saw Emms again feed Dowson, but he was denied a hat-trick as the shot was too close to keeper Ben Escritt.
The second half saw Whitby, manager by former Sunderland defender Darren Williams, field an entirely different XI while Darlington boss Martin Gray also made a number of changes with a handful of triallists fielded.
Darlington-born Steve Johnson, a former Darlington RA and West Auckland forward was sent on as was Josh Gray. He was with Newton Aycliffe last season after being released by Darlington a year ago and was sent on at left-back while former Quakers youth team striker John Alexander was also given 45 minutes.
Midfielder Adrian Webster, with Darlington in 2006-07, also played and enjoyed a decent showing after replacing Marc Ellison who suffered a dead leg.
But Webster will feel he could have done better than to blaze off target when in a good shooting position late on.
That would have made it 3-0 after what had been a less eventful second period in which Whitby had come closest to goal. Nathan Mulligan, with Darlington when they were relegated from the Football League in 2010, hit the upright with a curling effort.
With their The Northern Echo-sponsored kit not yet available, Darlington wore last season’s strip but with the sponsors’ logo, a company belonging to former Raj Singh, having been removed.
They are next in action on Monday evening at Northallerton Town (7.30pm).
Whitby Town 1st half (4-4-2): Escritt; Snook, Burgess, Horn, Robinson; Greener, Hardman, Tait, McTiernan; Armstrong, Hampson.
Whitby Town 2nd half (4-4-2): Penfold; I Hassan, Melish, White, James; Wilson, Portas, Marsay (Emmerson 78), Mulligan; Snaith, C Hassan.
Darlington (4-4-2): Norton (Hobson 46); Harrison (White 83), Arjun Purewal, Richardson (Clough 5), P Gray (J Gray 46); Emms (Johnson 46), Scott (Richardson 77), Ellison (Webster 30), Amar Purewal (Nicholls 46); Clarke (Reay 46), Dowson (Alexander 46).
Referee: S Campbell
*Three ex Darlington players featured for Accrington Stanley as triallists today in their friendly win at Bootle.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, Adam Rundle and James Gray were all involved in the 4-1 win.