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Quakers parade trialists
Darlington will hand another opportunity to their trialists in this evening's friendly at Northallerton Town following Saturday's encouraging 2-0 win at Whitby Town.
Two first-half goals from David Dowson secured a victory against a team from two divisions above Darlington, who gave run-outs to former Quakers Jack Norton, Adrian Webster, Josh Gray, and John Alexander. All have been training with Darlington and manager Martin Gray gave them some minutes at Whitby.
Dowson opened the scoring on 17 minutes with a neat finish at the near post following a cross by Adam Clough, a trialist who began his career at Middlesbrough. The 24-year-old has since played in the Northern League and in Australia.
Midfielder Marc Ellison was replaced by Webster after 30 minutes after suffering dead leg. Soon after his exit came Dowson's second goal, a blast from the edge of the penalty area after a pass by right-winger Chris Emms.
The closest Whitby came to a goal was in the second half, when the hosts played a different XI from the first 45 minutes, with Nathan Mulligan hitting the post.
Gray was pleased with Quakers' first pre-season friendly, saying: "The signs were really encouraging. I asked the players to work hard, to use the game as a fitness session, and that's what they did.
"The midfield four and the front two put Whitby under pressure.
"From there, we moved the ball around well and played some nice football. It was encouraging, but we're not getting too carried away. You'd rather play well, but fitness and being organised is more important. David Dowson got two goals purely because of his work ethic. He won the ball back, got into the box and got his rewards."
Trialist goalkeeper Norton came through Quakers' youth ranks before being released in 2006, midfielder Adrian Webster was with the club in 2006-07, Josh Gray was released a year ago and Alexander was a youth team striker when the club were at Feethams.
Goalkeeper Dale Hobson, Clough, defender Andy White and ex-West Auckland forward Steve Johnson may also feature again this evening, but Gray intends to start with a strong XI at Northallerton (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).