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Dowson the difference as Quakers beat Aycliffe
DARLINGTON boss Martin Gray admitted his strike pairing made the difference after watching his side beat Newton Aycliffe 1-0 last night.
Quakers recorded their second successive win at Heritage Park, but it was a difficult night for the hosts as Aycliffe battled from start to finish.
David Dowson scored the only goal of the game in the 77th minute after pouncing on a mistake from Aycliffe keeper Stephen Richardson.
Gray, who signed Durham City striker Stephen Thompson this week, had two of his other forwards to thank after a tireless display.
Dowson, along with strike partner Amar Purewal caused the visitors countless problems throughout and Quakers boss admitted they had made the difference on a difficult night.
“The work rate from Dowson got us the goal. It was probably our worst chance of the night,” said Gray. “He got it because he wanted to get in there and involved. That’s what he’s about.
“He does it in the first minute and the 90th minute and he wears centre halves down. It’s nice for another forward to get another goal.
“Him and Amar are a handful.
They cleared balls off the line and created chances. The keeper made a few good saves, but they worked hard. You can’t have enough goals if you want to be challenging at the top and having them will help us.
“It was hard work. You’ve got to give teams like Aycliffe credit. They gave it a real good go they had two or three really good chances during the game.
“There’s many times we’re going to come up against teams that make things difficult but it was pleasing for us to keep going.”
After Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing off Consett , Quakers picked up where they left off with a positive start.
Amar Purewal’s flick on sent Dowson free just inside the Aycliffe half. The former Durham City striker knocked it past Josh Knox before taking on Darren Craddock and Mark Peck to set himself up for a shot, but Aycliffe keeper Stephen Richardson was able to punch the ball clear.
The positive start continued with the hosts dominating possession and they felt aggrieved when Amar Purewal had a low finish chalked off when the linesman rasied his flag for offside.
Purewal was at the centre of Quakers’ play going forward with his pace and agility causing Aycliffe’s back line several problems.
However, for all they had dominated the early stages Darlington just couldn’t find the breakthrough and the longer time passed without a goal, the more Aycliffe came in to the game.
Their first real effort eventually came from Knox’s longrange effort, which almost left Quakers keeper Jack Norton red-faced after he casually let the ball go only for it to bounce off the bar.
The chance gave Aycliffe promise, but they were limited to pressing on the break.
Up the other end Amar Purewal continued to cause problems and after Adam Nicholls headed the ball down, the striker drove a low shot inches wide of Richardson’s post.
Moments later there were shouts for a home penalty when Amar Purewal was bundled over after a tussle with Mark Peck, but referee Paul Keogh waved away their protests to Aycliffe’s relief.
Gray would have been disappointed his side weren’t ahead at the break, but after play had got back under way Aycliffe should have taken the lead when Fred Woodhouse blasted over the bar from six yards out. It was a huge let off for the hosts.
Aycliffe almost taking the lead seemed to wake Darlington up and Amar Purewal was again denied the opener when his overhead kick was headed off the line by Aycliffe captain Sean Tarling.
Tempers flared during a fiery few minutes in which three players – Marc Ellison for the hosts, Woodhouse and Martin Young for Aycliffe – were booked in separate incidents.
The stoppages in play weren’t helping either team, but Quakers were still threatening and saw another effort ruled out for offside when Dowson attempted to lob Richardson.
Both he and Purewal had worked tirelessly throughout and the former was finally rewarded in the 77th minute when under pressure from Dowson, Richardson dropped the ball 16 yards out to leave the striker free to head the ball into an empty net.
Aycliffe had a chance to equalise at the death, but Daniel Earl couldn’t direct his shot under the bar.