11:24pm Wednesday 13th November 2013
By Ray Simpson
Darlington's Doodson Sport Cup tie did not attract many fans to Heritage Park, but it was well worth the trip for those that attended as Quakers scored two cracking goals in a comfortable morale-boosting 5-1 win against their Premier Division opponents.
There was an interesting confrontation to look forward to for the crowd of 309, with Darlington striker Amar Purewal up against his brother and former Quakers team-mate Arjun in the centre of the Blyth Spartans defence.
And it was Amar who got the better of his twin as he scored one of five second-half goals.
The home side nearly took the lead after just two minutes when Blyth keeper Conor Grant could only punch an inswinging corner by Steve Thompson from the left as far as Jonny Davis, who blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
David Dowson then broke through on the end of a Curtis Edwards pass, but Grant blocked his shot, and from the other side of the area, Thompson fired over the top.
Blyth gave a debut to Paul Robinson, who has signed from Darlington, and were content to soak up the pressure against the wind.
Their first real chance came on 36 minutes when there was a scramble in the six yard box when Peter Jameson could not hold on to the ball, and Arran Wearmouth's effort from ten yards along the ground was cleared off the line by Leon Scott.
The best chance of the half came on the stroke of half time when Amar Purewal got through on the end of a Thompson ball, but under pressure from his brother and keeper, poked the ball wide.
Quakers scored their first goal at home for three games on 51 minutes when Dowson cleverly laid the ball off for Thompson, who returned the it perfectly into the path of Dowson who cleverly lifted a right foot shot over Grant into the net.
Blyth could have levelled almost immediately, when Wearmouth was given a clear chance six yards out, but he took a second touch which allowed the Darlington defence to clear.
However, Quakers gave themselves some breathing space on 59 minutes when Amar Purewal burst down the right, and without breaking stride hit a rocket from a tight angle into the top left hand corner of the net for one of the best Darlington goals of the season so far.
And it was all over on 63 minutes when former Darlington Joe Kendrick nodded a harmless looking cross from the right past his stranded keeper. Kendrick only scored once for Quakers in two seasons at Darlington.
Blyth's Craig Hubbard put some life back into the game on 75 minutes when he scored from a left wing cross, but a powerful run by Thompson down the right ended with him laying the ball on a plate for Nathan Fisher to tap in for 4-1.
And youngster Lewis Turner got his name on the scoresheet when he was left with an easy tap in from a Steven Johnson pass.
Darlington manager Martin Gray said: "The important thing was to return to winning ways and not go three games defeated. We were very positive and very much on the front foot throughout."
The regionalised draw for the next round is made tomorrow, with the game to be played in the first week of December.
* Martin Gray will be guest speaker at the November meeting of the Bishop Auckland Referees' Association at Heritage Park on November 21, at 7.30pm.
* Darlington striker Nathan Thomas is spending the week on trial at Sheffield Wednesday.
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