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Darlington's double hat-trick
Glasshoughton Welfare 1 Darlington 6
Hat-tricks from two different strikers saw Darlington continue their successful pre-season on Saturday at Glasshoughton Welfare.
Three goals apiece from Shaun Reay and Steven Johnson either side of half-time gave Quakers a comprehensive 6-1 win in West Yorkshire where they recorded win number four of the summer.
Glasshoughton are in the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East Football League, the same level as Darlington, but they were no match for Martin Gray’s men who were on top from the start at Leeds Road and took the lead on 15 minutes.
Striker David Dowson saw a shot deflected into the path of Reay to fire home his second goal of pre-season.
Left-back Dan Smith, making his first appearance of pre-season, came close to adding a second when he had a volley tipped over the bar following a nice passage of play involving winger Adam Nicholls and player-maker Marc Ellison.
More fine football made it 2-0 on 37 minutes. An overlapping run from Stephen Harrison led to a cross to Reay who connected first time with a clinical effort.
As well as Smith, also making their first appearances since signing this summer were goalkeeper Chris Porter and defender Sean Gregan, who strolled through the game.
He was dominant in the air, powering headers into opposition territory, and played a couple of precise diagonal balls, and although Porter did not have a shot to save, he was at fault for the hosts’ only goal.
In receiving the ball from Gregan, the keeper got himself into a tangle and allowed striker Kingsley Weatherald in to roll the ball into the net.
But Porter had little else to do, aside from routine catching practice, and Darlington’s two-goal advantage was soon restored with Reay completing his hat-trick three minutes before the break by thumping home when Dowson pulled the ball the ball back from the byline.
Reay was replaced at the break as one of four substitutions and among the replacements was Johnson who wasted no time in getting on the scoresheet himself.
He took a touch to control Chris Emms’ right-wing cross before turning to fire low beyond the Glasshoughton goalkeeper.
At 4-1, there was no way back for the struggling hosts, although Weatherald was unfortunate when he beat Porter with a shot that hit the post.
That chance came just before the hour, and just two minutes later Johnson rifled home Quakers’ fifth goal from the edge of the penalty area after Jamie Clarke had dispossessed a Glasshoughton defender.
Johnson’s third and Darlington’s sixth was arguably the best goal of the day; after a succession of passes deep in the opposition half, Emms played a perfectly-weighted ball over the defence which allowed the striker to coolly round the keeper.
Johnson has been on trial, but bagging a hat-trick after previous eye-catching performances in pre-season means the former West Auckland man is making it difficult for Gray not to offer him a chance with his hometown club.
Also having impressed on trial is midfielder Adam Clough while Adrian Webster was also given another run-out as a second-half substitute.
Striker Danny Mellanby played the final 25 minutes in his first appearance on the summer having returned from a holiday on Saturday morning. Quakers were without Leon Scott and Darren Richardson who are both on holiday.
Next up for Gray’s team is a trip to Durham City on Saturday, August 4 (3pm kick-off).
Darlington (4-4-2): Porter; Harrison, Brown, Gregan (Arjun Purewal 46), Smith (Mellanby 65); Nicholls (Emms 46), Clough, Ellison (Webster 46), Amar Purewal (Gray 56); Dowson (Johnson 46), Reay (Clarke 46).