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More to come from Quakers
The Ebac Northern League’s top four are all in action this evening with league leaders Darlington hoping to widen the gap on second-place Spennymoor when they travel to Penrith.
They hold a six-point lead over Moors who are at Ashington, but are yet to concede a goal or drop a point in their eight league matches.
Their impressive form means Darlington can ill afford any more slip-ups such as last month’s 4-1 defeat at Guisborough, since when Martin Gray’s team have won six successive league games.
The run has seen Quakers score 20 goals, five of which came in Saturday’s win over Newcastle Benfield, which was a victory soured slightly by individual mistakes that cost two goals. In contrast to Spenymoor, Quakers have conceded ten goals in their 11 matches.
Benfield’s goals came midway through the second half when Darlington were looking good to add to their 4-0 scoreline, and Gray said: “When you’re 4-0 up you’ve got to enjoy it and you want your players to play with freedom then.
“If they can go and get five or six goals then great, but they need to keep a clean sheet too. That was the only negative.“
But people shouldn’t look at the negatives too much because that was a really good performance.
“That’s the standard I want us to play at, and even better than that, on a regular basis. I’ve said before that there’s more to come, and there still is more to come.”
Striker Stephen Thompson created two of Quakers’ goals, both for Amar Purewal, and he was among the players that Gray singled out for praise.
“He’s hard to play against when he’s like that,” said the manager. “He causes problems by dropping deep, he’ll go wide, he’ll go high up and he’s not selfish either.
“It was nice to be able to bring him off with 20 minutes to go and rest him for Tuesday.
“It’s also good to get Steven Johnson back in the squad and to see him come on off the bench and score again. It was great composure to bring the ball down and, chip the keeper and slot it in.”
This evening’s opponents, Penrith, are 18th having lost four of their seven games and on Saturday they drew 2-2 at home to Dunston.
Third-placed Bedlington, 11 points off Darlington, are also away tonight, at sixth-top Hebburn, while fourth-placed Sunderland RCA are at home to Team Northumbria.