Sean Longstaff shot home at the north end
of the ground 1-0
11mins Striker Ivan Toney
doubled the lead with a neat feint and shot 2-0
Scott Fenwick beat Nathan Harker with a low angled effort 2-1
Half time: Quakers 1 Magpies 2
Full time: Quakers 1 Magpies 2
Peter Beardsley told the official
"We started brilliantly, scored two
goals and could have had a third. We created some chances, and played some
lovely football. The result is almost irrelevant really Ė itís all about
fitness at this stage. But weíd rather win than lose Ė thatís common sense
Ė so itíll bring a bit of confidence.
"I thought the first half team were really good, and could have been more
ahead. Itís not easy, as I said to them at half time, when you change the
whole team, which was obviously the plan we had. But a winís a win, and the
most important thing is that everyone got 45 minutes.
"To be fair, Darlington are amazing to us, but the pitch isnít perfect
Ėitís a rugby pitch, so itís not a football pitch as such. But they looked
after us last year, theyíve looked after us this year, so itís always nice
"Callum Smith gave a great pass for the first goal, and then Ivan did a
great bit of skill for the second. Ivan looked really sharp, and I can
understand, watching that, why people keep taking him on loan. Heís got great
ability, heís a great kid with great attitude and loves training, and it shows
in the way he plays.
"I thought Stefan (O'Connor) was really good in the first half, and
that was probably when we were at our best and to be fair to Josef (Yarney),
he was very solid, very powerful and probably what we thought he would be.
"We had 20 outfield players that played tonight, and two keepers. Weíve
got another eight to come, and then Callum Roberts and Victor (Fernandez)
who are with the first team in Ireland.
"Itís brilliant for them. Rafaís done this before (taken players
from the U23s), and continues to do it, and itís great for them to have a
week with them. Itíll be good for them to get to know a few of them.
"Callum went out to Kilmarnock (on loan last season) probably at the
wrong time for him, as he might have got a chance in the first team earlier, but
heís away with them now, and hopefully itíll go well.
"Itíll be great for him and Victor to be around that group. Itíll be a
brilliant experience for them.Ē
Magpies @ Northern Echo Arena:
This was our fourth Arena visit since debuting here for a reserve fixture in 2004 and losing 1-4.
First team kickabouts were then staged here in 2009 - when United won 7-2 -
and two years later in 2011, when our 2-0 victory was overshadowed by a
ridiculous pitch invasion.
And 12 months ago in 2016, Peter Beardsley's U23 side ran out 5-1
winners here in pre-season.
Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):
Dan Barlaser 45=45
Kyle Cameron 45=45
Luke Charman 45=45
Juan Cumbrera (aka Juanito) 45=45
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni 45=45
Stuart Findlay 45=45
Owen Gallacher 45=45
Macaulay Gillesphey 45=45
Curtis Good 45=45
Nathan Harker 45=45
Jack Hunter 45=45
Otto Huuhtanen 45=45
Ben Kitchen 45=45
Sean Longstaff 45=45
Michael Newberry 45=45
Stefan O'Connor 45=45
Callum Smith 45=45
Liam Smith 45=45
Ivan Toney 45=45
Dan Ward 45=45
Callum Williams 45=45
Yosef Yarney 45=45
12 months after a 5-1 victory here, United's reserve side returned to the Northern Echo Arena on Monday
night - but proved not to be quite so prolific in front of goal second time
Debuting their blue away kit and with recent arrival Stefan O'Connor in the
starting lineup, the Magpies quickly got into their stride, Sean Longstaff and
Ivan Toney both reprising their 2016 scoring exploits at this venue.
Back after a loan spell at Kilmarnock, Longstaff shot United
ahead on eight minutes after receiving a low centre from Callum Smith on the
left, and taking a touch before finishing from 14 yards.
On a glorious night that lead was doubled just three minutes later, as
O'Connor's ball into the box from the left was taken by Toney with his back to
goal. The striker's dummy shook off marker Chris Hunter and gave him the space to
turn and convert a rising shot for what was a carbon copy of an effort while
out on loan at Scunthorpe United last season.
Returning to their former home for one night only, Darlo should have been
three down on 24 minutes when Peter Jameson's mishit clearance fell straight to
Toney and the goalkeeper took his legs away.
However the visiting number 9 lined up awkwardly and his sent his poorly-struck spot
kick straight at the 'keeper, who was able to block with ease.
A third goal did follow soon after but it was the Quakers who got it, Nathan Cartman's
strong forward run ending with a ball across the box for trialist striker
Scott Fenwick to
The lively Toney then rolled a
shot against the base of the post after making space in the box on 41
minutes, before Darlington's trialist scorer had the ball in the net again just on half-time - but was flagged offside.
A different Magpies XI took to the field for the second period,
with new acquisition Josef Yarney appearing in a back four that lined up in
front of 17 year-old Finnish goalkeeper, Otto Huuhtanen.
The Quakers also made multiple changes as the game progressed and became
increasingly dominate, although United created a handful of chances without
scoring again - Liam Smith and Owen Gallacher both finding Jameson with shots
after bearing down on goal.
Darlington thought they'd equalised with 13 minutes left when Jordan
Richards curled in a free-kick from the left that eluded everyone including
Huuhtanen - only for a raised flag to rightly curtail celebrations again.
And an ill-advised backpass on 79 minutes almost cost United dear, Huuhtanen
surrendering possession as a substitute chased him down, but recovered
enough to disrupt the shot before Yarney cleared off the
However there was no more scoring in what was a decent enough contest for a
kickabout on what is a rugby pitch that meant some variable bounce and a
crater where the centre spot should be.
Despite losing, narrowing the margin of defeat from 12 months ago and
generally looking more competitive left home fans optimistic of improving on
last season - when a playoff place was denied them due to issues with their
Blackwell Meadows home.
Mowden Park rugby club - and their Geordie Chairman - made what is now their
home available so that tonight's game could be staged, while work on the pitch
and spectator facilities at Blackwell Meadows continues.
Peter Beardsley's side now move on to face National League neighbours
Gateshead at the International Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm).