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Moore bites back to earn Gray's praise
Final Score: Ossett Town 1 Darlington 6
AS part of the team that won at Wembley in 2011, Chris Moore is already assured of his place in Darlington folklore.
Whereas Ian Miller was the one who lifted the FA Trophy, Chris Senior scored the winning goal and Jamie Chandler was man of the match, Moore is remembered as 'the one who had his teeth knocked out'.
Early in the final against Mansfield Town, an accidental collision resulted in a trip to a dental hospital in Newcastle the next day. He admitted recently to being frustrated at being defined for such an ignominious moment - he'd rather be known for his achievements with the ball at his feet.
Moore may never fully shake off that toothless image from Wembley, but on Saturday he showed what he is capable of with a fine display and two goals as Darlington overwhelmed Ossett Town with another emphatic performance.
Moore's brace helped give Quakers an unassailable 5-0 led at half-time in the preliminary round of the Trophy, and they went on to win 6-1, three days after beating Ossett Albion 7-0, when they were also five goals ahead at the break.
As in midweek, Martin Gray's men were good value for a victory that gives them a tie at Buxton a week on Saturday
Gray said: "The FA Trophy is very important to this club and we want to go as far as we can in this competition.
"It means a lot to the supporters and it was part of my team talk before the game. We've got Chris Moore in that dressing room who lost teeth in that final, he's played a part in a big day for this club."
Moore's first goal, drilled home from the edge of the penalty area after a Stephen Thompson pass, made it 3-0 just before the half-hour, but it was his second that really caught the eye. After David Dowson and Amar Purewal caused problems in the penalty area, the ball broke to Darlington's right-winger, who bent the ball beautifully into the net to make it 5-0.
"I thought his performance was great," added Gray. "He is getting back to what he's capable of.
"For me, it was his best performance since he returned to the club.
"He should be playing like that all of the time, the calibre of player he is.
"He frustrates the life out of me because he's got so much ability and there are times you look at him and think he shouldn't be down at this level.
"But that's wide players for you, they can be inconsistent."
Thompson, on the opposite flank, had an inconsistent first half that saw him waste opportunities, such as firing off target a handful of times and blasting a so-called cross out for a throw on the far side, but the rampaging forward also set up two goals.
The first put Darlington ahead on five minutes. Thompson ran at the back-peddling defence before seeing his shot diverted to Dowson, who reacted quickest to tuck home.
In the build-up to the goal the play-maker, who did a lot of defensive work on Saturday, had dribbled 60 yards after Terry Galbraith had tackled Luke Sharry in the Quakers penalty area, and it was a Galbraith corner on 14 minutes that teed up Alan White to make it 2-0 with his first goal since returning to the club.
Ossett saw little of Quakers' goal as Mark Bell was well protected, although James Eyles did have a shot tipped over by the goalkeeper.
After Moore made it 3-0, dominant Darlington soon had a fourth from Purewal, his eighth of the season, after good work by Dowson, who pulled the ball back from the byline.
Moore takes on Ossett Town left-back Steven Jeff
Unlike in midweek, when Darlington scored twice more in the second period, Saturday's second 45 minutes was more low key, but few would complain, given the standard of the past three performances.
The recovery from losing 3-0 at Ramsbottom has been impressive, starting a week ago with a solid 2-0 win at Salford City.
Ossett Town may find some consolation in that, unlike their rivals Albion, they managed to score against Quakers, Eyles side-footing home on 62 minutes after meeting Steven Jeff's left-wing cross.
Darlington had the last word in injury time, however, substitute Paul Robinson making it 6-1 by demonstrating fine technique, volleying across the keeper from just inside the penalty area.
Gray added: "Chris Moore's second goal was the pick of the bunch, but Paul Robinson's was excellent. He's been threatening to do that for a while, so I was pleased for him.
"We just continued from Wednesday. That had been my biggest concern, that we could be complacent.
"Today was a test because we were playing against a team that finished in the top half of the division last season, had a good win in midweek and hadn't lost in nine games. Plus, the pitch wasn't great, the sort that can make a fool of you, and not what we're used to playing on at home, but the players just got on with it.
"The lads' confidence is so high, nothing bothers them at the minute."
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