Darlington battle to hard-earned win

The Northern Echo: ON THE SCORESHEET: David Dowson ON THE SCORESHEET: David Dowson

Full-time: Ossett Albion 2 Darlington 3

Darlington made it seven wins in a row away from home with a 3-2 win at Ossett Albion.

They were not at their best and were made to battle all the way by a determined side, who defied their bottom-of-the-table position.

They had lost their eight previous home league games, but took a shock lead on six minutes with Darol Lucas credited with the goal, though it took a major deflection off Joe Tait.

Lucas’s 20-yard effort may have been on target, but Tait’s intervention saw the ball loop high into the air and over Mark Bell.

Ossett’s goal came a minute after hitting the post. Ryan Harrison’s deep cross from the left was met by Lucas, who took the ball down sublimely and then with his second touch hit the woodwork.

The home side side’s good start rocked Quakers, who did not settle inside the first 45 minutes. They could not get a foot on the ball, while Ossett denied them space and were happy to get men behind the ball.

The pitch did not helping either, the heavily-sanded surface had cut up badly.

Darlington needed a good start to the second half, but that they actually got was the perfect way to restart play, soon going 2-1 up and the hosts had a man sent off.

The red card came first, Wes Milnes seeing red for fouling a goal-bound David Dowson. There may have been a covering defender, but the centre-back had few complaints as he trudged off.

Within two minutes it was 1-1, Alan White scoring with a close-range header and soon Quakers held the lead with Dowson scoring his tenth goal of the season.

He converted into an empty net after Amar Purewal's first shot was saved.

Stephen Thompson did not enjoy his best game, something typified when he rounded the keeper and went down looking for a penalty, but the Darlington forward was instead booked for dissent.

He kept trying, though, flashing an effort wide of the far post and within seconds ran at goal from a central area but keeper Adam Rhodes dealt easily with the tame effort.

There was a bizarre moment midway through the second half when Ossett Albion’s Liam Schofield was booked for diving, despite appearing to be being clattered by Darlington defender Chris Hunter.

Quakers had a grip on the game, but needed a third goal to give themselves some breathing space and it finally came in the 87th minute.

Substitute Nathan Fisher rounded the keeper and slotted home after Purewal's flick-on, giving Quakers some breathing space as Ossett had come on strong in the last few minutes.

They continued to push and pulled a goal back deep into injury-time, Tyrone Gay heading home at close-range after a free-kick, but Darlington closed the game out to seal a hard-earned win.

Goals: Lucas (6, 1-0); White (49, 1-1), Dowson (54, 1-2), Fisher (87, 1-3); Gay (90, 2-3)
Bookings: Birch (30, foul); Thompson (52, dissent); Schofield (73, simulation); Hunter (81, foul)
Sending-off: Milnes (47, professional foul)
Referee: Luke Watson
Attendance: 527
Ossett Albion: Rhodes, Nicholson, Schofield, Holt, Milnes, Birch, Lucas, Gay, Henson (Muller 77), Grech-Brooksbank, Harrison. Subs (not used): Noble, Muller, Hitch, Walsh
Darlington: Bell; Harrison, Hunter, White, Galbraith; Robinson, Tait, Hopson; Thompson (Davis 71); Dowson (Fisher 66), Purewal. Subs (not used): Jameson (gk), Weldon, Johnson

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