LIAM HATCH has left Darlington to join Sunderland RCA in the Northern League.

Earlier this month the 33-year-old striker was transfer-listed by the club for a second time, despite penning a 12-month contract at the end of last season, which concluded with Hatch back in the fold having been out of favour for a spell midway through the season.

He came off the bench to score the crucial headed goal, with his first touch, which levelled the scores at 2-2 in the play-off semi-final against Spennymoor Town.

His standing in the squad has since changed, however, and manager Martin Gray was happy to see the former pro leave a club with which he enjoyed some highs as well as lows since first joining on loan from Peterborough United in 2008.

That was under Dave Penney when Quakers were in the Football League and going for promotion from League Two. He joined on a permanent basis in 2011 - by which time the club had dropped into the Conference - in time to play in the FA Trophy final win at Wembley against Mansfield Town.

He was used as a stand-in centre-back that day, but his preferred position was as a rampaging forward, putting defenders under pressure and winning aerial balls.

It was while playing up front he enjoyed arguably his greatest Darlington day, scoring two memorable goals in the Trophy semi-final against Gateshead, helping the team recover from being 2-0 down to a dramatic 3-2 win.

Born in Hitchin but now based in Middlesbrough, Hatch signed for Gateshead in 2012, moving at the same time as Jamie Chandler in the midst of Quakers’ financial troubles, before returning a year ago, though his impact was limited with Gray preferring to use him as a substitute.

A rare start saw him sent off for violent conduct in an FA Trophy tie away to St Neots before Christmas, after which he appeared to be on his way out of the club with Gray transfer-listing him for the first time and not selecting him in the squad.

He was back in contention by the end of the campaign, however, and the goal against Spennymoor was key to Quakers' promotion.

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Sunderland RCA have paid a fee, while Darlington also stand to make a small sum when captain Gary Brown leaves having last week asked to go on the transfer list due to family reasons. He is due to join a Northern League club.

With a gap at right-back now needing to be filled, Gray will look at trialists this Saturday away to Harrogate RA (3pm).

The game was arranged as part of Nathan Cartman’s transfer to Darlington in January and will see the striker face his former club, as will winger Rob Youhill who has since made the same move up the A1.

Meanwhile, while Quakers’ boss is mulling over how to replace Brown, he is also looking to appoint a teacher to work within the Martin Gray Football Academy.

His company have expanded and now aims to provide football coaching as well as an education and learning programme.

The position will be in the Co Durham area, and Gray said: “We want to appoint a qualified and enthusiastic primary teacher.

We offer an opportunity for something radical, exciting and different which will improve engagement, enhance learning and enrich the life of each individual child in school.

“We are looking for someone with enthusiasm and a commitment to raising student achievement. The post represents a genuine career opportunity for the successful candidate who should have drive, initiative and excellent interpersonal skills.

“Our aim is to provide professional football coaching and a successful education and learning programme of support by working in partnership with the MGFA which promotes an ethos of social and personal development and achievement in children.

“This is a unique career opportunity”

To apply send a CV and a letter of application to: Graham Hodgson, MGFA Operations Manager, Eastbourne Sports Complex, Bourne Ave, Darlington DL1 1LJ, or email The closing date is Monday.

*Darlington’s game with York City on Monday will now kick off at 7.30pm at Heritage Park. It has been move back 30 minutes.

Admission prices at the turnstiles are adults £10, concession £6 and all under 16s will be admitted free.

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