Darlington 1 Newcastle United XI 5

Darlington manager Martin Gray had a few harsh words with his players after their defeat by a Newcastle second string on their temporary return to The Northern Arena.

Gray expected better from his players following a promising start to pre-season, and he was annoyed with their collective defending in the first half, when Newcastle didn’t need to do a great deal to go three goals in front.

Quakers showed some spirit to get back into the game and give the Darlington fans in the 2,725 crowd something to cheer about in the club’s first encounter in the town for four years.

“From a manager’s point of view, I didn’t learn much from the game at all,” he said. “It wasn’t good enough. From my point of view, I always want better, and as much as we got a lot of minutes out of it and some fitness out of it, we’ve got to be a lot better than that come the season.

“I thought some of Newcastle’s play was excellent, and they made us work really, really hard. If there was anything we gained out of the game it was fitness, and that would be about it.

“The defeat has hurt me, I don’t want that sort of performance happening again. It’s not acceptable. Last season has gone. We’ve got to be better prepared, we must use the ball better, work harder and have better discipline off the ball.”

Newcastle had two half chances before they took the lead on six minutes, when left back Kyle Cameron crossed for Gael Bigirimana to help the ball on for Slovenian international Haris Vukic to shoot against the post, but he beat defender Gary Brown to the rebound.

It was 2-0 on 12 minutes, when Brown was penalised for a foul on Vukic 30 yards out, and Ivan Toney curled the free kick over the wall into the bottom left hand corner.

Vukic nearly caught keeper Peter Jameson off his line with an attempt from 40 yards, before Brown came to his side’s rescue with an acrobatic clearance on the line.

Jameson blocked shots from Toney and Vukic, before Quakers spurned a great chance when Amar Purewal left a Phil Turnbull pass inside the box to give Liam Hardy a clear chance, but he pulled wide from ten yards.

The inevitable Newcastle third came on 40 minutes. Callum Roberts wasn’t picked up when he made a diagonal run into the box, and he hit the post but the ball bounced off Liam Marrs into the net.

Quakers pulled a goal back on 45 minutes, but it won’t have done much to quell the manager’s mood. Newcastle keeper Nathan Harker was penalised for handball outside of his area, and Lewis Nightingale curled the free kick into the box for Hardy to glance in.

Newcastle made several half time changes for the second half, and Jameson was left exposed when substitute Lubo Satka headed in unmarked.

Substitutions were made en masse, and one of the Newcastle subs, Flaviola Silva, tried his luck from the edge of the box, but Jameson saved easily.

However, Sean Longstaff sliced through the defence, played a one-two with Silva and easily beat Jameson for the fifth.

Quakers’ are at the Arena tomorrow night when they face a Sunderland XI.

Darlington: Jameson, Marrs (H Scott 61), Watson, Turnbull, Burgess, Brown, Nightingale (Mitchell 55), Portas (Gaskell 55), Hardy (Cartman 55), Purewal (Nowakowski 55), Thompson. Subs (not used): Bell, Lovegreen

Newcastle XI: Harker, Newberry (Broccoli 45), Cameron (Gilhesphey 45), Bigirimana, Williams (Ward 60), Good (Findlay 45), Gilliead (Longstaff 60), Barlaser (Silva 60), Toney (Holmes 60), Vukic (Yasinelmneny 45), Roberts (Charman 60)