HARVEY SAUNDERS caught the eye with a well-taken goal as Darlington returned to action with their first pre-season friendly, the striker scoring on target in a tough encounter with Motherwell.

The Well ran out for 5-1 winners at Blackwell Meadows yesterday, the Scottish club going 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes of a one-sided first half on a hot and humid afternoon.

It was 3-0 by half-time, and the visitors added two more in the final ten minutes – including one by former Quaker Ryan Bowman – by which point Darlington had sent on a handful of teenagers.

But Saunders’ goal early in the second half showed a glimpse of what he is capable of, holding off a defender on the right wing before determinedly running at goal and unleashing a precise finish with the outside of his right boot.

Manager Tommy Wright rates Saunders highly and said: “I’m probably his biggest fan, I really believe him and today he has also impressed a Scottish premiership manager.

“Harvey is going in the right direction and if he keeps learning and putting it into practice he will get his rewards.

“Today I saw a fired up teenager, he’s developing, he’s learning and he’s turning into a man.”

Wright revealed that at full-time Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson asked about the player, whose physique has developed since he made his debut 18 months ago.

Wright added: “He’s been on a weights programme for six months, so he’s working hard away from the club, but he also listens.

“He is so coachable, everything you to say to him he takes on board and if there’s anything he’s not sure about he’ll ask.

“He constantly wants my attention and he wants to work and I love that. He’s got all the attributes and he wants to tighten it all up and put it all together.

“He makes me proud when he plays like that. I was delighted with his goal because he deserved it because of his work ethic and that will give him huge confidence.”

“He was a thorn in their side, and their manager asked for his name after the game. It’s interesting, because before the game he was saying he needs a new striker, and the after the game he’s asking about Harvey!

“He had a little bit of training at the end of last season, they want to see him again, so the kids is doing something right.

“He’s exciting, he’s piecing his game together and he’s getting stronger and stronger.”

Darlington had an unfamiliar look about them as they gave a run-out to all of their new signings, while they also wore their new all-yellow away kit for the first time.

Motherwell’s goals came from Cedric Kipre, ex-Gateshead striker Danny Johnson, Allan Campbell, Bowman and 17-year-old James Scott.

The Well were without Curtis Main, the former Darlington striker, for personal reasons, but they did include three former Hartlepool United players: Trevor Carson, Liam Donnelly and Peter Hartley.

Quakers have another run out tomorrow evening when they host Sunderland, who will play their first friendly of pre-season under new manager Jack Ross.

It is not all-ticket and fans will be able to pay on the gate. Prices are £10 adults, £8 concessions, £5 for Under 16s and free for Under 11s.

Darlington: Maddison, Collins, Burn, Galbraith, Trotman, Hughes, Syers, Nicholson, O’Hanlon, Ainge, Saunders. Substitutes: Glover, Bancroft (gk), Wheatley, Vaulks, Parnaby, Henshall, Coburn, Dunn, Moncur, Banks, Alderson.

Motherwell: Carson, Taylor-Sinclair, Kipre, Hartley, Donnelly, Gorrin, Rose, Campbell, Grimshaw, Johnson, Bowman. Substitutes: Gillespie, Frear, Dunne, McHugh, McGuire, Turnbull, Scott, Newell, Bigirimana, Brown

Attendance: 802