THE first pre-season friendly of Darlington’s summer ended in a 3-0 win for Scottish Premier League club Motherwell, though manager Alun Armstrong was pleased with this side’s showing in the sunshine at Blackwell Meadows.

Over recent weeks the new boss has built a squad almost from scratch, and their first outing together gave a glimpse of their qualities.

There were promising patterns of play for the first hour of the contest, though Quakers were affected by a glut of second half substitutions on a day that saw Armstrong give a run-out to 18 different players.

Eight of the starting line-up being new signings, including midfielder Will Hatfield, who has agreed to join from Guiseley.

Also in the starting XI were Chris Elliott, Jordan Watson, Louis Laing, David Atkinson, Jarrett Rivers, Adam Campbell and Jamie Holmes.

Laing enjoyed an assured performance, looking strong in the heart of defence, while Hatfield made his presence felt in midfield.

Of last season’s squad, Luke Trotman and Stephen Thompson started, while Omar Holness was included as a trialist.

Motherwell included new signing Devante Cole, son of Andy, and he had the first shot of the day, saved by Quakers keeper Elliott, who was with Spennymoor Town last season.

But a sliced kick by Elliott handed Motherwell a corner from which the took a first-half lead, a close-range finish by Christopher Long after scramble in the six-yard box.

And just before half-time it was 2-0, Liam Donnelly rifling home a low, well-struck shot from a central position after patient build-up play.

Darlington stuck with starting XI at the beginning of the second half, and soon after the restart Hatfield stung the palms of Mark Gillespie, while left-back Watson was also denied by the goalkeeper.

There was a glut of substitutions with both teams making wholesale changes at various stages during the second half, as is standard procedure in these games, and as the match continued Motherwell took a greater grip on proceedings.

The final goal was scored by Jamie Semple in the 86th minute, Motherwell’s teenage substitute seeing a shot deflected in after a free-kick that was conceded by Jonny Burn.

Darlington: Elliott; Trotman, Laing, Atkinson, Watson (Burn 75); Rivers (Tehvan 60), Hatfield (Stansfield 78), Holness (Halliday 75), Holmes (Lingthep 70); Campbell (Scott 65), Thompson (Bell 70). Subs (not used): Hall (gk), Morrison, Stansfield, Bascome

Motherwell: Gillespie, Tait, Gallagher, Carroll, Hartley, Polworth, Donnelly, Campbell, Long, Hylton, Cole. Subs: Carson, Morrison, Grimshaw, Devine, Dunne, Livingstone, Maguire