DARLINGTON have continued their summer recruitment drive with the double signing of goalkeeper Tommy Taylor and defender Lexus Beeden.

Taylor joins Quakers following his release from Buxton, having spent a season with the Northern Premier League club.

The 28-year-old started his career in the youth system at Sheffield Wednesday before joining Brighouse in 2011. He has played for Halifax Town and Farsley as well as spending time at Scarborough Athletic, where he was a team-mate of former Darlington captain Kevin Burgess and helped the North Yorkshire club win promotion from EvoStik First Division North.

Darlington boss Alun Armstrong said: “Tommy wants to play at a higher level than what he’s been playing at in recent years, and we’re happy to give him that opportunity.

“He’s got plenty of experience, has a big presence, and is a real character. We have needed a voice at the back, and he will provide it.

“Scarborough speak really highly of him, and his agent believes that he is one of the best non-league keepers in the country. I have been given other good reports.”

Beeden, a 21-year-old centre-half, joins from National League South side Welling, with Darlington having been alerted to his possible availability after he had an unsuccessful trial at Middlesbrough.

A tall, athletic central defender, Beeden started his career at Tooting and Mitcham and was picked up by Reading in 2019. He played in the Royals’ Under-23s team, and joined Welling following his departure from the Madejski Stadium.

He had a trial at Middlesbrough’s Rockliffe Park training complex last season, and while that did not result in a contract with the Teessiders, it ultimately paved the way for a move to the North-East.

Armstrong said: “I was alerted to Lexus by Craig Liddle at Middlesbrough, and Lexus came along and had a couple of training sessions with us.

“Lexus has been on trial at clubs in the National League South, but he wants to test himself in the National League North, which is a stronger league. He’s prepared to relocate to this area, and not travel up and down the country.

“He’s a big lad, who is very good in the air, and will give us a presence at the back – something which we’ve lacked at times in the last two years.”