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Warrington Town open Evo-Stik Division One North season with defeat to Darlington
10:49am Monday 19th August 2013 in Football
WARRINGTON Town fell to defeat on the opening day of the season, going down 2-0 to much-fancied Darlington.
Goals either side of half time helped the home side to a relatively comfortable victory in miserable wet and windy conditions at Bishop Auckland's Heritage Park.
Town started positively and had the ball in the net within five minutes, only for Ben Wharton to be ruled offside having slid the ball past goalkeeper Mark Bell.
Darlington, who gained promotion as champions last year in their first season as a reformed club, slowly took control of the game, and winger Stephen Thompson was a constant threat on the left hand side, tormenting first Phil Davies, and then Michael Kennedy after the two full-backs switched sides midway through the first half.
It was just after the midway point of the first half that Darlington scored the opening goal, Jonny Davis curling in to the far corner after David Dowson laid him off on the edge of the box.
The goal came in the middle of a period of sustained pressure from the home side, and it took a double save from Craig Dootson to keep the score at 1-0, first saving from Thompson's shot and then the subsequent headed rebound from Amar Purewal.
Thompson nearly doubled Darlington's advantage at the start of the second half, forcing a fine save from Dootson, as they continued from where they left off before half time.
Darlington centre-back Jordan Robinson then dragged a shot wide, before a foul by earned the home side a free kick around 35 yards out.
On came substitute Andy Johnson, and he ran straight in to the box, and powered home a header from Terry Galbraith's subsequent free kick with his first touch to make it 2-0.
As the game approached the hour mark, Warrington continued to struggle to gain a foothold in the match.
The introduction of Chris Gahgan, on for Liam Dawson, injected some life in to the visitors, but not enough to drag them back in to the game.
The only real chance mustered of note was a low shot by captain David Mannix, which was comfortably saved by Bell in the Darlington goal, with both Wharton and Ciaran Kilheeney left frustrated with a lack of service up front.
As the heavens opened, leaving the travelling Warrington fans drenched in defeat, Darlington closed out the game to earn them three points in the first game of the new season.
Warrington: Dootson, Davies, Kennedy, Dogan, McCarten, Robinson, Kilheeney, Mannix, Wharton, Dawson, West. Subs: Gahgan (for Dawson), Greenwood (for Dogan), Mooney, Newby, Millington (for West).
Darlington: Bell, Hunter, Weldon, Davis, Robinson, Scott, Moore, Galbraith, Dowson, Thompson, Purewal. Subs: Johnson, Turns, Robinson, Gott, Hedley.