League leaders Darlington showed their title credentials with a workmanlike 3-0 victory over Mossley at Seel Park on Saturday.
The Lilywhites were unable to prevent the Quakers from recording a hugely impressive eleventh successive victory cementing their place at the head of the Evo-stik League Division One North table.
Mossley gave debuts to recent signings Matty Cross and loan player Dominic Marie with Andy Brown and Matty Purcell relegated to the bench.
It was ‘even-stevens’ in the opening phases as Mossley defended solidly to deny the visitors any real scoring chances whilst offering a threat on the break with Andy Keogh and Tom Pratt in particular giving Darlington plenty to think about, but the visitors were resolute in their dangerously effective system as they constantly attempted to turn the Lilywhites defence.
The opening goal came somewhat out of the blue though as a short throw found it’s way to Terry Galbraith on the right edge of the Mossley box and he took a touch before firing a shot that Andy
Farrimond got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Mossley came closest when Charlie Anderson brought a decent diving save out of Peter Jameson with a fine 25 yard half-volley.
Mossley would have been happy to take the one goal deficit into the break but it wasn’t to be. On the stroke of half time David Dowson got onto star player Stephen Thompson’s chipped through ball and drove the ball across goal with Tom Dean the unlucky player to turn the ball into his own net as he raced back to cover.
The goal was a real body blow to the hard working Lilywhites and any hopes of a second half revival were dashed two minutes after the restart. Thompson received the ball to the left of the Mossley box and his cross-cum-shot found the Mossley net as the ball looped over and beyond Farrimond’s reach.
It might have gotten worse for Mossley as Farrimond made a smart save to deny Thompson and David Dowson saw his effort come back off the bar.
Mossley tried hard to get something on the score-sheet and substitute Dougie Carroll twice went close to reducing the arrears, but it was Darlington’s day as their impressive defence held firm to deny the Lilywhites despite the probings’ of Keogh, Pratt, Carroll and fellow substitute Eder Ruiz.