Quakers have learned lessons from defeats

The Advertiser Series: LESSONS LEARNT: Martin Gray LESSONS LEARNT: Martin Gray

Darlington appear to be back on track after putting together four league wins, and the previous poor run of form may have been a factor in assisting Quakers' resurgence.

That's the verdict of manager Martin Gray, who recently saw his team record only one win during a miserable six game run.

A shift in formation and personnel has been successful in crafting a four-game winning run ahead of tomorrow's crunch clash with Bamber Bridge.

The second-placed side visit Heritage Park, a week after Quakers beat top-of-the-table Warrington Town 4-1 with a display streets ahead of Darlington's poor performances at home to Ramsbottom and Northwich last month.

Gray said: "It sounds crazy, but maybe it takes a couple of results to get everybody switched on again and it reminds you that you've got to keep standards high.

"Sometimes you've got to look at yourself. You learn a lot more in defeat.

"Sometimes cracks can be glossed over when you've won, so what's been good is that we spotted weaknesses and have responded well."

Last Saturday's win boosted goal difference against a team that had previously conceded only 14 goals in 19 league games, with David Dowson and Amar Purewal each on the scoresheet twice with finishes that impressed Gray.

"The difference was the quality of our finishing, which was excellent," said the manager, who is likely to field an unchanged team tomorrow.

"All four goals weren't scuffy, they were well-taken team goals and there was individual quality on the ball.

"It was good to see David get a couple of goals and the balls into the box for Amar were excellent, there was quality on those crosses, but he still had a lot of work to do and he took the goals well.

"Forwards live on the confidence they get from scoring goals. It just gives David that little bit of self belief he needs.

"It was another three points which gives us the incentive to push on towards where we want to go."

With left-back Paul Weldon now available after missing several months with a knee injury and goalkeeper Mark Bell having shaken off a calf problem, Gray can choose from a fully-fit squad aside from long-term absentee Gary Brown.

The manager added: "We had a lot of experiences players out there last week, and then we had players like Dale Hopson and Nathan Fisher who came on and gave us a spark, plus it was nice to see Paul Weldon back on the pitch after injury.

"As a squad, we've got good competition for places now.

"The goal we conceded was annoying, but I'm sticking to the positives. It was very good performance - we had a team of winners out there."

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