MATCH PREVIEW | Darlington vs Spennymoor Town

Andrew Johnson celebrates his goal against Salford during Saturday’s 1-1 draw. Photo courtesy of David Nelson

The bank holiday weekend action continues 48 hours on from Moors 1-1 stalemate with title favourites Salford City, as Jason Ainsley’s high flying side make the short trip to Blackwell Meadows to face rivals Darlington.

Spennymoor were denied all three points on Saturday after a unfortunate late own-goal from Shane Henry, while Darlington could only muster a point away at struggling North Ferriby after surrendering an early lead.

Two points separate the sides going into the much anticipated fixture, with the home side looking for their first victory in three games after collecting maximum points from their first three matches of the campaign. Moors face their fourth game in the space of ten days after picking up four points from a possible seven against testing opposition.

It’s been over two years since the sides last met in a competitive fixture, with Darlington coming out on top in the Evo-Stik First Division North Play-Off Semi Final, winning 3-2 in a thrilling encounter. Much has changed since then, and the fact both side’s now apply their trade at this level is a testament to both clubs.

Andrew Johnson struck his fourth goal of the season against Salford on Saturday, displaying his ability to be in the right place at the right time to convert Christopher Chantler’s ball across the box. He will be one of the key men as the battle of the North-East clubs looms.

SPENNYMOOR TEAM NEWS:

James Curtis is available after serving his one match suspension against Salford.

There are doubts over the fitness of Ryan Hall after he missed Saturday’s game.

VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX:

“Another afternoon at The Brewery Field and another memorable occasion! The visit of Salford City once again showcased the enormous leaps the club have taken in recent times. Speaking of enormous, I’ve never seen a team with so many players over 6 foot! Moors did well to cope with the aerial presence and I think a point was a fair reflection overall.”

“With part one of the bank holiday weekend double over, focus now turns to Monday afternoon…and what a game it promises to be! This will be my first derby occasion with Spennymoor, so I am excited to see the passion and intensity on and off the pitch. Derbies are always one-off affairs in my eyes, so I think it will all boil down to who fights the hardest on the day.”

“Moors have already showcased that ability to fight and defend for their lives this season, so that should be no issue for Ainsley’s men. The form of Glen Taylor and Andrew Johnson so far this season has been key, but the performance of Dan Lowson against Salford proved how vital he is. Without him, Moors wouldn’t have accumulated as many points so far this season.”

“Whatever happens on Monday, it’s sure to be a great day and occasion. Here’s to a safe match for everyone. Enjoy it and let’s get those bragging rights!”

one to watch: josh gilles

Josh Gilles in action. Photo courtesy of Darlington Football Club

A North-East journeyman, Josh Gilles joined Darlington last summer from Gateshead and has enjoyed one of the strongest starts to a season in his career. The midfielder has already netted four times this season, netting the opener against North Ferriby on Saturday, along with strikes against Alfreton town and Gainsborough Trinity.

The midfielder had a two year spell at Football League outfit Carlisle United in 2013, but he struggled to make an impact and was sent out on loan to Cambridge United, FC Halifax Town and Gateshead, before making a permenant switch to The Tynesiders in 2015 for his second spell with the club.

In his first spell with Gateshead, he was top scorer for them with 15 goals in the 2012-13 season. His performances earned him two England C caps.

MANAGERS VIEW:

“It’s great for the whole town, supporters and players. I would have taken a point against Salford if you offered it to me before the game on Saturday, but we need to be better prepared going into the game against Darlington. There’s no nerves, just excitement.”