10:38am Tuesday 15th March 2011
By Craig Stoddart
Darlington are gearing up for their third successive meeting against Gateshead with manager Mark Cooper warning that changes will be made if his team's knack of concededing goals at corners continues.
Although Quakers have the third best defensive record in the Blue Square Bet Premier, they have leaked goals from set-pieces in recent matches.
In each of the two games with Gateshead over the last week Darlington have conceded at a corner, while Cooper was also frustrated with the defending in the build-up to the first goal in Saturday's 3-2 win.
The Heed's Nathan Fisher opened the scoring in the FA Trophy tie at The Northern Echo Arena after Quakers' Paul Arnison was unable to deal with a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area.
"For the first goal, Arni just had to head the ball away and the second was another corner," said Cooper. "We probably defended 5,000 corners in training since last Tuesday's league game.
"In training when we worked on corners everybody knew who they would be marking, but it comes down to desire. I know that if I or Richard Dryden had been playing Gateshead wouldn't have scored the first goal because I'd have headed it away.
"My teams have never given away goals. I watched last week's game a few times and it's not something you can put your finger, it's all about your player wanting to make sure their man will not score by getting their head on the ball.
"It's a mentality thing and you want your players saying â€˜I'm going to head the ball and the man I'm marking is not going to score'. We've got to get that mentality into the club and the squad.
"People are out of contract in the summer and this has got to stop happening otherwise people will be replaced."
Darlington will be backed by a large following at Gateshead on Saturday and tickets are available now.
Admission was only going to be on the day, but Quakers have secured a number of tickets to buy in advance.
They are available from the Arena main reception between 9am and 5pm today and tomorrow, while they will be for sale between 9am and 7pm on Thursday.
They will also be available 9am to 12noon on Friday, after which no advance sales will be available. However, supporters wil still be able to pay on the gate at Gateshead.
Tickets are £13 adults, £8 over-60s/concessions and £2 under-16s with a full-paying adult (£8 for unaccompanied under-16s).
Meanwhile, Quakers could drop a place to tenth in the table this evening as Grimsby Town play against Rushden in one of seven Blue Square Bet Premier matches.
While Darlington were beating Gateshead on Saturday they fell a place and lost ground on fifth-placed Kidderminster who pulled off a surprise win at AFC Wimbledon.
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