DARLINGTON FC’s failure to win promotion is disappointing for fans but will not hamper efforts to return the club to its home town, says chief executive Martin Jesper.

The Quakers lost 2-0 to Ramsbottom United on Wednesday night - a game which was marred by a small number of home fans exchanging punches with visiting players on the pitch after the final whistle.

No arrests were made however the Football Association is investigating the incident.

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Mr Jesper said the club would be discussing the disorder with the police and officials from the Evo-Stik League.

Commenting on the result, he said: “It’s disappointing for the aspirations of the fans but in the long-term it’s the club’s survival which is paramount.

“There’s quite a risk that on performances alone we might lose some more of the fans if we stay at Heritage Park and this result highlights the need to get back to the town as soon as possible.

“If it takes another season to consolidate the position we are in while getting back in Darlington that’s no bad thing.”

Mr Jesper added: “This is the time we need to stick together.”

Durham Police confirmed there had been minor crowd trouble at the game with a pitch invasion after the final whistle.

No arrests were made and the crowd was dispersed without further incidents, a spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for the Evo-Stik League said the crowd trouble was an issue for the Football Association to deal with initially.

The FA said they were aware of the incident and were investigating.

The FA will also look at manager Martin Gray’s behaviour after he was sent to the stands by the referee for the third time this season.

The football club has agreed a ground-sharing agreement with Darlington RFC, with officials at both clubs hoping the arrangement can be in place ahead of next season.

A planning application for work to prepare the Blackwell Meadows ground for the changes is due to be submitted shortly.