MARTIN GRAY'S final game as Darlington manager was a sad but familiar story of missed chances, writes ray simpson.

They were beaten 1-0 at the Tameside Stadium in what was something of a repeat of the away draw at North Ferriby earlier in the season, when they had so many chances that they should have had the points wrapped up by half-time.

On that occasion, Ferriby punished Quakers and snatched a point they didn’t really deserve; on this occasion, Curzon sub Tyrrell MacKenzie scored a delightful winner that stunned Quakers – no wonder everyone was speechless afterwards.

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Gray wouldn’t speak to the media as he was so upset and you could understand why, considering the quality of the chances that went begging.

The chances came and went with painful regularity. Mark Beck headed wide from six yards early on, then David Ferguson crossed for Stephen Thompson to also head wide.

Quakers completely dominated the play, with Curzon unable to get the ball out of their own half at times, but even though their approach play was measured and assured, they lost their composure in and around the penalty area.

And that was demonstrated when Thompson pounced on a poor clearance, charged into the box and, with a goal looking inevitable, he blazed the ball over the top.

The pattern was the same in the second half. Thompson had a shot blocked, then Ferguson again crossed from the left for Beck to head wide.

It was perhaps inevitable after all that good play and missed chances that Curzon would break away and snatch a winner. Quakers seemed to have got away with it when Richard Baker missed two good chances, but with two minutes left, sub McKenzie, out on the right, looked up and curled a left-foot shot over Bartlett into the net.

Darlington: Bartlett, Marrs, Collins, Galbraith, Ferguson, Turnbull, Gillies (Saunders 75), Wheatley, Dawson (Portas 57), Beck, Thompson (Cartman 59). Subs (not used): Wilczynski, Scott.

Attendance: 292