Darlington this week admitted their ambition to build a new ground faces further delays, with the news coming almost 21 years to the day since they left what many supporters still regard as their real home.

A 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient on May 3, 2003, was when The Quakers said an emotional farewell to Feethams, a day on which many former players were invited for a special occasion.

A pre-match parade saw Ron Greener, Colin Sinclair, Kevan Smith and many more heroes from yesteryear step onto the pitch for one final time, and they would witness another fans’ favourite earn his place in Darlington folklore.

Neil Wainwright wrote a place in the history books with his header 14 minutes from time at the Tin Shed end.

“It’s a great feeling to be the last ever scorer at Feethams,” Wainwright said at the time.

“I wanted to be part of the occasion but I never thought I’d be the one to get such an important goal.

“It does mean a lot to me and it’s a moment I will never forget. To come on and get the last goal at Feethams is an absolute dream.”

Wainwright’s goal meant Darlington avoided defeat on their big day, completing a comeback having previously been 2-0 down.

Manager Mick Tait said: “Obviously it was never going to be like any other matchday and I’m just pleased the lads have stuck in there and got a point out of it.

“To go 2-0 down was a disaster especially on such a big day.

“We were very sloppy and not for the first time this season its cost us, but we stuck at it and in the end we got a point out of it.

“It was important we didn’t let the occasion get to us, but I thought the way we started maybe showed that it did a bit.

“At one point it looked as though the whole day was going to be a bit too much for the players.”

Matt Lockwood’s 26th minute opener for Orient soon silenced the bumper crowd of 5,723, who were left stunned when Gary Alexander made it 2-0.

But Jimmy Corbett, on loan from Blackburn Rovers, pulled one back a minute before half-time to handed Quakers a lifeline.

And substitute Wainwright’s had only been on the pitch for a minute before his historic moment.

What followed was a barrage of pressure from Quakers, desperate to go one better, the players desperate to be part of history.

And but for a fantastic reflex save from keeper Glenn Morris at the death to deny Corbett, Quakers may well have given Feethams a winning send off.

“We gave ourselves some hope with Jim’s goal before half-time,” said Tait.

“I spoke to the players in the dressing room and we knew the game was there for the taking in the second half.

“We got at them and we could have ended up winning. We didn’t quite pull it off but at least we didn’t lose.”

Wainwright added: “We couldn’t have had a better send-off because the fans were absolutely fantastic. We were all well up for the game and this was one we didn’t want to lose.”

The club were on the move because club owner George Reynolds had decided Darlington needed a 25,000-capacity stadium on the edge of town. But Quakers’ time at the Arena lasted nine seasons before they were on the move again, in 2012 as tenants at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park, before returning to the town at Blackwell Meadows in 2016.

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 5,723

Darlington: Collett, Valentine (Wainwright 75), Liddle, Whitehead, Newey (Clarke 50), Nicholls, Keltie (Maddison 82), Pearson, Conlon, Corbett. Subs not used: Mellanby, Porter

Leyton Orient: Morris, Joseph, Turner, Miller, Jones (Taylor-Fletcher 47), Lockwood, Toner, Harris, Purser, Tate, Alexander. Subs not used: Thorpe, Stephens, Forbes, Harrison