WHILE many fans chose not to brave the elements, Darlington turned the heat on their rivals for the play-offs with a 2-1 win over Swansea City at the Williamson Motors Stadium last night.

Quakers' lowest ever crowd at the new stadium - 2,709 - watched Neil Wainwright fire home to clinch an 84th minute winner.

It was quite appropriate that the player nicknamed Casper by his team-mates ghosted into the box to force home Quakers' 84th minute winner after Adrian Forbes (36) had cancelled out Matt Clarke's 34th minute opener.

The win takes Quakers back into the play-off zone with 12 games remaining, and manager David Hodgson will have been delighted with the response of his players, who have now collected four points from their last two games.

Oozing determination from the first whistle until the last, there was a stubborn resilience about Quakers, and given their previous below-par home performance against Notts County ten day earlier, fans were in no mood to accept anything less.

In contrast to the side, which was booed off at half-time against County despite leading, on this occasion Quakers were well received for their efforts throughout.

But while Hodgson can have no qualms about the attitude of his players last night, the Quakers boss is becoming increasingly agitated by his side's inability to maintain their advantage.

Quakers have now surrendered the lead seven times this season and it is a growing trend, which had threatened to cost them two points before Wainwright's late intervention.

In October, Quakers' game at Swansea was abandoned just an hour before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch. Yesterday, youth-team players, ground staff and fans mucked in to ensure the corresponding fixture did not suffer a similar fate.

Their welcome efforts ensured the 640-mile round trip from South Wales was not a wasted one for the Swans and their fans.

After Saturday's hard-fought 1-1 draw at Wycombe, Quakers remained unchanged, although midfielder Neil Maddison earned a place on the bench after recovering from a virus.

Swansea were forced to make two changes from the side, which was held to a goalless draw by Grimsby at the weekend.

After what was described as a 'breach of club rules' Andy Robinson - who scored Swansea's winner over Quakers earlier this season - was dropped, meaning a recall for Leon Britton. Former Middlesbrough striker Paul Connor was also ruled out with a hamstring injury with the Swans recent £60,000 signing Kevin McLeod handed a start.

Britton received an early taste of the North-East snow when he was sent crashing to the surface by Brian Close with just five seconds on the clock.

Soon after the post came to Quakers' rescue with just four minutes gone, when keeper Sam Russell pushed Lee Trundle's effort on to the upright.

Making his second consecutive start and looking up for the occasion, Mark Convery fired low to the right of Swans keeper Willy Gueret, who saved comfortably.

Moments later, Alun Armstrong, celebrating his 30th birthday, stretched to head wide David McGurk's left-footed cross from the right.

Again, after an exchange of passes with Wainwright, Convery caused more problems when he got to the byline to cross for Clyde Wijnhard, who turned his effort goalwards, only for Willy Gueret to beat away.

At the other end Russell had to be alert to brilliantly push away Trundle's effort, which was heading for the top left hand corner of the Quakers net.

Only the quick thinking of Izzy Iriekpen denied Quakers a 16th minute lead when the defender did enough to steer the ball narrowly wide of goal, under pressure from Adolfo Gregorio after Wijnhard's clever flick on.

As the WMS resembled a novelty toy snow scene, Russell was almost caught out, guiding Marcus Bean's near-post cross on to the cross-bar and out for a corner.

But it was at the other end that Gueret was caught cold as Clarke powered Quakers into a 34th minute lead. After the visitors conceded a free-kick on the right edge of the box, Petta's inswinging cross was met by the head of Clarke, who directed his effort past the French keeper.

However, just as Quakers led in the same minute as they did at Wycombe three days earlier, they repeated the feat of conceding at the same time too - Forbes levelling with 36 minutes on the clock. After Quakers lost possession in midfield, Iriekpen found space down the left, before squaring for Forbes, who side-footed past Russell from close range.

With the last touch of the half, Clarke came within inches of doubling his tally for the evening when his back-post header landed on the roof of the net.

But while both teams enjoyed a half-time cup of tea, conditions at the interval deteriorated as pitch markings became barely visible.

With four minutes of the second half played Russell produced a superb point-blank save to deny Kevin McLeod after Brian Close's pass to McGurk was all too easily intercepted.

But it was the home side, backed by a vociferous crowd, who looked the more dangerous and Clarke found space at the back post in the 65th minute to head Petta's corner over the bar.

The sparse numbers inside the stadium were left infuriated in the 73rd minute when Iriekpen appeared to handle the ball when Armstrong was through on goal, only for referee Colin Webster to ignore appeals after looking across to his assistant for guidance.

The decision clearly angered Hodgson, who was sent to the stands for the third time this season, taking his place in the front row and sitting next to a fan.

Amongst the supporters who had slated Hodgson and his players ten days earlier, it was left for the Quakers boss to have the last laugh as Wainwright clinched victory in the 84th minute.

Result: Darlington 2 Swansea City 1.

Read more about the Quakers here.