AS the battle to avoid the third relegation place in National Three North hots up, Darlington will feel confident of winning their four remaining home games.

With full back David Glendenning again providing the inspiration, they came back superbly from 10-0 down at half-time against the team who are second in the table.

It was the sort of form which should be good enough to beat Kendal in the last match, plus the three relegation rivals who have still to visit Blackwell Meadows, including Rugby Lions, who were dragged into the mire by losing 16-19 at home to Tynedale.

The melting pot received a further stirring from Cleckheaton's win at Blaydon, underlining the value of Darlington's two points for the draw as they now lead the West Yorkshire club only on points difference.

With three points covering the five clubs scrapping to avoid the third relegation place, it promises to go to the wire and Darlington will take heart from having added extra depth to their squad from the likes of Fijian Joe Naga.

He went on at blind side for the last 25 minutes and his tackling helped to keep Macclesfield on the back foot until they came back strongly at the end after going 18-15 down.

Darlington could slip to third bottom next week as they visit leaders Halifax while Cleckheaton entertain Rugby, but after that come successive home games against the bottom two.

Macclesfield had conceded only 25 tries all season, but Darlington managed three in the second half and two were real crackers.

All came wide on the right with Glendenning in the line. His strength saw him spin out of a tackle to score the first, then he completed sparkling moves with perfect passes for winger Frankie Coulson to race over twice.

The conversions were all out of David Kell's range into the crosswind, but he landed a 30-metre penalty eight minutes from time to nose Darlington ahead.

Macclesfield came back strongly with fly half Mike Newell striking from similar distance three minutes later and the draw was a fair result in an excellent game.

Newell's first penalty came after ten minutes, but Darlington could have gone ahead when they drove a line-out ten metres and the maul was pulled down two metres short. As there seemed little doubt they were going to score, there was a clear case for a penalty try.

They kicked the penalty to touch and when their next drive was again illegally stopped a Macclesfield prop was sin-binned.

Kell missed a good chance to level the scores, then Ben Snook missed touch with a penalty and the visitors summoned the will power to repel the pressure.

Their strong and well-organised forwards dominated the second quarter, when they could have had more than a converted try.

They often stretched the law to its limits in their use of decoy runners, and it created a hole in the defence when, with the ball going left, right winger Mark Frost appeared at pace in the centre to go under the posts.

It was obvious at half-time that Darlington would have to step up a gear to get back in the match, and they came out full of purpose.

A penalty to touch was followed by a powerful drive and when the ball was moved to the short side Glendenning did well to breach a strong defence.

Macclesfield came back quickly with a good attack which ended with Frost scoring again, this time appearing on his opposite wing.

There was no let-up in the end-to-end action as home fly half Paul Lee, who had a very sound game, set in motion some slick handling which ended with Glendenning's nicely-delayed pass giving Coulson a 20-metre run to the corner.

Naga went on at that point for Matt Dilworth, with Michael Taylor going to lock, where he may well form an excellent partnership with Richard Snowball if he can beef up by a couple of stones.

Naga's pick-and-drive sparked the move which levelled the scores, with the Lee brothers working a clever loop before Glendenning took the ball at pace and floated a long pass out to Coulson.

Awarded a free-kick then a penalty, Snowball twice drove on to set up the position from which Kell put Darlington in front.

Victory would have been very sweet, but Macclesfield came back impressively to shade the last five minutes.

Result: Darlington 18 Macclesfield 18.