STRIKERS and goal droughts - it happens to the best of them.

Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Shearer will all profess that when the goals dry up there's nothing worse.

Only recently Henry fired blanks on seven successive occasions, while Shearer spent a six-game spell without notching last season.

Rather deceivingly, a barren spell in front of goal has an unwanted tendency to creep up in a rush of panic, frustration and desperation.

How many times have we heard players admit they would take a goal off their backside, as long as it crosses that elusive white line?

There is no definitive time scale to what constitutes a goal drought, although anything more than three games seems long enough and is the general consensus among strikers.

But for every goal that dries up, invariably, a goal-rush follows and, rather like the next bus, you can bet they come in a bundle.

On Saturday, Darlington striker Alun Armstrong bought every bus ticket going, yet was still left short-changed at Wycombe's Causeway Stadium.

Since Armstrong was handed the chance to resurrect his career with Quakers in September, the former Middlesbrough man has scored ten goals in 25 starts, although none have arrived in the last seven games.

But like any other forward in the game, Armstrong has seen it all before. Prior to scoring the 15 goals, which prompted Boro to pay Stockport County £1.6m for his services in 1998, the ex-Newcastle United trainee went 15 games without scoring in the 1996/97 season.

And during his two-year stay on Teesside, Armstrong made 13 successive appearances without finding the net.

While Armstrong's four years at Ipswich were relatively successful, the Tynesider endured 20 appearances without scoring in 2002.

"No striker is happy when they're not scoring and I'm no different," admitted Armstrong. "It is frustrating, but unfortunately, there are times when you go through these spells.

"I've been there before, but I know that, eventually, those runs do come to an end."

Armstrong's strike partner Clyde Wijnhard ended his own five-game duck with Quakers' goal in the 1-1 draw at the weekend, Armstrong is contemplating where the next goal is going to come from.

Slightly green-eyed, Armstrong admitted: "I had six or seven chances and Clyde's wasn't even a half chance. But credit to him because he's shown a lot improvisation and done tremendously well to beat the keeper.

"I didn't have any real clear-cut chances, but I'm disappointed not to have come away with a goal.

"When you're not scoring it does start to weigh on your mind. All I need is a little ricochet. Nobody was expecting Clyde to score with his back to goal, but all you need is that little turn in fortune.

"I'm sure Clyde will have felt some relief when his goal went in and I'm sure he'll go on to get a few.

"All you need is one goal and then a boat-load come. Hopefully mine are just around the corner and I'll get another ten before the end of the season."

The goal aside, Quakers had nine efforts at the Wycombe goal and Armstrong was responsible for seven of them. None were bad efforts, but none were enough to beat Chairboys keeper, Frank Talia.

Only the timely intervention of Wycombe captain Roger Johnson prevented Armstrong from netting from close range in his first of three first half efforts.

Chance number two came courtesy of a Bobby Petta cross, which Armstrong could only head over, while his final contribution of the opening 45 minutes was to fire straight at Talia.

Reflecting on his half-time thoughts, Armstrong revealed: "I must admit at that point I was starting to wonder whether or not it was going to be my day.

"But I knew that the chances would keep coming and I would get other chances to score. As it happens they did, but I guess it just wasn't to be."

Even a quick turn and shot wasn't enough to catch Talia off-guard early in the second half, while Armstrong sent a second header off target from Adolfo Gregorio's cross.

But on his right-foot is where Armstrong is at his most potent, as he demonstrated in the 78th minute, driving a ferocious effort over the cross-bar after Neil Wainwright's surging run.

And only the palm of Stuart Nethercott prevented Armstrong from getting a clear shot on goal late on.

He said: "The ball was goal-bound and when a player raises his arm it's got to be a penalty. I suppose that just summed the afternoon up for me. All I can do is get my head down and try twice as hard next time."

Indeed, Armstrong will be hoping he has double the reason to celebrate his 30th birthday tomorrow when Quakers entertain Swansea City.

Read more about the Quakers here.