AS Darlington's season peters out into bottom half of the table mediocrity following their latest two defeats, only the extraordinary antics of chairman George Reynolds and his wife Susan are keeping attention focused on Feethams.

The muted atmosphere for Tuesday night's 1-0 home defeat by Macclesfield Town was in stark contrast to the uproar at the fans' forum on Thursday of last week when Susan Reynolds' controversial speech sparked a mass walk-out by the players.

The very public rift between the club's owner and the playing staff has plunged Quakers into crisis, with manager Tommy Taylor seemingly powerless to strengthen a squad in desperate need of new faces.

He must cope without any experienced cover for young keeper Keith Finch after Andy Collett suffered a collapsed lung, while striker Barry Conlon is also out for the rest of the season with a damaged cartilage.

Taylor paired midfielders Neil Maddison and Ian Clark up front on Tuesday when a 76th minute goal by Macclesfield substitute John Askey was enough to stretch Darlington's dismal run to eight games without a win.

Maddison at least got on the scoresheet as the players put up a fighting display before going down 4-2 at Exeter City last Saturday.

The former Southampton and Middlesbrough player put Quakers ahead with his first goal for the club after 33 minutes, but Andy Roscoe equalised just before half-time.

Goals from Christian Roberts and Roscoe again early in the second half put the Grecians in command, but Neil Wainwright then gave Quakers fans renewed hope with a cool finish.

The home side made sure of the three points when Roberts scored his second with 15 minutes left.

With all hope of the play-offs long gone and the struggles of Halifax Town ensuring there is little danger of relegation, the best chance of any meaningful action at Feethams between now and the end of the season looks likely to be off the field.

The 2,729 attendance at Tuesday's match was the lowest of the season and suggests that the disillusioned Quakers fans are just as bored with Mr Reynolds as they are with their team's efforts on the pitch.

They can only hope that Taylor can lift his players enough to offer some sort of challenge to runaway division three leaders Plymouth Argyle when they visit Feethams tomorrow