DARLINGTON'S hopes of a good run in the FA Buildbase Trophy were dashed by a disputed stoppage time penalty at the Marine Travel Arena, leaving boss Martin Gray furious.

Quakers were two-up, and even though Marine pulled a goal back, they still seemed in control until Danny Mitchley fired the equaliser from 25 yards with nine minutes left. 

And in a frantic six minutes of stoppage time, Marine were awarded a penalty by referee Simon Mather for a foul by Darlington defender Chris Hunter.

Gray said: “At two goals up, we were comfortable, but after that indiscipline cost us. We gave silly free kicks away, and didn’t defend set-pieces well at all. That has become a real concern, and things will change.

“Whether it was a penalty or not, things happened leading up to it that should have been prevented.

“We’ve tried many things over the last six games, many ways and means, but again it’s boiling down to players’ individual errors and not taking responsibility in their own game.

“This has got to change and players’ mentalities must also change to allow us to take this club forward again.

“Between myself, my staff and the players, it’s our jobs to stay close together as a group and get back to what we’re about.’’ Quakers put Marine under early pressure, and in the opening 30 seconds Liam Hardy turned inside the box, but his shot was blocked.

Marine had a great chance in their first attack, when Obi Anoruo broke down the right and crossed low for Michael Monaghan, but Ben Dudzinski, the young goalkeeper on loan from Hartlepool United, saved well.

Quakers went in front on 13 minutes when Galbraith burst into the Marine box down the left and pulled the ball back for Liam Hardy to side-foot home his eighth goal of the season.

Quakers went close minutes later when Leon Scott charged forward, played a one-two with Gillies, and Hare saved his shot low down to his right.

But Dudzinski had to be alert to make another save on 23 minutes when Warren Bellew hit a low shot that the keeper saved at full stretch, then Anoruo broke clear, but sidefooted wide.

Quakers gave themselves come breathing space on 35 minutes when Gary Brown perfectly weighted a 40-yard pass over the top of the defence for Nathan Cartman to sneak onto and half volley past Hare.

But Marine pulled a goal back inside two minutes, when a free-kick was driven into the Darlington box from the right, and Anoruo scored at the second attempt.

Referee Mather, turned down loud penalty appeals for handball at the start of the second half when Marrs blocked a shot by Bellew, and gave a corner instead.

Marine nearly levelled on 62 minutes. Falkingham and Brown were both yellow carded for fouls, and when the free kick was floated in, Adam Hughes headed across Dudzinski but also past the post.

And they equalised on 81 minutes when Danny Mitchley picked the ball up in space 30 yards out, and curled a right foot shot out of Dudzinski’s reach into the top corner.

And in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Hunter was adjudged to have pushed James Foley and Mitchley buried the penalty.

Marine: Hare, Field, Short, Brizzell, Foley, Hughes, Monaghan, Smart, Mitchley, Anoruo, Bellew. Subs (not used): Horgan, Myler, Hessey, Moore, Porter

Darlington: Dudzinski, Marrs, Galbraith, Falkingham (Beck 61), Hunter, Brown, Syers, Scott, Hardy (Thompson 63), Cartman (Turnbull), Gillies. Subs (not used): Bell, Milburn

Bookings: Marrs, Falkingham, Brown

Attendance: 308