DARLINGTON were denied their first win of the season after Glen Taylor’s looping header rescued a point in the final minute for Spennymoor Town.

Twice Quakers held the lead at the Brewery Field with goals by Stephen Thompson and Reece Styche.

But twice they were pegged back by Jason Ainsley’s side, Mark Anderson scoring in the first half for Moors, who have now drawn both of their matches this season.

The result continues Quakers’ upper hand in this fixture, now unbeaten in eight fixtures since the beginning of 2012-13, and they will be encouraged by this performance.

Poor for the most part on Saturday, when they lost 2-1 to Curzon Ashton, last night was a better display, with Tommy Wright choosing an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation, Alex Henshall and Stephen Thompson starting on the wings.

They looked to have had the game won by the closing stages, with Spennymoor having more of the ball in the second half but barely testing Darlington goalkeeper Jonny Maddison in the second half.

A draw was probably a fair result, though Ainsley called it justice, claiming his side deserved at least a draw.

“I don’t think it’s relief, I think it’s justice, I thought we were the better side all game – I the first half we were sensational,” he said.

“We hit the post, we hit the bar, but we were sloppy. We seem to make our mistakes against Darlington.

“We showed great character. We were 1-0 down and 2-1 down, a couple of years ago we probably would’ve folded.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get three points, but a point is the least we deserved.”

What was a gripping contest wasted little time in sparking into life, with Tom Elliott going in hard on Mark Anderson, whose resulting free-kick was deflected wide.

Darlington’s first attack saw Styche turning Kris Thackray and driving forward. Simon Ainge’s shot was blocked, then Stephen Thompson chipped a ball to the far post where Styche was underneath the ball and headed over.

Thompson was in the thick of the action in his first game of the season. He flicked wide Joe Wheatley’s corner, and at the other end headed clear a corner by Stephen Brogan.

There was a spot of handbags after Wheatley fouled Taylor, a mass pushing a shoving ensued with Styche and Rob Ramshaw having to be kept apart, and from the resulting free-kick Moors hit the bar, Taylor striking the woodwork.

It was Darlington who took the lead, however, with sun-kissed Thompson fresh from his holiday smashing the ball home for the penalty spot after Styche had been felled by Matthew Gould.

The move began with Wheatley, who enjoyed an efefctive game, picking out a forward pass leading to Thompson playing in Quakers’ striker to dribble around Gould, the goalkeeper bringing him down but he was not dismissed as he had made a genuine attempt to win the ball, the referee’s decision being in accordance with the law change last year.

The goal means tanned Thompson has now scored in each of his seven seasons with Quakers and takes him to 85 for the club – 14 behind all-time top scorer Alan Walsh.

But, as on Saturday when Quakers ceded a first-half lead to Curzon, they allowed Moors to equalise, though this time it was a fine goal that breached their defence on 33 minutes.

Anderson was being guided away from goal by a Darlington defender, but from a tight angle hit a looping shot high into the net over Maddison.

It was a cracking goal and befitting an action-packed affair, as most of the fixtures between Moors and Quakers are.

The goal rocked Quakers and soon Moors were almost ahead. Anderson hit the post from close range, seconds after Dom Collins had made a vital tackle inside the six-yard box.

But before the break Darlington retook the lead after a fine team goal featuring a number of passes and players.

It concluded with Wheatley playing the ball forward in front of the overlapping Luke Trotman, he cut inside and rolled the ball across for Styche to side-foot home.

Having been given grief from a section of the Moors supporters, it was a gal Styche certainly enjoyed.

He also scored at the Brewery Field in April, and soon after the restart was in the thick of it again, causing havoc in the Moors penalty area but Ainge’s close-range shot was deflected wide.

Darlington went close for 3-1. Henshall, on his first start, put the ball over after good work on the right by Thompson and Elliott, but it was Moors doing most of the pressing in the second half.

However, they struggled to test Maddison. This was summed up when attack ended with a Chandler shot that went out for a throw-in.

David Foley also let fly but he was also wide, and sub Adam Boyes was next to have a go and he at least drew a save from Maddison, Quakers’ keeping showing a safe pair of hands.

It should have been 3-1 and game over when Darlington substitute Jordan Nicholson pounced on a loose pass in the Spennymoor defence, but the lashed over.

He would ruse that miss.

Because in the 90th minute, with Moors having resorted to pumping high balls up to the front line, Brogan sent over the ball and Taylor placed the ball accurately over Maddison.

The goal meant it was the first time Darlington have not won in four games at Spennymoor.

Wright said: “Disappointment is my initial reaction because I do think it’s two points dropped, but putting a positive spin on it, it’s a point on the board and we’re up and running. This is a tough place to come, Spenny have chucked everything at us in the last 20 minutes.

“We had to make three changes, we’ve had to move people around the pitch to stop their threats, but the minute they brought Adam Boyes on we needed to stop them crosses.

“We defended so well for 89 minutes, but we haven’t stopped the cross, we haven’t got tight enough to the centre-forward and it’s ended up in our net.

“I’m gutted for the players, I’m gutted for the fans because they were unbelievable tonight, they didn’t shut up.

“It was a pleasing performance but I’m slightly disappointed with the result.”