DARLINGTON are keeping their fingers crossed that the injury sustained by David Atkinson in today’s pre-season friendly is not serious.

The midfielder went to Darlington Memorial Hospital for an x-ray on his foot having left the field just nine minutes into today’s match with Halifax Town at Blackwell Meadows.

Darlington lost 2-1 after conceding a last-minute goal, though the overall performance was highly encouraging.

Adam Campbell put Quakers ahead in the fifth minute after good work by Stephen Thompson and Luke Trotman, before Halifax levelled through striker Tobi Sho-Silva.

But with the season starting two weeks today at Farsley Celtic, of greater concern is Atkinson’s condition.

He was clearly in discomfort when substituted after challenging for a loose ball with a Halifax trialist, but manager Alun Armstrong is hoping the player has suffered “just a bang”.

“It was a nasty injury to Atky and we’ll find out tonight what that’s going to be,” said Armstrong.

“It’s his foot/ankle, we’re hoping it’s a bang rather than a twist, so he’s off for an x-ray which will hopefully rules out any break. Touch wood, he’ll be alright.

“You could see the difference as soon as he went off the pitch, he holds us together in the middle of the park and allows Will Hatfield to play his game.”

Before Atkinson suffered his injury, Armstrong had already received bad news this morning when told both Terry Galbraith (ill) and Jarrett Rivers (thigh) were unavailable.

Jamie Holmes did not play either as he is on holiday, nonetheless, Darlington started the game at a high pace and deservedly went ahead when Campbell scored his first goal in Quakers colours.

It came after Thompson played a ball over the top for Trotman, whose pass into the middle picked out Campbell to shoot high into the net.

Darlington were affected by Atkinson’s early exit, his place in midfield being taken by Osagi Bascome, and Halifax then had a good spell in which Quakers goalkeeper Chris Elliott had to be alert to deal with several shots at goal.

But he had no answer to Sho-Silva’s shot, Halifax having gained possession when a Bascome pass inside Darlington’s half was intercepted.

Halifax, a National League team, are looking for a new manager after Jamie Fullarton resigned last week, while they started the match with four trialists in their starting XI.

Trialist Justin Donowa threated to score from outside the penalty area with a powerful effort that goalkeeper Sam Johnson saved, and he also stopped Campbell’s follow-up.

Darlington finished the half strongly and almost scored again, this time Johnson stopped a Thompson thunderbolt, who had cut inside from the left after receiving a Campbell pass.

Quakers were easily the better team in the second half, with periods of attractive passing football cutting through the Halifax defence but their play did not lead to another goal.

Thompson was off-target with a first-time shot, and Johnson had to be alert to save a deflected effort at the end of a Darlington move that began with Bascome switching play with an accurate cross-field pass.

Bascome was better on the ball in the second half than he was in the first 45 minutes, and almost score but his shot from 20 yards hit the crossbar.

Tobi Sho-Silva did the same for Halifax too, but just when the match looked like it was heading for a draw the Shaymen snatched a winner when Quakers switched off when defending a 90th minute free-kick.

Before it was taken there was a short delay while Darlington made their final substitution with Rhys Armstrong – the manager’s son – sent on, but Quakers were sloppy when the ball was sent into their penalty area, and Harry Freedman scored from close-range.

Goals: Campbell (5, 1-0); Sho-Silva (24, 1-1), Freedman (90, 1-2)

Referee: Glen Hart

Attendance: 549

Darlington: Elliott, Trotman, Laing, Watson, Liddle, Donowa (Bell 67), Atkinson (Bascome 9, Scott 72)), Hatfield, Thompson, Campbell (Armstrong 90), O’Neill (Holness 67).

Halifax Town: Johnson, Hanson, Triallist, Staunton, Brown, Triallist, Triallist, Allen, Sho-Silva, King, Triallist. Subs: Freedman, Appleyard, Duckworth, Earing, Clark, Maher

*Also today, a Darlington XI lost 2-1 at Richmond Town, with Joe Wheatley playing most of the match on his return from a hernia problem.