BUILDING on last week’s win by achieving their first away points of the season is Darlington’s objective at Altrincham.

The season has started reasonably for Quakers with two wins from five fixtures, but they have lost each away game by the same scoreline, 3-1 at both Farsley Celtic and Curzon Ashton.

While pitch problems and fatigue issues were both mentioned as factors in the respective defeats, ultimately Quakers paid the price for making mistakes and not being good enough.

Manager Alun Armstrong said: “The Farsley game, the pitch had an impact and it took us a while to get used to it. Second half was decent but nowhere near what we usually play like.

“Before the match on the Monday at Curzon they had an extra day’s rest between games. We played Wednesday-Saturday, they played Tuesday-Saturday, it meant three games in five days for us.

“I’ll put it down it down to that, and fingers crossed we can get a result on Saturday.

“For lads that are part-time it’s hard work and really tough. In the first 40 minutes at Curzon we were smashing until we conceded that free-kick, and then we scored probably our best goal of the season so far, and then it was a lack of concentration for the second goal we conceded.”

Seven days ago, however, Darlington showed what they are capable of by beating previously unbeaten Southport 2-0 at Blackwell Meadows, and bid to take that form to Moss Lane.

“We showed the ugly side of the game on Saturday, we defended really well as a team, so I was really pleased with that,” said Armstrong, who saw Tyrone O’Neill score for the second game in succession.

He netted in Quakers colours for the first time at Curzon, adding the final touch to a team goal that involved seven players and ten passes.

“That’s the kind of football that we want to see, that’s what we’re trying to build,” said Armstrong. “I loved the combination from Tyrone and Adam Campbell, where Cams ran over it and then they played a one-two, it was a picture-perfect goal from your front men.

“We’re not just throwing the ball up the line, we’re not just launching it into the box from a throw-in.

“We’re about going backwards to go forwards again, switching play, runners joining in and the strikers coming in.”

Armstrong can call on Stephen Thompson after returning from a holiday in Dubai, and he goes back into the starting XI with Justin Donawa most likely to make way.

The match is the first of two this Bank Holiday weekend against clubs that reached the play-offs last season, with Bradford Park Avenue visiting Blackwell Meadows on Monday.

It was at Altrincham in the play-offs that Armstrong and the ex-Blyth contingent of his Quakers squad saw last season end in heart-breaking manner – a 7-6 penalty shootout defeat after drawing 2-2.

Of the six Blyth players to score in the shootout, four are now at Darlington: Louis Laing, David Atkinson, Michael Liddle and Jarrett Rivers.

They led 2-1 until the third minute of injury time, Josh Hancock scoring Alty's leveller and he also netted the crucial winning penalty too, and while Armstrong has no axe to grind with Altrincham he remains less enamoured with the officiating.

“We deserved to win that game and the officials cost us,” he says.

“Their goal was offside, everyone knows it was offside, in the 93rd minute and they got a dubious penalty as well, it was one of them where sometimes they’re given and sometimes they’re not.

“The penalty shootout was one of the best I’ve seen, I think it finished 7-6, the quality was really high, but either of the teams could have gone through that night.”

Since the beginning of the season Altrincham have re-signed Ashley Hemmings, a winger who was with them on loan last season for a period during which he scored against Darlington. He also scored against Quakers for Boston United in 2017-18.

Armstrong added: “They’ve roughly kept the same squad but have added one or two, so they will be there or thereabouts I would imagine. They’ll be challenging, but we shouldn’t be fearing anything.

“Altrincham always play good football, Phil Parkinson has them playing good stuff and they’re quite difficult to get the ball off at times so we will have to be a bit more patient. We have to accept that they will have big spells with the ball and we’ve got to try and find a way to stop that happening.

“They’re similar to us but probably play more from the back than we do, and well need a game-plan to try and nullify them.”