ALUN ARMSTRONG is demanding his side become more ruthless after seeing them blow their chance of ending York City’s unbeaten start to the season, but admitted can’t get his head around their failings.

Quakers they couldn’t put away the chances they created. Puzzled, baffled and bewildered were Armstrong’s watchwords as he mulled over the defeat.

“That was probably one of our best performances of the season, and that’s why I’m standing here, really baffled,” said Armstrong.

“I don’t know what these lads need to do to win a game of football.

“We had our chances, if anything maybe we need to shoot a bit more and be more ruthless in the final third. But when you see Jarrett Rivers’ shot go past Peter Jameson and come back off the post, you wonder what we have to do to score.

“Thommo’s long range shot in the first half looked as if it was in, but at the last minute the ball got a little lift and it was over the bar.

“We changed the system to match up with York. I knew they would play 3-5-2. Some of the football we played was really good and really exciting. They couldn’t live with us at times, and we nullified their threat.

“But they won the game – you get nothing for playing nice football. You’ve got to score goals and take your chances which releases the pressure from the back lads. Again, you look at their goals – we gave them to York.”

Centre-half Louis Laing is a doubt for Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Trafford with a tweaked hamstring and is added to the injury list that includes Luke Trotman, Jamie Holmes, Tyrone O’Neill and David Atkinson, as well as others who are carrying niggles.

“I don’t know what to say about these injuries, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s one thing after another,’’ said a bewildered Armstrong. “It didn’t help when Josh Heaton asked to leave last week – he came and asked me for more game time. I asked him to be patient and that his chance would come -- and it would have been.

“It just seems that these things are going against us at the moment. Everyone can see how good Langy’s been in the last few games - I think he’s been outstanding and has been a class apart.

“I’ve got to get my head together and sort it at training on Tuesday. I’m at the stage now though when I’m frightened to train in case we get another niggle. Ben Hedley got a little niggle on Thursday before the game and I had to pull him out of training.

“You can’t work on things in training to an extent, but I was really, really pleased with the performance. What they’re doing, there’s not that much wrong. Goals win games, and if you’re not to going to score, then you’ve got to keep it shut at the back.

“I don’t know what more we have to do to score goals other than shoot more. Do we need a really nasty number nine, who’s going to do anything to score a goal?

“Trying to find one of those is like gold dust and they cost money.

“I still believe in these players, but because of the injuries I’ve never yet been able to field what I think is my strongest side. Every week, there’s a new injury that I’ve got to try and deal with. I’m really puzzled at the moment and what we have to do in order to get things right.”

Quakers started well, and Stephen Thompson tried an audacious 50-yard effort in the opening minutes that sailed over his old teammate Peter Jameson and over the bar.

Then hard-working Will Hatfield played a one-twowith Adam Campbell to get into the box, and pulled his shot wide.

Quakers had the upper hand, but York nearly opened the scoring on 21 minutes when Kieran Green nipped in ahead of Darlington keeper Chris Elliott inside the box and chipped the ball into the middle, where Joe Wheatley managed to get back on the line and head away.

Wheatley forced Jameson into a save low down to his left, and then fired a Thompson lay off over the bar from the edge of the area.

York had some brief respite when a long clearance by Jameson was helped on for former Billingham Synthonia winger Macauley Langstaff to run through and force a good save out of Elliott.

Quakers looked the more likely to take the lead in the second half, but were denied by the woodwork on 48 minutes when Thompson picked out Rivers’ diagonal run into the box, and his shot beat Jameson and came back off the post.

But then Armstrong had to make an unexpected change on 56 minutes, when Laing pulled up suddenly with a hamstring problem. Michael Liddle returned left back and Jordan Watson shifted across into the middle.

Within two minutes, York took the lead when they won possession on halfway. Langstaff got away up the right and crossed for former striker Alex Kempster.

Hatfield set up Thompson to fire straight at Jameson, and then Adam Campbell curled a free kick wide.

But York made the game safe with five minutes left. David Ferguson broke away and forced a good save out of Elliott, who punched the resulting corner away only for Paddy McLaughlin to volley into the top corner.

Goals: Kempster (58, 0-1), McLaughlin (85, 0-2)

Referee: Paul Brown

Attendance: 2,023

Darlington (4-2-3-1): Elliott, Hedley, Laing (Liddle 56), Galbraith, Watson, Wheatley, Rivers, Hatfield, Thompson, Holness (Donawa 68), Campbell. Subs (not used): Bell, Bascome, Holliday

York (3-5-2): Jameson, Newton, Spratt, Tait; Dyer(sub York 83), Ferguson, Moke, McLaughlin (King 86); Green (Langstaff 25,) Burrow, Kempster. Subs (not used): McFarlane, Whitley