DARLINGTON hope to extend the stay of goalkeeper Liam Connell.

He continued his fine form on Saturday by saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet in Quakers’ 3-0 FA Cup win at Tamworth.

The fourth qualifying round tie earned Darlington £18,750 in prize money and a place in the hat for the first round proper, the draw for which is on Monday evening.

It could all have been so different, however, had Connell not saved a penalty when the score was 1-0 and Quakers were having to absorb first-half pressure.

His spot-kick save from Ryan Beswick was a huge contribution to Darlington’s win, their third in a row since Connell joined on a month’s loan from South Shields, and manager Alun Armstrong admitted he wants the keeper to stay for a longer period.

“I’ll make an enquiry on Liam,” said the boss.

“The fans never shut up about him and he wants to stay. I spoke to him after last week’s game and he said he wants to sign.

“He’s brought a calmness, and sometimes he’s that laid back I start to worry! But he’s brought an assuredness there.

“I’ll ring South Shields and see if I can extend it.”

One of Darlington’s supporters, who were chanting “sign him up” at Tamworth, loaned Connell a cap during the first half, a gesture for which the 34-year-old was grateful.

“I’m loving it here,” he said. “The fans are bonkers – I pinched a hat in the first half because I couldn’t see, so thanks to whoever that was.

“I hadn’t asked for it, the fans were shouting my name and when I turned around I was being offered a cap, I took it because the sun was pretty low and it was hard to see.

“They were singing songs about me then, the fans were top drawer.”

Connell is a highly experienced goalkeeper but is surplus to requirements at South Shields and recently had a spell on loan at Whickham before moving to Darlington, where he has teamed up with former Dunston team-mate Terry Galbraith.

He added: “I tried to compete at Shields but I’m not in favour and I’m big enough and old enough to say if I’m not going to get a game I want to go elsewhere.

“Alun came in for me after the spell I had with Whickham, and I jumped at the chance.

“I see Terry all the time as we don’t live too far from each other, and when I was up for loan I spoke to him to see if he could get me in at Darlo.

“I knew Chris was the only one here, so I fancied coming and putting a bit of pressure on his toes.”