IT says something for the progress made at Darlington that failing to beat ten men at home did not spark a post-match inquest.

There was no finger pointing, no sorrowful naval gazing, social media was not ablaze with fury and the only jeers were for Hereford’s former Quakers Reece Styche and Jordan Nicholson.

A disappointment, clearly. Being unable to beat a Hereford side that had a player sent off inside the first half on Saturday was inevitably frustrating.

Yet recent performances – six successive wins before Saturday - have created enough goodwill to allow Alun Armstrong’s side a pass for this one, particularly as Quakers could be generally pleased with their showing.

They had the measure of Hereford when both teams had 11 men, and then dominated after the red card but were unable to break down a resolute team who played for a point and deserve credit for keeping Quakers at bay.

Seven games unbeaten, three clean sheets in row, now let’s focus on Walsall, that was the verdict at Blackwell Meadows as attention turns to this weekend’s FA Cup tie.

Saddlers’ scouting will report that Armstrong’s team enjoyed something like 80 per cent of the possession, 19 shots compared to Hereford’s three and seven corners but none for the visitors

It’s a far cry from the lacklustre defeat at Gloucester City on September 7, when Darlington last put in a dud performance.

“I’m only really pleased when I’m winning but I’m really pleased with the lads and I don’t think anyone could fault them,” said Armstrong.

“These lads are absolutely gutted that they haven’t won, but performance-wise I couldn’t really fault them apart from some fine details in the final third.

“When you look at the start of the season we had, mistakes were costing us goals but today we did not look in any danger.

“We looked comfortable, even against 11 men I thought we were comfortable. When they went to ten men it became one of them days.

“The tactics were spot on. I wondered if we could change the formation, but sometimes you’ve got to give the opposition credit.

"They defended ever so well, they put their bodies on the line and for us to do that to Hereford considering where they are and where we are - that is phenomenal considering where we were seven weeks ago.

“We look like a top-end team there’s no shadow of a doubt. Yes, I’m pleased but it’s tinged with that disappointment of dropping two points.”

The draw sees Darlington drop a place to 12th, with a win they would be seventh and it looked likely after starting Saturday well and then Tommy O’Sullivan foolishly saw red.

Have been cautioned for a foul three minutes earlier, he inexplicably reached out to stop the ball with an arm, inevitably leading to a second yellow.

His team-mates bailed him out, but Darlington did come close to scoring several times: Omar Holness, Adam Campell saw shots go wide and Tyrone O’Neill had a header saved on the line by Brandon Hall.

In his first game at Blackwell since leaving a year ago Styche was an isolated figure on the halfway line, merely spectating despite having not paid for a ticket.

He shone for one moment in the first half when he beat Terry Galbraith on the byline but dragged his shot wide.

Though he was the subject of jeers occasionally, it was only right that when substituted in the second half that as a scorer of 18 goals in 33 games Styche received warm applause in recognition of his contribution to Quakers.

It was one-way traffic in the second 45 during which left-back Jared Hodgkiss cleared off the line from O’Neill, while Hall pushed away Thompson’s drive that was heading for the inside of the post.

The goalkeeper was beaten in added time but the referee came to the Bulls’ rescue, Peter Shacklady correctly applying a new law which meant ruling out Joe Wheatley’s tap-in as Justin Donawa had been stood within a yard of Hereford’s defensive wall at a free-kick.

Armstrong was not impressed with Shacklady, saying: “I’m still baffled why the referee has disallowed the goal. He told Justin to stay where he is, we score from the rebound and he disallows it. I’ll have to have a word with him.”

Darlington flagged late on, almost inevitably since they played the previous Wednesday whereas Hereford did not and Armstrong admitted he had considered making changes.

He has selected the same starting XI three games in a row, and explained: “I thought about it a lot. It’s easy to say you should’ve changed it and freshened it up, but the lads in the team deserve to be playing.

“The other lads understand that, the whole dressing are saying ‘gaffer, you cannot change it, we’re doing so well’.

“Everyone is on board, they know the situation, they know how it works, if the team wins we’ll stick with it.”

On the back of the club’s longest unbeaten run in four seasons and four clean sheets in five games, it is no secret that Armstrong will name the same starting XI at Walsall when Darlington aim to inflict a seventh successive defeat on the League Two strugglers.