DARLINGTON suffered their second league defeat in four days when they were easily beaten by Leamington.

On their previous visit to the Phillips 66 Stadium in the FA Cup in October, Quakers were a class above the home side partly thanks to the skills of Tyrone O’Neill, and last night they badly missed the presence of a target man, just as they have done in other recent games.

They showed plenty of energy, but lacked a cutting edge. Manager Alun Armstrong is fervently hoping to make a breakthrough by the weekend – but again he will be pointing fingers at his defence.

The manager refused to conduct any interviews after the game. 

After making five changes, three of them enforced because of player unavailability for the 360-mile round journey, Quakers started with Adam Campbell up top, and Stephen Thompson on the left.

Leamington had the first chance, when George Carline nodded down a left-wing cross for Josh March to put high over the bar, the Jack Lane headed a corner by Dexter Walters against his own man from ten yards for a goal kick.

The Brakes took the lead on 16 minutes. Right back Junior English hoisted the ball forward, it bounced inside the Darlington penalty area, and Jack Edwards got there first and nodded the ball over the stranded Chris Elliott.

Quakers were relieved when Edwards had another header from a free-kick disallowed three minutes later.

The game was stopped on the half hour when referee Watson was struck in the face by the ball, and received treatment from the Leamington physio.

Quakers couldn’t make much of an impression on the Leamington defence, unlike their last visit when loanee O’Neill wreaked havoc.

Quakers nearly broke through on 38 minutes when a poor back pass by James Mace nearly let in Adam Campbell, but keeper Jake Weaver just managed to clear.

Leamington almost got a second when Callum Maycock broke through on the left, but Elliott saved with his legs.

Quakers increased the tempo in the second half, but Leamington had the first half chance, a low shot from an acute angle by March that Elliott saved easily.

It was 2-0 on 57 minutes. Walters put a corner into the box from the right, Edwards had a shot on the turn charged down, but James Mace was on hand to force the ball home off the underside of the bar.

And it was nearly three when Walters cut in from the left, and smacked a shot against the bar.

Campbell was unlucky not to pull a goal back when he turned well inside the box, but his shot was blocked, then Thompson tried his luck from way out on the right, but the ball drifted wide.

Leamington nearly scored again with a header by Mace from another corner, but Jordan Watson hooked the ball off the line.

However, they broke through on 77 minutes, when Walters raced up the left and crossed perfectly for Carline to volley in from six yards.

Quakers: Elliott, Hedley, Storey, Galbraith, Watson, Wheatley (sub Bascome 71), Hatfield (sub Lambert 71), Holness (Donawa 62), Rivers, Campbell, Thompson. Sub (not used): Holliday.

Leamington: Weaver, English (Dunbar 85), Morley, Maycock, Mace, Lane, Carline, Clarke, March, Edwards (Gittings 81), Walters. Subs (not used): Murphy, Anderson, Taylor