DARLINGTON have a great opportunity to see off Solihull Moors in Wednesday's FA Trophy replay, with their manager Tim Flowers having been less than complimentary about his players after Saturday's 2-2 draw.

A late goal by sub Jack Lambert gave Quakers a deserved draw against the National League promotion-chasers at the Sportnation.bet Stadium.

Afterwards an irate Flowers, the former Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper referred to his players as being “brain dead” in a post-match interview.

"I thought we were awful from start to finish," blasted Flowers, who also described his players as being "absolutely brain-dead with what we're doing".

In contrast, Darlington boss Alun Armstrong was delighted with his team’s never-say-die attitude, coming back from 2-1 down with five minutes left and could have won against one of the tallest sides that they will play this season.

Solihull, who have won nine of their 11 home league games, played to their strengths at set-pieces, so it says plenty for Quakers to come away with a draw.

“I think the lads fully deserved what they got, and we could have won it in the end with the two chances Adam Campbell had,” said Armstrong.

“We dug in, we knew about Solihull’s competitive and combative style, and we dealt with it.

“The plan was always to stay in the game and bring Jarrett and Jack on once the game had got stretched. Jarrett is such a clever footballer that he opens defences up, and he and Jack changed the game. I had to take Stephen Thompson and Joe Wheatley off because they’d already picked up a yellow card each and decisions were going against us. I couldn’t risk them getting a second one.

“Jack’s was a great finish, because the keeper narrowed the angles off pretty tight, but Jack had the quality to stick it through the keeper’s legs. He was so calm and composed, hopefully we’ll be able to extend his loan for another month. He gives different options which we need. Yes, I need a centre forward, but they’re not cheap, and I’ve got to combat that with what I can bring into the club."

On a bitterly cold day on a pitch that lacked bounce in places because of overnight rain, there were only half chances in the first 20 minutes, with Will Hatfield, on his return to the Darlington side after a one-match ban, putting one shot over the bar and seeing another blocked.

However, it was third time lucky for the popular midfielder, when he picked the ball up from Michael Liddle 30 yards out, ran forward unchallenged, and struck a low shot that flew into the bottom corner for his first goal for the club.

He said: “It’s been bugging me not getting on the scoresheet, I feel that I’ve had a few opportunities that I should have done better with. It’s really nice to score my first goal, I feel very proud of myself and hopefully it’s the first of many."

Armstrong added: “It was a great goal by Will, I was delighted for him. He’s been fantastic since he came to the club, and he epitomises something that you want from players in your team. You could see what the goal meant to him."

But Solihull levelled with a route-one goal. A long ball by goalkeeper Shaun Rowley was flicked on by Danny Wright for Sam Jones to run through unchallenged and slip past the advancing keeper Chris Elliott.

They nearly took the lead just before half time when Wright turned quickly and fired against the bar, and again after the break Wright headed a right-wing cross just over the top.

Quakers were getting on top without really testing Rowley, before the home side went 2-1 up on 61 minutes when sub Jake Beesley had an unmarked header from a Jamie Oakley corner blocked on the line by Elliott, but the sub reacted first to prod the rebound into the net.

But Armstrong’s introduction of three subs injected some pace into the Darlington attack, and stretched the home defence.

Jarrett Rivers dribbled in from the right and hit a shot that went just wide, and Osagi Bascome struck a 30-yarder that Rowley almost fumbled into his own net.

And Quakers deservedly gained their reward for battling back when a slick build up on the left ended with Campbell neatly threading the ball through for Lambert to control and nutmeg Rowley for his second goal for the club.

Hatfield added: “I thought we were the better team in the game and played some really good stuff. We knew that they would be direct and we dealt with them pretty well, but the goals we conceded were a bit disappointing. We look forward to the replay now full of confidence.”

The draw for the second round takes place at lunchtime on Monday and the replay is on Wednesday, meaning Darlington have two games per week for the next four weeks, taking into account the midweek games on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day against Spennymoor Town and at Guiseley on January 7.

“If we nick a win on Wednesday night, it gives the lads a massive boost going into the Christmas matches," said Armstrong.

“I know that we’ve let our standards drop a few times this season, but the lads know that. We know that we’re going from strength to strength, and believing in what we’ve got.

“Hopefully we can get a big following on Wednesday night and get a decent result. We’ve got to continue like that on Wednesday, and who knows what might happen. It says something that we’ve come to Solihull and are disappointed that we didn’t come away with a win. It speaks volumes for the lads."

Goals: Hatfield (22, 0-1); Jones (39, 1-1), Beesley (61, 2-1); Lambert (85 mins 2-2)

Bookings: Jones, Osborne, Williams; Liddle, Thompson, Wheatley

Solihull Moors: Rowley, Vaughan, Howe, Gudger, Williams, Osborne, Hall, McCallum (Beesley 36), Blissett (Yussuf 84), Wright, Jones (Gunning 64). Subs (not used): Boot, Carter, Hawkridge, Maxwell

Darlington: Elliott, Hedley, Laing, Storey, Liddle, Wheatley (Bascome 75), Holness (Lambert 75), Hatfield, Donawa, Thompson (Rivers 66), Campbell. Subs (not used): Watson, Holliday, Bell