DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong was “really pleased” with his side’s first friendly at Fleetwood’s training ground on Saturday, despite a 4-0 defeat.

Quakers agreed to the game just two days before it took place, after Leeds United, the League One side’s scheduled opponents, pulled out, and Armstrong was delighted with some of his team’s play, with new defender Nicky Hunt outstanding in the centre of defence.

“It’s been six months since we played together,” said Armstrong. “It was a good game on a great quality pitch with great facilities. There were some really good things in our performance and there were some errors, which you expect from your first game. Some of our passages of play looked really exciting.

“We hadn’t even had a practice match, but I jumped at the chance when we were offered the game on Thursday. We knew it would be difficult because of the quality of opposition and that they’ve been in training for longer than us. I didn’t think there was much between us though.

“There were a lot of positives and I was really pleased with it. The game was a really good test for us. Everybody could see how good Nicky Hunt was, and I thought David Atkinson was excellent at right-back, but Tony McMahon isn’t ready to play yet – he’ll start training on Tuesday. “

Armstrong gave a start to striker Dan Maguire, who played up front with Adam Campbell, while Luke Charman came on at half-time.

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton selected several first-teamers, including former Darlington striker Harvey Saunders, and the play-off losers took the lead in just the second minute when Wes Burns got away and set up Paddy Madden to score from a few yards.

Michael Liddle had two efforts saved in a good spell by Quakers before Fleetwood scored their second on 26 minutes when Saunders headed down a left-wing corner for Burns to tuck away.

With Hunt prompting Quakers forward, they had another chance to score just before half-time, but Jarrett Rivers was unlucky with an effort that flew just over the top.

Armstrong made four changes at half-time, but Jamie Holmes pulled up with a tweaked hamstring and had to be quickly replaced. However, the injury isn’t thought to be too serious.

Madden converted a penalty for a foul by Joe Wheatley, and completed his hat trick with a header from a corner.