AS Alun Armstrong celebrated masterminding one of the weekend’s biggest shocks in the FA Cup, he lamented Darlington fans not being able to be part of the occasion.

His underdogs bridged a three-division gap to overcome League One Swindon Town, reaching this evening’s second-round draw by recording one of the club’s finest cup victories in decades.

But the full-time whistle was followed by near silence. It was a huge contrast to the same stage of the competition a year ago, when pandemonium ensued as Quakers grabbed a 2-2 draw at Walsall with Joe Wheatley’s dramatic late leveller.

On Saturday, only the shouts of Darlington’s victorious players, plus one or two club officials in the stand at the County Ground, could be heard celebrating the 2-1 win courtesy of two Adam Campbell goals. It sounded more like a golf match than an FA Cup upset.

“It was so surreal. You win but at full-time there was no noise,” said Armstrong, who has now won seven of eight FA Cup ties as Quakers boss. “If there’d been a thousand or 1,500 Darlington fans here they’d have made a racket and been on the pitch, I’m sure of it - I would’ve been in the crowd, guaranteed!

“You just want to run on the pitch and celebrate with the fans, but there’s nobody here. It’s a shame. Sod’s law, we’re going to get to the third round and draw a Premier League (team) but with no fans, you can see it coming.”

That would be cruel on Quakers supporters, some of whom watched Swindon’s live stream, viewing from afar the fourth win in the FA Cup this season. It is the first time Darlington have won four FA Cup ties in a season since 1957-58, when Rochdale, Boston United, Norwich City and Chelsea were slain.

This time around it’s been Prescot Cables, Tadcaster Albion and Cambridge City, all from two divisions below and all at Blackwell Meadows.

Handed a trek to Wiltshire to face last season’s League Two champions, however, this was meant to be an altogether tougher task.

Perhaps managerless Swindon, despite losing seven of their previous eight games, believed they’d be in for an easier ride too.

“I think they might’ve underestimated us a bit,” said Armstrong. “It gave me a buzz and the lads when we found out Hallam Hope wasn’t playing. He’s the forward that’s scored goals for them in the last couple of games, probably their main centre-forward, and him not playing told me they might be underestimating what we have.”

Swindon’s goal was an equaliser shortly before half-time, Campbell having put Darlington ahead after an error by Jonathan Grounds on 31 minutes.

The former Middlesbough defender’s misplaced header was seized on by Campbell, and he took his opportunity well by rifling past Matej Kovar, on loan from Manchester United.

But Brett Pittman levelled ten minutes later, the former Portsmouth striker finishing a fine team goal.

A series of Swindon passes inside Darlington’s half led to Matt Smith finding Joel Grant, and he teed up an unmarked Pitman to tap into the net from inside the penalty area.

It was Darlington’s day, with the winner scored after a touch of fortune.

After Michael Liddle’s throw to Omar Holness, Campbell’s optimistic low shot took a major deflection and entirely wrong-footed goalkeeper Kovar.

Darlington’s victory adds another £16,972 to the prize pot, taking the seasonal total to £35,347. “We’ve had a bit of a luck this year, but you’ve got to earn your luck,” summarised Armstrong.