There’s no place like home, so they say. But maybe it is for the best that supporters have been banned from attending games so far this season, because Darlington have now lost each of their home league fixtures.

Last night, Bradford Park Avenue became the latest to take the three points at Blackwell Meadows.

A first-half goal by Luca Havern, exploiting slack marking at a free-kick, was enough for Bradford, who defended for the most part thereafter and frustrated Quakers.

They followed Kidderminster Harriers and AFC Telford in beating Quakers on their own patch, plus Boston United whose abandoned 2-0 win awaits confirmation from league officials.

The result quells Quakers optimism ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Bristol Rovers, and comes after they had generated momentum with two away wins in the last week.

But they made a lacklustre start, falling behind on 15 minutes after a disputed free-kick.

Referee Jonny Urwin believed Ben Hedley had handled, though Quakers’ right-back vehemently disagreed, and from the resulting kick an unchallenged Havern headed in at close-range.

But Darlington responded well and were soon on top, coming agonisingly close to an equaliser by hitting the woodwork twice within a matter of moments.

Dan Maguire hit the bar with a header after a pinpoint Adam Campbell cross, and Tyrone O’Neill was next, a 25-yard strike beating goalkeeper Dan Atkinson but hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing away.

Armstrong’s men were seeing far more of the ball but did not look dangerous, Bradford denying them time on the ball, defending in numbers and succeeding in snuffing out Quakers’ threat.

And then Bradford countered from nowhere, the recalled Johnny Saltmer having to push away a fierce low drive by Lewis Knight, a glorious opportunity for the striker. 

Darlington then lost Maguire to injury, sending on Luke Charman as he made his comeback from an ankle knock.

The early stages of the second half saw Quakers doing most of the pressing, but again without troubling the visiting goalkeeper.

Erico Sousa fired in a free-kick that was headed clear by left-back Harry Bowes, on loan from Sheffield United.

Joe Wheatley, wearing Quakers’ captain’s armband, smashed in a 25-yard drive that Atkinson did well to parry. 

And Wheatley was involved again when he went in the book for simulation, the referee claiming that the Quakers midfielder had made the most of a fall to the ground when challenged by Havern.

Darlington, as they did for much of the night, moved the ball around well but it was all in front of Bradford and not hurting the visitors, who spent most of the second half on the defensive.

But they almost made it 2-0 with ten minutes to go, Brad Dockerty with a long-range effort that Saltmer tipped onto the post.

It did not matter, however, as they held out under late pressure from Quakers to snatch the points.

Goals: Havern (15, 0-1)

Bookings: Havern (foul), Wheatley (simulation), Hibbs (foul)

Referee: Jonny Urwin

Darlington: Saltmer, Hedley, Laing, Atkinson, Watson, Sousa, Reid, Wheatley (Hudson 86), O’Neill, Maguire (Charman 31), Campbell (Rivers 68). Subs not used: Minter, Storey

Bradford Park Avenue: Atkinson, Ross, Boyes, Marriott, Havern, Windass, Toulson, Hibbs, Dockerty, Knight (Clee 76), Sanyang. Subs (not used): Lyons, Huffer, Downing, Ibrian