THERE have been numerous memorable matches between Darlington and Spennymoor Town. Quakers’ pivotal 3-1 win at the Brewery Field which helped win the Northern League in 2013, the pulsating play-off final in 2015, and Moors’ 3-1 success on New Year’s Day this year are among key contests in their rivalry.

Saturday’s was not one of the classics, however. Not by a long shot.

It was a competitive but scrappy, a largely forgettable draw as both sets of players battled the elements as well as each other. Or, as one club official put it: “90 minutes that I won’t get back.”

With few chances created, 0-0 was a fair result with supporters better off in the comfort of home picking over their Christmas dinner leftovers rather than being at Blackwell for this turkey, the wind ruining any chance of a decent contest.

That both managers praised their respective defences summed it up.

“It was a battle, and what I’m really pleased with is how we defended,” said Darlington boss Alun Armstrong. “I think they had long-range shots and that was it and they never caused us any problems.

“The conditions were terrible – gale force winds and a bit of rain,” said Moors’ interim manager Tommy Miller. “Both teams were struggling to get it down and play, and it was a case of could we get a goal first half, something to hold on to.

“We had a few shots from distance, got into a few decent areas and then second half we’ve had to defend a bit more as they put a bit of pressure on. But I thought defensively we were excellent.”

It was Spennymoor’s first clean sheet in eight games, and Miller added: “There were a few times when they got into the box at the end and we’ve had to put our bodies on the line, we’ve blocked shots and got men around the ball.

“We defended excellently as a team and I’m delighted for the back four and the goalkeeper keeping a clean sheet.”

Spennymoor centre-backs James Curtis and Joe Tait were both solid, allowing nothing past them. Following a late lunge on Dan Maguire, however, Curtis was fortunate to stay on the pitch thanks to one of numerous errors made by hapless referee James Westgarth. Both teams were justifiably frustrated with his performance.

Miller’s men had a substantial wind at their backs in the first half. So strong was it that goalkeeper Dale Eve opted to throw the ball from his penalty area as any kicks would’ve ended up in the River Skerne behind the opposite end of the ground, whereas Quakers’ Melvin Minter’s clearances didn’t reach halfway.

But the closest Spennymoor came to making the breakthrough was a long-range Glen Taylor free-kick, a wind-assisted effort blocked by Minter.

Stephen Thompson, the man who scored his 100th Darlington goal against Spennymoor 12 months ago, wasted his team’s best chance when volleying straight at Minter early in the second half while Taylor fired over from 20 yards.

The striker’s input was reduced due to Darlington’s defence being on top, and credit to Sean Reid for slotting in seamlessly at centre-back when Louis Laing limped off with a knee injury before half-time.

“Reidy came on and was absolutely superb,” said Armstrong. “I was debating whether to use David Atkinson or Reidy, but I looked at their height and how they play for set-plays, and I was so pleased with Reidy, I thought he was outstanding.”

Darlington were better in the second half when there were occasional flashes of football but nothing sustained, nothing to convince they could take control.

Their best opening was wasted by Erico Sousa. After Jarrett Rivers had a shot blocked by Tait, Sousa had the ball at his feet 12 yards from goal but blasted over.

“I thought we were probably the better side overall, but a draw was probably a fair result,” added Armstrong.

He will make changes today for the visit of bottom-of-the-table Blyth Spartans, who on Saturday ended their five-match losing run by drawing 2-2 with Gateshead.

Armstrong said: “I’ll not play that XI again on Monday, it would be stupid of me to do that. I’d be asking for injuries if I play that same XI again.”