DARLINGTON'S Wembley hopes are over. They were favourites to win today’s FA Trophy quarter-final with Hornchurch, but were second best and lost 2-1 at Blackwell Meadows.

Playing the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, Quakers simply never got going and now their season is over.

With the National League North campaign null and void, Darlington had only the Trophy to play for and they hoped to celebrate their 2011 Trophy win by returning to Wembley, but those hopes have been dashed.

Hornchurch started strongly and went ahead after 26 minutes, captialising on Darlington giving the ball away sloppily in midfield.

Erico Sousa’s pass went straight to Remi Sutton, and he burst forward, exchanging passes before breaking into the penalty area and teeing up Liam Nash to sidefoot home.

After Darlington steadily grew into the contest, they finished the half promisingly and Sousa made amends in first-half added time, firing across the keeper and into the net after an Adam Campbell pass.

But eight minutes into the second half Hornhurch regained their lead, and it came after a penalty conceded by debutant Sol Brynn.

He joined from Middlesbrough on Friday and was pitched straight into action, but after Michael Liddle gave the ball away the goalkeeper fouled Liam Nash and was unable to keep out Higgins’ spot-kick.

Darlington toiled thereafter, and for all their possession were unable to trouble Urchins goalkeeper Joseph Wright with numerous shots blocked.

Alun Armstrong replaced Nicky Hunt with midfielder Omar Holness, but Darlington’s hopes slowly seeped away and appeared over when Will Hatfield was harshly dismissed with five minutes to go.

He collided with Rickie Hayles on the edge of Horncurch’s penalty area, and referee Martin Woods immediately flashed a red card and after that there was no way back for Darlington.