Darlington 2 York City 2

One of the highest attendances seen at The Northern Echo Arena saw Darlington held at home by York City today in a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

A total of 6,413, including Paul Wildes who is keen on taking over the club, saw Quakers lead 2-0 at one stage, but two quick goals from the Minstermen meant Craig Liddle’s side had to settle for a point against the promotion-chasers.

But supporters will be pleased with the performance, given the resources available, while fans left very proud of their youthful team and a result at least brought their losing run to an end.

Five teenagers were in the starting line-up, including Rob Ramshaw who made his full debut as one of two changes with Aaron Brown returning at let-back. They came in for Phil Gray and James Gray.

Neither side took a grip of the game during a largely even first half, but both keepers had to be alert.

Early on Darlington’s Jordan Pickford proved he had gotten Tuesday’s defeat out of his system. In midweek he conceded an early penalty ay Hayes Yeading, but today he was quickly off his line to smother the ball at the feet of Danny Pilkington.

Pickford also had to save low from Pilkington who was one of York’s most dangerous players, the forward frequently running at Darlington’s defence up the left.

On one such occasion not long before half-time, Quakers right-back Paul Arnison tracked the York forward as he cut infield and pressured Pilkington into shooting wide, but the incident saw the defender suffer a calf strain.

He had to be substituted, replaced by Phil Gray, and will be out of action for a couple of weeks.

With Graeme Lee expected to be out for a substantial period with a knee injury, Darlington’s numbers are dwindling meaning more pressure on the club’s youth players, but Craig Liddle is hopeful of making a couple of signings next week with a couple of potential signings having fallen through on Friday, though they could be resurrected.

Soon after Arnison’s injury Darlington took the lead with Ramshaw playing a key role.

The youngster’s took a quick corner to Marc Bridge-Wilkinson who delivered a ball for Adam Rundle to cleverly flick home with a neat finish and that was the cue for a huge roar at Arena.

The atmosphere was buoyant throughout, but the cheer that greeted Rundle’s goal was the loudest heard at the stadium for many a year as supporters seemingly celebrating not just a goal, but also the club’s very existence.

Just before the break Pickford denied Pilkington again, this time tipping an effort over the bar and it proved crucial as soon after the break Darlington made it 2-0 with a fine goal.

After Kris Taylor had intercepted possession, he played in man of the match John McReady who ran at the York defence, taking the ball beyond Daniel Parslow before firing low past keeper Michael Ingham.

It was only the teenager’s second career goal and Liddle admitted afterwards that he has been encouraging the midfielder to shoot more often.

That set the tone for a pulsating second half that featured three goals and saw both teams, backed by substantial support – with 1,358 in the York section- go for the win.

But the two-goal lead did not last long. Soon after Dale Hopson’s forward pass to Ryan Bowman had been intercepted, York grabbed a quick double to make the game all square.

The first came on 60 minutes from an inswinging corner with Chris Smith heading home and within 60 seconds Ashley Chambers added a second.

Chambers had not been on long as a substitute, but he was allowed to shot from 20 yards and his fine effort bounced beyond Pickford.

For a period after York’s equaliser they pushed for a third goal and Pickford was again in top form, making a finger-tip save to deny former Newcastle United youngster Patrick McLaughlin.

Chambers saw a free-kick go over the crossbar before Scott Harrison put a header over the bar with two minutes to go when he met Rundle’s corner at the near post.

N injury time McLaughlin had two shots from the edge of the area, the first blocked by Brown and the second pushed wide by Pickford.

That was enough to secure a 2-2 draw and although harsh on Darlington that their spirited side could not hold on to the lead, the visitors deserved a point as they contributed just as much to the game.

They are next due in action at Mansfield Town next Saturday by which time it is hoped movement will have been made off the pitch regarding the club’s long-term future.

Goals: Rundle (43, 1-0), McReady (49, 2-0); Smith (60, 2-1); Chambers (61, 2-2)

Bookings: Ramshaw (70, foul), Taylor (77, foul), Harrison (90, foul)

Referee: Darren Handley (Lancashire)

Attendance: 6,413

Darlington (4-4-1-1): Pickford; Arnison (P Gray 41), Taylor, Harrison, Brown; McReady, Ramshaw, Bridge-Wilkinson, Rundle; Hopson (J Gray 76); Bowman. Subs (not used): Nixon (gk), Lambert, Barton

York City (4-3-3): Ingham; Challinor, Smith, Parslow, Meredith; Kerr, Boucaud (Reed 54), McLaughlin; Blair, Blinkhorn (Fyfield 73), Pilkington (Chambers 54). Subs (not used): McGurk, Potts