IT is often said a mark of a good team is one that can grind out a result when they have not been at their best, and Darlington certainly weren’t on Saturday.

Opponents Curzon Ashton spurned chances to take the lead, meaning it was 0-0 until Quakers scored a late goal to nab the three points.

Dave Syers’ header secured the victory, an 88th-minute header which means Darlington have now won five games out of six, rising to 13th in the table.

“A 1-0 win when the team is not clicking or reaching the heights we have done in previous weeks, it’s a great sign,” said Syers, after scoring his seventh goal of the season.

“I like wins like that more than a three or 4-0 win when the game is over after 70 minutes.

“It’s great having periods when you’re playing well and winning games, but it’s winning when you’re not playing so well that really helps.”

Stephen Thompson had seen a penalty saved 11 minutes into the second half, awarded after Josh Gillies had been tripped.

Syers added: “I kept saying to the lads after the penalty: ‘Keep going because we’re going to get more chances’.

“I knew we would, everyone kept going and we got that reward.”

That Darlington played at all, bearing in mind the amount of rain that fell on Friday night, while most North-East non-league games were off, is testament to the drainage system in place at Blackwell Meadows, which was installed last summer after being paid for by fans.

Their game last weekend at Tamworth was postponed, now rearranged for this Tuesday, and Syers added: “A lot of credit has to go to the volunteers and groundstaff who got the game off, because there were a lot of games postponed around here.

“It would’ve hurt us to miss another weekend.

“We’re a part-time team so it’s very hard to get the minutes in when you’re only training, so you could say we were a bit sluggish out there, we weren’t at the levels we’ve been at.

“So to have been out of action for a couple of weeks and to then come back and play on a heavy pitch, it does slow you down a bit.

“Even though we weren’t quite clicking, everyone kept going. Clean sheet, late goal, you can’t ask for more.”