A LATE goal by David Syers earned Quakers their fifth win in six matches to put them eight points clear of the relegation zone – but manager Tommy Wright refuses to believe that Quakers are safe.

It wasn’t a vintage performance of the standard fans had seen against Kidderminster and Blyth in the two previous home games, but it was a testament to the players’ hard work and determination that they defeated Curzon, who caused Quakers problems at times.

At least Syers’ goal banished the nightmare of the poor finishing in the reverse game on Tameside earlier in the season, when Quakers missed a hatful of chances and lost to a late goal.

Quakers are now up to 13th in the table, eight points above third-bottom AFC Telford United, whose home game against Spennymoor was postponed, but they’re not safe, according to the manager.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,“ he said. “The next run of games is vital to our season, and who knows where we’ll end up.

“There are nine games to go and 27 points to play for. We’re eight points clear of relegation, but I’d rather be 28 points clear. It’s still close because third-bottom Telford have three games in hand on us.

“We’ll keep banging the drum, complacency is an issue for us. We’re going to Tamworth on Tuesday and we want to keep this run going. We want to keep the positive feeling around the club. The fans are starting to believe in us and we want this momentum to continue into next season.

“I thought our second-half performance was better than our first.

“In the first half, for five minutes, we looked settled and comfortable, but for the rest of the first half I don’t really know where all the relationships went on the field. The whole thing seemed to be disjointed.

“Suddenly, the expectation levels have gone up because we were playing a team that we were expected to beat, and the occasion maybe got the better of the lads.

“At 0-0, I always thought we would create something because of our play, but we left it late again, which is typical of us.

“That’s why we put Dave in that hole between the midfield and the centre forward. He’s been great for Stychey because he’s taken the weight off his shoulders, having someone closer to him, and I think he’s thrived off it. He’s so intelligent he recognises why he needs to be a midfielder and that he can exploit the space when Reece leaves that central position.

“I wasn’t surprised to see him get a goal.”

Syers is revelling in his role – he ghosted in to score a possibility for goal of the season against Blyth two home games ago – and he said; “It’s always nice when you’re three or four up after 70 minutes, but wins like Saturday’s are what you always appreciate.

“Maybe the team didn’t hit the heights of previous games, but every single person kept going and got a 1-0 win in a game that could have gone either way.

“Josh’s delivery is unbelievable when he gets it right, it’s a defender’s nightmare. He put the ball exactly where he needed to and thankfully I got on the end of it.

“The penalty and the missed chance both happened in a short space of time, but we didn’t fold and we kept going. If anything, we got better for the 10 or 15 minutes after the penalty.

Every one of us realised that we had to lift it a little bit.”

There were some good chances to both sides in the first half. Darlington striker Reece Styche, who faces his previous club Tamworth on Tuesday, fired just over the bar from the edge of the box with his right foot, and forced Curzon keeper Cameron Mason into a full-length save with a left-foot shot.

At the other end, Daniel Shaw had a header cleared off the line by the returning Ben O’Hanlon, and keeper Aynsley Pears pulled off a great save from a Jake Dunwoody volley.

Curzon’s Joe Guest also fired straight at Pears as the visitors became more fluent with their passing, stretching Quakers on occasion.

In the second half Quakers improved and took the game to Curzon.

Stephen Thompson was unlucky to see a volley from Josh Gillies’ corner blocked on the six-yard line, and a good move saw Styche beat his man on the right and pull the ball back for Syers, whose close-range effort was blocked by Mason, who then tripped Gillies as he tried to seize on the rebound and the referee awarded a spot kick.

However, the usually reliable Thompson tried to fire the penalty towards the middle of the goal, but Mason blocked with his legs.

And it didn’t appear to be Quakers’ day on 58 minutes when Styche’s shot was blocked and rolled for Gillies, who sidefooted wide from 12 yards.

Pears pulled off a good save when he touched a low diagonal shot by Sam Walker around the post, but Quakers finished the game the stronger of the two teams.

Greg Mills, who came on for promising 16-year-old debutant Mitchell Glover, almost got the winner when he picked the ball up in the centre circle, ran forward and struck a low 30-yarder that Mason just managed to touch around the post. But with three minutes left, Quakers got the winner. Thompson was fouled out on the left and Gillies curled the free kick into the area perfectly for Syers to go full length and head past Mason.