DARLINGTON striker Andrew Nelson has admitted that he thought about walking away from football while he recovered from a knee injury.

The former Sunderland striker is slowly getting back to full fitness, and on Saturday he scored his first goal in two years with the equaliser in Quakers’ 2-2 draw with Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.

“Because of the knee injury that I picked up at Torquay United, the pain has been really bad some days," said Nelson. "I wondered whether it was worth going through the pain barrier anymore.

"With the Covid outbreak before that, it was two years since I last scored a goal, which was for Dundee in August 2019.

“I must admit, I shut my eyes when I headed the ball – which you’re not supposed to do – and when I opened them again, the ball was just there for me to score.

“There’s no better feeling than scoring in front of your fans – long may it continue.”

Nelson is slowly getting back to full fitness, and is likely to be on the substitutes' bench again for tonight’s game at second-placed Brackley, who are unbeaten in their six league matches so far this season.

“They’re a good well-organised side who are 1-0 specialists,” said Darlington boss Alun Armstrong.

“They are really good at what they do, so we have to be at our best. We’ve got to kick on now from the 2-2 draw at Blyth.

“I’m sick and tired of giving teams a head start, we’ve conceded two in every game and that can’t go on.

“It’s not rocket science, we can’t keep defending as badly as we did in the first half at Blyth.

"We work on things in training and they’re fine, and then they’re not on a match-day. Something has to change massively. We know what’s missing and we know what’s wrong.”

Armstrong should have close to a full squad to choose from this evening, with centre-half Brandon Taylor set to be the only absentee as he misses out because of illness.

Quakers are currently at the foot of the National League North table with one win from their opening four games, although a victory tonight could lift them as high as 17th.

They are in FA Cup action at the weekend, with Chester visiting Blackwell Meadows.