DARLINGTON failed to secure a hat trick of home wins as they were held to a draw by Leamington.

The visitors hadn’t lost in their previous two visits to Blackwell Meadows, and Quakers failed to build on a good first 25 minutes to the game in which Leamington hardly got out of their own half.

Once Leamington levelled with a goal that could have been marginally offside, they brought at least ten men back behind the ball – or sometimes 11 – to hold on to a point.

“I thought we created enough chances to win the game,” said Quakers boss Alun Armstrong. “It all fell flat after Leamington equalised. I thought at 1-0 that we would go on and win the game, but Leamington scored out of nothing and knocked some of the stuffing out of our lads.

“We had loads of possession, but we didn’t put the ball into the box too often. We need to be better in the final third. In the second half, Jake Cassidy couldn’t have struck his chance any better, but the keeper pulled off a worldie save, which effectively has gained his side a point. Leamington made it difficult for us and got what they came for.”

Kevin Dos Santos scored his second goal of the season to put Quakers in front, and Armstrong said; “Kev had been down in training during the week because of the chance he missed at Chorley. I was delighted that he scored, because he never stops grafting. You know what you’re going to get from him.”

The big talking point of the afternoon was whether Leamington’s goal was offside, with Dan Turner bringing the ball down before tucking it past keeper Tommy Taylor.

“From where I was standing, he looked yards offside," said Armstrong. "Maybe we should have dealt with it offensively and then argued with the referee, but if Danny Ellis was playing instead of being injured, that goal wouldn’t have happened."

Quakers looked good for the points judging by their start to the match. Will Hatfield curled a teasing cross over for eight-goal Luke Charman to volley just over the top, then Dos Santos forced Leamington keeper Jake Weaver into a full-length save with a right foot shot from the edge of the box.

Quakers deservedly took the lead after 18 minutes, when Jarrett Rivers got away down the right and crossed into the middle, where Dos Santos calmly controlled and fired into the top corner.

He nearly got a second soon after, but he fired straight at Weaver.

Leamington scored with their first serious attack on 29 minutes. Kyle Morrison chipped the ball forward, and with the Darlington defence hesitating for offside, Turner chested the ball down into the box and rolled it into the net.

Quakers nearly regained the lead when Charman set up Hatfield, who fired left footed over the top.

They were then denied by a great save by Weaver on 53 minutes. Leamington couldn’t get Hatfield’s header away in the box, and the ball fell for Jake Cassidy to strike a sweet half volley that looked net-bound until Weaver got down well to push the ball away. Taylor then made a good late save from Junior English.

Quakers have moved their home game with Spennymoor from January 2 to New Year’s Day (3pm), and have also re-arranged their game at Boston for November 23.