Both Spennymoor Town and Darlington had a man sent off as they shared the points in a fractious Boxing Day derby.

Quakers will probably feel that they should have won the game with the chances they created at the Brewery Field, but the talking points were two red cards.

Moors had former Darlington player Stephen Thompson red-carded by referee John Mulligan just after they equalised, and then Quakers top scorer Luke Charman followed him at the end.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong thought neither was worthy of a sending off and said: “It’s embarrassing. I’ve seen a picture of James Curtis with Luke in a headlock, and Luke is trying to get free.

"If Luke catches him getting choked like that, he cannot breathe, because he’s got him in an arch. The referee has said that he hasn’t seen that. I’ve asked him to look at the picture, but he’s said that he won’t look at the picture until he’s seen the footage.

“Why not book the pair of them?

“I think he’s done that to even it up, because never in a million years was Thommo’s a sending off in the first half. I didn’t think there was a sending off in the game.”

Quakers took the lead on 13 minutes. The impressive Charman won a corner with an angled shot deflected wide of the post, and when Jarrett Rivers curled in the corner from the right, Charman was left completely unmarked to head past Dale Eve for his 11th goal of the season.

Quakers then thought they should have had a penalty for handball when Jack Lambert’s cross was blocked by a defender, but the referee waved play on.

On 23 minutes fans of each side and players joined in a minute’s applause for former Darlington player Osagi Bascome. It was a poignant moment for Moors goalkeeper Eve, who was good friends with the midfielder.

The 23-year-old was killed in Bermuda last week, and players wore tribute t-shirts in the warm-up.

After the game’s resumption, Darlington kept the pressure on, and Kevin Dos Santos beat three men on the left and pulled the ball back, but there was no-one to take advantage.

And the dangerous Charman popped up on the left side of the box and curled a low right foot shot just past the right-hand post.

Darlington had been on top for the bulk of the first half, but after a brief stoppage following disorder on the terraces it was Moors who had a good spell.

After Glen Taylor fired narrowly over from a 35-yard free kick, the home side equalised as the half-time.

He Taylor picked the ball up on the left and was tripped in the area by Darlington skipper Danny Ellis. The referee immediately pointed to the spot from where Taylor sent Tommy Taylor the wrong way.

But there was more drama to come, when former Darlington striker Thompson was red-carded for a challenge on Griffiths just inside the Spennymoor half.

Moors reorganised at half time, bringing on John Lufudu for Ryan Hall and switching to a five-man defence, and two good chances fell to Taylor at the start of the half.

With the man advantage, Quakers slowly gained control, and they had several opportunities to regain the lead. The dangerous Charman ran from the halfway line and forced Eve into a good save at the foot of his post, and Danny Rose’s right-wing corner went across the face of goal without anyone getting a touch.

Dos Santos curled another effort just wide, and Eve just managed to touch Lambert’s delicate chip over the top.

Eve produced another good save to punch away a well hit free-kick by Charman from the top corner.

But that was Charman’s last piece of action, because he was dismissed on 85 minutes following a clash with Spennymoor defender James Curtis, with the referee taking his time before deciding to send him off as players from both sides surrounded him.

However, photographic evidence later demonstrated that Curtis hauled Charman to the floor with an arm around the striker’s neck.

Spennymoor joint manager Anthony Johnson said: “I didn’t think Stephen Thompson’s was a red card, and you could argue that theirs wasn’t. It was a disgrace, two committed lads going for a 50-50 ball. The ref couldn’t wait to show a red card.

“You could argue that Luke Charman’s red card wasn’t because of the melee, but we knew at half time that it would get evened up.”

Quakers are at home to Gateshead tomorrow (3pm), while Moors go to Blyth.