DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong described Saturday’s 1-1 derby draw with Spennymoor as the “Luke Charman Show”.

Former Newcastle United striker Charman took his tally for the season to 13 with another quality goal, which would surely have impressed the growing number of clubs who are sniffing around him now that the transfer window has opened.

Rochdale and Bradford City are both understood to have had representatives at Blackwell Meadows at the weekend, with Charman sure to have been the focus of their attention.

The striker's glittering performance lit up what was an otherwise low-key game that faded in the second half, which was a stark contrast to the blood and thunder reverse fixture at the Brewery Field on Boxing Day.

“It was the Luke Charman show in the first half,” said Armstrong. “It was unbelievable when he came to life. It was one of the best performances I’ve seen from a centre-forward at this level in the first half. He did everything.

“I asked him to do a job for us defensively, but he didn’t need to because he was that good going forward. He won headers, made great runs, had shots at goal and his link-up play was top drawer.

“Darlington fans might not like me saying this, but if you’re a big league club watching that kid, there’s something there. But I want to keep him for the rest of the season, and he’s really enjoying himself. Football League clubs would be stupid not to watch him.

“He’s enjoying himself because he’s allowed to express himself in the way that we want to play. We’re playing a system that suits him and allows him to do what he wants. He’s developed massively.

“But it’s not just about him, the team works hard around him.”

Charman went close twice in the opening stages. First, he drifted past two defenders on a run into the Spennymoor box on the right and from an acute angle fired across the face of goal just past the far post.

And two minutes later, he popped up on the left after another good run, and curled a right-foot shot into the hands of Spennymoor keeper Dale Eve.

But it was another highly-rated striker, Moors’ Glen Taylor, who struck with his first effort of the game on 23 minutes. Luke Spokes floated a right-wing corner over to the far post, and there was Taylor unmarked, and he volleyed past Tommy Taylor from six yards for his 17th goal of the season.
Moors nearly scored another a minute later, with Rob Ramshaw forcing Taylor into a full-length save.

However, it didn’t take long for Charman to draw things level, and in doing so, undoubtedly impress the growing number of watching clubs.
He picked the ball up on the right-hand side, moved into the middle, and struck a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards, his 13th goal of the season.

He nearly scored another a few minutes later, but his header from Danny Rose’s corner was scrambled off the line. And then he nearly got a touch on a low cross from Rose a few yards out a few moments later, only to be denied again.

In the closing stages of the half, Jarrett Rivers almost got a second when he put a glancing header just wide from a George Smith cross from the left.
Quakers had a promising start to the second half. Moors keeper Dale Eve saved at Jake Cassidy’s feet just as he was about to shoot, then Alex Purver and Danny Ellis both had their efforts saved by Eve.

Moors nearly went back in front on 57 minutes when Quakers didn’t clear the ball inside their own box, and it ran for their former top scorer Stephen Thompson, but his low shot was blocked by Taylor’s outstretched foot.

Purver was off target with two more chances at the other end, but it was Moors who finished the stronger, although they only had one chance which James Curtis headed wide from a corner.

Moors joint-manager Anthony Johnson said: “I thought we were genuinely unlucky not to win the game because their keeper pulled off two worldies from Rob Ramshaw and Stephen Thompson.

“I thought we created the better chances and applied pressure really well.

“I thought there were some good performances, and in the last 25 minutes we played really well.

"It was an okay performance overall, being hard to beat is the sign of a good side.”