DARLINGTON'S slim play-off chances disappeared in a goalless draw with Bradford Park Avenue at the Horsfall Stadium.

The club’s Boost the Budget campaign has started, and it’s clear which part of the team manager Alun Armstrong will need to spend the money on.

Quakers created enough chances to win yesterday's game, but couldn’t finish Bradford off, which has been a familiar story since Luke Charman departed for Rochdale.

Assistant manager Darren Holloway, who took on press duties after the game because Armstrong was under the weather, said: “We missed that cutting edge.

“There were peaks and troughs in the game. We started the match really brightly, but we looked a bit nervous thereafter. We had some chances early on, but we couldn’t get that goal to settle us down.

“We had a shout for a penalty when Jarrett Rivers was fouled, Jake Cassidy headed one in and got a foul against the keeper when he would have won us the game. Those things went against us, but we just lacked a killer instinct.

“Jarrett came inside, got into the box and was a tripped by a defender. It was a blatant penalty, the lads said they could even hear the contact.

“Jake headed the ball and their keeper ran into him. Every time their keeper went for the ball at a set-piece or corner, the referee just automatically gave a free-kick against us.”

Quakers are seven points behind the play-off places with two games remaining, and Holloway said: “Before the game, the play-offs were always going to be a big ask, we needed to win this game and hope for results to go for us elsewhere.

“We’ve fallen short this year, but we know what we need to be better at. We’ll keep challenging the players to improve.”

Bottom of the table Farsley Celtic arrive at Blackwell Meadows tomorrow afternoon, and Holloway said: “We won 6-0 at their place earlier in the season, but this will be a tough game because they’re battling for their lives.

“There was an end-of-season feel to the game at Bradford, we want the players to make it feel a bit different on Monday.”

Cassidy went close with an early 25-yarder yesterday, before Bradford nearly took the lead when Lewis Knight sprung the offside trap and got through one-on-one, but keeper Tommy Taylor spread himself well and blocked his effort.

Cassidy saw a header from a great Ben Hedley cross blocked by a defender on the line, and then his flick from a Cameron Thompson pull-back was stopped by Bradford keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy on the line.

They had some good chances going up to half-time. Cameron Thompson and Kevin Dos Santos fired over the top, then Cassidy dispossessed a defender just inside the area, but his shot from an acute angle was saved by the keeper.

In the second half, they had a huge penalty appeal turned down when Rivers dribbled into the box and appeared to be tripped by a defender, but referee Aaron Bannister turned their appeals down.

Quakers were denied by the goal frame a few minutes later, when Dos Santos cut in from the left, beat a couple of defenders and fired right-footed against the post.

And right back Ben Hedley, who has yet to score for Quakers, nearly broke his duck when he won possession 25 yards out and fired left-footed narrowly wide of the post from the edge of the area.

He had another effort, with his right foot, blocked a few minutes later.

Bradford had chances in the last ten minutes, but Brad Dockerty headed over from point-blank range.