ANDREW NELSON'S comeback double was overshadowed by another poor defensive display as Darlington lost at the league leaders.

In his first start for over a year, the former Sunderland youngster twice put Quakers into the lead, but the defence left the door open at the other end for Fylde to stay top of the table and leave Quakers without a win in six matches. They are now just a point ahead of the other play-off chasers.

Manager Alun Armstrong, who lost right back Kallum Griffiths and striker Jack Lambert before the game, has seen his side lose the lead in each of the last three away games, and said: “It seems to be a running theme – crap goals. I wouldn’t mind if they scored good goals against us, because Fylde are a good side.

“I thought we nullified them, but again we conceded goals from crosses. The defending yet again is poor considering who we have on the pitch to deal with them.

“I’ve told the lads that I’ve got to question their desire to be first to the ball and stop it going in our net.

"The lads up front worked wonders, but we just crumbled. People aren’t attacking the ball, and not taking responsibility. They’re switching off, as simple as that.”

A triumphant Nelson ran to the technical area and hugged physio Danny O’Connor after he scored the first goal from the spot, and Armstrong said: “I’m so pleased to have him back, you can see what he’ll bring to the team. He’s a different animal to last year, he’s not feeling any pain when he plays.

“I’m delighted for him, because he’s worked so hard to get fit again. He’s got that X-factor that will get goals. I was disappointed to take him off, but I have to manage the player. He is one of the best finishers at this level.”

Nelson has a scoring ratio of one goal every two games in his three Darlington spells, and said: “It was a very surreal feeling when I scored, but the overhanging feeling was, that the result hasn’t gone our way. I can’t thank Danny our physio enough for what he’s done for me. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever come across in football.”

There wasn’t much at all between the two sides in the first 20 minutes, except for a curler by Fylde’s Nick Haughton that Darlington keeper Tommy Taylor pushed around the post.


Quakers took the lead from a quick counter-attack, when Jarrett Rivers broke clear and rolled the ball to Jacob Hazel, who burst into the box and was brought down by Fylde keeper Chris Neal, who was yellow carded. Nelson coolly picked the ball up and sent Neal the wrong way from the spot.

Fylde levelled thanks to a simple long ball from Alex Whitmore over the top of the Darlington defence for Siya Ligendza to lift over the advancing Taylor.

But Quakers went back in front before half-time when Hazel harried and dispossessed Fylde defender Emeka Obi, and rolled the ball into the six-yard box for Nelson to divert past Neal.

Taylor pulled off a great save from a deflection off his own defender Nathan Newall before half-time, but he had no chance five minutes into the second half when the defence failed to clear a right-wing corner, and former Darlington player Luke Charman lashed the ball into the roof of the net. Out of respect for his old club, he didn’t celebrate his goal.

Quakers nearly regained the lead. Nelson nodded down a long ball by Jassem Sukar for Rivers to fire straight at Neal, and then David Wheater glanced a header inches wide from a Ben Hedley free kick.

But Fylde got the winner on 65 minutes, when Barrett, with three defenders almost on top of him, crossed into the middle for sub Joe Rowley to volley past Taylor.