Ten-man Darlington slumped to an embarrassing defeat at Chorley on Tuesday, losing 8-0 in a contest as one-sided as the scoreline suggests.

They are enduring a dreadful season, mired in the relegation zone having previously suffered 4-0 defeats to Scunthorpe and Tamworth, while they also lost 5-0 at Buxton.

Two wins in their last three matches had provided hope, but Quakers’ shameful collapse at Chorley was on the cards from an early stage.

The hosts quickly went 1-0 up followed by Darlington striker Andrew Nelson being sent off, and thereafter it was one-way traffic.

The 8-0 humiliation not only marks the heaviest defeat of this season, but also in their time since becoming fan-owned in 2012.

Darlington supporters have not seen their team concede eight since a League Cup tie in 1987 with Watford, who were then in the top division.

The signs it was not going to be their night were there from an early stage at Victory Park, where Quakers have not won since 1989.

With new signing Akwasi Asante watching from the stands, Chorley were 1-0 up after three minutes following a corner.

Joe Nolan floated the ball over to the far post, where Mark Ellis pulled away from the defence and had time to control the ball before he fired across Tommy Taylor into the net.

Worse was to follow on five minutes when Andrew Nelson, who scored twice for Quakers at Chorley in 2018, was rightly shown a red card for a high challenge.

It was a night when nothing went right for Josh Gowling’s side. They lost Jake Lawlor to a shoulder injury on 15 minutes, and before half-time Jarrett Rivers went off with a groin strain.

Lawlor was replaced by Toby Lees but it was not long before Chorley made it 2-0 on 22 minutes.

A long throw from the left was headed away only as far as Adam Henley, who took a touch and then fired low past Taylor.

It was effectively attack versus defence, the one-sided match amounting to little more than a training session for Chorley, who made it 3-0 on 26 minutes when Ollie Shenton thundered a powerful shot into the top corner from distance.

Chorley goalkeeper Matt Urwin was a virtual spectator throughout, though Darlington did have a strong penalty shout before half-time. Will Hatfield floated a free kick into the Chorley area, and Kieran Burton seemed to be barged to the ground, and then Cameron Salkeld’s effort hit a Chorley arm, but on both occasions the referee played on.

The first of five second-half goals came on 53 minutes thanks to lax Darlington defending. Following a simple ball over the top, Justin Johnson controlled it on the left, easily skipped past two defenders, and beat Taylor in the bottom corner.

Chorley were inches away from 5-0 when Mike Calveley headed against the crossbar, but it was not long before Billy Whitehouse scored the first of his hat-trick. The ball was pulled back from the left for Whitehouse to control and beat Taylor with a low shot.

It was 6-0 a few minutes later when Jonny Ngandu played the ball across his own 18-yard box straight to Whitehouse, who picked the ball up and fired into the bottom corner.

The seventh was truly remarkable. Substitute Adriano Moke had the ball level with Darlington’s 18-yard line and tried to play it cross-field, but instead chipped it high over Taylor into his own net

It was described by Darlington’s own Twitter account as “a spectacular own goal”, and it certainly rivals Chris Brass' infamous effort at the Arena in terms of calamity. 

The final kick of the game was a Whitehouse penalty to make it 8-0.

Next up for Darlington is a trip to third-top Scunthorpe in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Chorley: Urwin, Moore, Henley (Wilson 71), Ellis, Smith, Nolan, Calveley, Shenton, Sampson (Moyo 58), Whitehouse, Johnson (Popoola 58). Subs not used: Hazlehurst, Ubaezuono

Darlington: Taylor, Rowe, Lawlor (Lees 15), Burton, Hedley, Hatfield (Moke 68), Hindley, Rivers (Simms 45), Ngandu, Salkeld, Nelson. Subs not used: Platt, Griffiths

Attendance: 819