JOSH GOWLING admits he was left shell-shocked by Darlington’s capitulation at Chorley, but is adamant he and his players can bounce back from the eight-goal horror show.

Darlington’s increasingly-alarming season plumbed new lows on Tuesday night as they were hammered 8-0 at Chorley’s Victory Park, the heaviest defeat since the Quakers became a fan-owned club and 2012 and the first time they had conceded eight goals in a game since losing to top-flight Watford in the League Cup in 1987.

There were mitigating factors for the defeat, with Darlington have to play with ten men from the fifth minute onwards after Andrew Nelson was a shown a straight red card for a mistimed challenge that caught an opponent in the midriff, but Gowling readily admits it was a night to forget.

“There’s no excuses, it was poor,” said the Quakers boss, whose side are eight points from safety in the National League North relegation zone. “As a group, with myself, we’ve got to apologise to the fans because they’ve come to see that. I’ve never been involved in a game like that as a manager or a player.

“It wasn’t great, was it. Let’s be honest. There were little patches where we were good in possession, but we’ve lost 8-0. I can’t say there was anything good about that performance because the result takes care of itself. It says what it is. It’s poor, but we’ve got to keep pushing on.”

The capitulation was especially disappointing as it came off the back of Darlington’s best performance and result of the season, with Gowling’s side having beaten promotion-chasing Chester 3-2 at Blackwell Meadows last weekend.

“We had a good result at Farsley, then went to Peterborough and lost,” continued Gowling. “We had a good result on Saturday, then this. There’s something there that we need to work on to make sure we get more consistency.

“We were talking about consistency before the game. We had a great result on Saturday, but you have to have consistency and back that up, and we were nowhere near it. We looked tired.”

Things are unlikely to get any easier for Darlington this weekend as they head to Scunthorpe United in the FA Trophy, having already lost 4-0 at Glanford Park in the league this season.

“I’ve said along that it’s a work in progress, and we’re going to have bumps along the way,” said Gowling. “Obviously, that’s a big bump, but we’ve got to roll our sleeves up and go again.

“This group will, we’ll make sure we do that. We’ll work hard. We’ve got a session on Thursday and then we go to Scunny away on Saturday, so we’re going to have to put some work in.”