THERE was no disgrace in defeat as Darlington lost to league leaders Tamworth - and if Steve Watson's side had some sort of cutting edge, they might have picked up a vital point at Blackwell Meadows.

Since Quakers beat Chester 3-2 in November, they have played ten matches and only scored four times, picking up just eight points in the process.

With this latest home defeat, they are now eight points behind the fifth-bottom club, and effectively need nine wins from their last 19 matches to have a chance of staying up. If they’re going to do that, they need an effective threat in the opposition penalty area.

“We’re lacking that bit of quality and killer instinct in the final third,” admitted Watson, who is expected to move into the signings market this week.  “We’ve got to start gambling on things.

"It’s frustrating and so close, but that’s why Tamworth have won 11 out of their last 12. They’ve found a way to win, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Defensively, Quakers have conceded just three goals in three matches since Watson arrived, which is some consolation.

“We defended well against a team that makes you defend a lot of balls," he added. "In general, we defended the first ball really well, but the goal came from a second or third phase which we tried to alert the lads to before the game. A little split second knock off by one of the lads and they scored a scabby goal through legs.

“Three goals have gone in against us in the last two games, and none of them have been great goals. Our luck has been against us regarding that.

“I hope people can see what we’re trying to. We tried to build up through the middle and get out the other side. To a degree it worked.”

When Quakers played Tamworth earlier on the season and lost 4-0, Thomas Tonks caused problems with his long throws, and he did so again on 12 minutes. His long throw from the left was only cleared by the Darlington defence as far as Ben Acquaye, who found the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards out with his left foot.

Apart from a low shot by Nathan Tshikuna, Tamworth didn’t offer all that much, and Quakers managed to work their way back into the game.

The recalled Jonny Ngandu cut in from the left and put a right-foot shot into the keeper’s hands, and Tom Platt had a back header saved off Scott Barrow’s long throw.

And just on half-time, they had a goal disallowed when Toby Lees burst through the middle from the back and set up Andrew Nelson to score, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

There was plenty of purpose about Quakers in the second half, as Tamworth struggled to contain them, but they couldn’t create many clear openings.

Barrow had a shot blocked, and sub Mitch Curry flicked a Barrow cross over the bar.

Tamworth should have made the game safe when Acquaye counter-attacked and got through with just Taylor to beat, but he side-footed wide of goal.

Quakers controlled possession in the the remainder of the game and put some dangerous crosses into the box, but didn’t force keeper Jay Singh into any serious action.

The best chance they had was when a Barrow long throw was cleared as far as Ngandu, who fired just over the top. Everyone went up for a last minute free-kick, but to sum up Quakers’ story of the game, nobody got on the end of it.