ONE derby, two contrasting emotions at the end of it. While Spennymoor improved their National League North play-off chances with a win at the Brewery Field, Darlington remain rooted in the bottom four as their relegation worries returned.

Quakers went into the game on the back of four successive wins, but after taking the lead, they conceded twice in five minutes and then both sides missed good chances in an entertaining encounter. Spennymoor were the more clinical when it mattered, and have now won four games in a row, leaving them just four points below the play-off positions.

When Darlington led thanks to a Matty Cornish goal, they were briefly out of the relegation zone in 18th place, but they’re back to fourth bottom now, a point behind Rushall Olympic, with a big game coming up at seventh-bottom Blyth, who are three points ahead of them, on Tuesday night.

Quakers boss Steve Watson said: “We started the game well and looked like the team on the front foot. We got a good opening goal, but then we had a ten-minute spell when everything we’d been doing really well in defending our box and keeping a high level, we had a bad spell regarding that, and let in two goals. That one spell turned the game.

“We were a little bit panicky after that, we needed to be calmer in the penalty box. The cut-backs could have had less pace on them, and for the players not to be so frenzied.

“Our run of wins has come to an end, but I don’t see us crumbling. I don’t see that side of the game. It’s a setback, but that’s all it is. There are eight games left, if we keep performing the way we have been, then we’ve got a really good chance.”

Moors boss Graeme Lee, who has started preparing for the home game with Scunthorpe on Tuesday night, said: “It was a long, hard, difficult win, and there were some tired legs on that pitch.

“The players showed character in the first half to come back from 1-0 down, they did their jobs and won the game. I thought we sat back too deep in the first half, but the second-half performance was much better, we looked more solid.

“The game was probably far too open for my liking at times, it was end-to-end and both teams wanted to score. “

Quakers nearly scored in the opening five minutes when Cedric Main won possession in the corner, rode two challenges, and forced Spennymoor keeper Brad James into a full-length save.

Their early enterprise gave them a deserved lead on 16 minutes, when Cameron Salkeld found former Spennymoor full-back Kallum Griffiths on the right, and his low cross to the far post was turned in by Cornish for his fourth goal for the club.

But then Darlington let their defensive discipline slip twice in five minutes.

Firstly, John Lufudu crossed from the right for Will Harris to glance a header past the stranded Mattie Young, and then Rob Ramshaw lost his man to latch on to a through ball and blast past the keeper.

Finlay Shrimpton put in a great tackle on Cornish as he was about to score soon after, then sub Mitch Curry, on for the injured Andrew Nelson, volleyed a Salkeld cross just wide.

Salkeld again got round the back of the defence and set up Cornish, who delayed his effort too long and was blocked, and then Main volleyed a Curry left-wing cross over the bar.

Spennymoor almost made a scoring start to the second half when John Lufudu dribbled his way through and was only stopped by a great tackle by Toby Lees, and then Moors were denied on three occasions in a fierce attack by good blocks by the Darlington defence.

Again, Darlington had chances, with James pushing an effort by Curry over the top, and Tom Platt heading over from a corner.

The game was really stretched as both teams tired in the closing stages. Main beat two defenders and set up Will Hatfield, who fired straight at James, and at the other end Corey McKeown was just off target with a curler after cutting in from the left.

In stoppage time, Ramshaw broke away, but side-footed just wide of the post.