Darlington remain just two points above the relegation zone despite being beaten 3-0 at home by Chorley.

No team in the bottom half of the National League North won on Good Friday, though Farsley and Gloucester collected a point each, so little changed in the fight for survival.

However, Quakers were left to reflect on an officiating error that prevented them from going 1-0 up.

Just before half time Darlington ‘scored’, but a linesman wrongly ruled out Cameron Salkeld’s strike, and within minutes Chorley went 1-0 up with a penalty deep into added time.

Manager Steve Watson said: “I thought there was some very good football in the first half. We played really well, we made their keeper work and they made ours work.

“The game turned on a big moment and a really big decision. In fairness, the lad who’s cleared it came from nowhere.

“Our lads seemed pretty sure it was over the line.”

There weren’t many chances until the later stages of the first half.

Darlington keeper Matty Young, on his return from England under-18s duty, was in action in the third minute when he dashed off his line to save from left-back Adam Blakeman, but Quakers nearly took the lead on nine minutes when Aidan Rutledge sent Cedric Main away down the left, and he crossed into the middle for Rutledge to volley towards goal, but keeper Matt Urwin saved at full stretch.

There were few chances at either end for the bulk of the half, but towards the end of the first 45 minutes there were some good chances.

Quakers’ Matty Cornish found Kallum Griffiths on the right on 39 minutes with a good diagonal pass, and the full back crossed low into the middle for Cameron Salkeld to fire a shot just wide of a post.

Four minutes later, they thought they’d taken the lead when Rutledge split the Chorley defence perfectly for Salkeld to run on to, sidestep the keeper and roll the ball towards the net.

Blakeman scrambled back to hack clear but too late to stop the ball crossing the line. However, assistant referee Stephen Birkett incorrectly did not signal for a goal, leaving referee Shaun Taylor to play on.

Salkeld was understandably livid about the error, but his protestations led to him being booked.

Typically, within moments Chorley were 1-0 up and there could be no complaints about this one. They caught Quakers on the break in the fifth minute of added time when a long ball caused confusion in the Darlington defence and Jake Lawlor’s weak header led to Young bringing down Carlton Ubaezuonu.

Jack Sampson scored from the spot, and at half-time many in attendance at Blackwell Meadows saw a photograph, published by Darlington on social media, of Salkeld’s ‘goal’ clearly crossing the line, leading to Birkett being booed when he returned to the pitch for the second half.

The situation soon went from bad to worse at the start of the second half for Darlington.

A right wing cross was nodded back by Mike Calveley for Mark Ellis to side-foot the ball home past Young.

Ellis scored in Chorley’s 8-0 win in November during Josh Gowling’s calamitous 16-game tenure.

And on 55 minutes the ball was crossed from the left to the far post where Calveley had time to bring the ball down and fire across Young into the bottom corner.

Chorley then sat back, and defended their lead. Quakers brought on two subs, Jarrett Rivers and Mitch Curry for Rutledge and Cornish, and they nearly pulled one back when Salkeld got behind the defence, but Urwin saved his effort one-handed.

Chorley though nearly got a fourth when Frank Maguire broke up the left and forced Young into a good save but for the most part Darlington were weak in the second half.

Their heads dropped after going 1-0 down, never recovering from the moment Birkett let them down.