DARLINGTON’S revival continued at Bradford Park Avenue with a third successive win.

Dave Syers got the only goal of the game, scoring early in the second half to give Quakers three points and a fifth game unbeaten in a row, though there were a few nervy moments late on when they were reduced to ten men.

Stephen Thompson was sent off in the 86th minute, but Darlington hung on to win and move up one place to 14th.

It is a second successive clean sheet too, not since September had they not conceded twice in a row.

A week after beating play-off hopefuls Blyth Spartans 3-0, Darlington’s win today again came against a team hopeful of a top seven finish, Bradford seventh in the table before kick-off.

The opening stages of the contest were uneventful, however, the long passages of play without incident broken when Reece Styche had the ball in the net, but a linesman had long raised his flag for a push on Shane Killock, while Bradford’s Gianluca Havern then headed over at a corner.

Thompson was lively, however, and he had a go at making the breakthrough.

Receiving a Luke Trotman throw on the right, Thompson turned, dribbled inside a few yards and then blasted over from distance.

Thompson, perhaps tired of the tedium, almost inadvertently instigated some excitement by setting up a 50/50 between Aynsley Pears and Adam Boyes, his header back being claimed by the goalkeeper ahead of the Bradford striker.

The first real chance came midway through the half and it was missed by Styche.

Phil Turnbull hoisted in a free-kick, won by Josh Gillies, who started ahead of the injured James Caton, Syers won the header but Styche rushed his attempted acrobatic kick, got it all wrong and the shot went wide.

Given his prolific goalscoring record this season, it was a poor miss by the striker, who had time to shape himself better.

As the half reached its conclusion Quakers increased the pressure. Thompson shot wide after evading an opposition player 20 yards out, and then another chance went begging.

Thompson did well to get down the side and pull the ball back, but Styche took a poor touch and the chance was gone.

Darlington started the second half well, Thompson again making headway down the right and playing a pass across goal, but it evaded everybody in the penalty area, and then Quakers had their first corner of the game, but Gillies inswinger went over the crossbar.

Darlington were given offside when they momentarily thought they had won a penalty, Styche having gone down, but a linesman’s flag was raised.

Quakers continued to be the better side at the start of the second half. A Terry Galbraith free-kick drifted over a clutch of bodies in the BPA penalty area, th ball bouncing out for a goal kick, but Havern was fortunate not to concede a penalty having almost pulled Josh Heaton’s shirt off.

It was not to matter. Within 60 seconds Darlington led 1-0.

It came after a punt by Pears, Syers flicking the ball on and Thompson then getting to the byline and pulling the ball back for Syers to score.

The 56th minute goal was his 15th in 55 appearances in Quakers colours, only 38 of them starts, a satisfactory figure for the midfielder.

Galbraith made a crucial clearance just as Havern was about to attempt a volley 12 yards from goal, and it was almost 2-0; Trotman crossed to the far post, Gillies headed back across goal, but a Bradford defender nipped in to clear just before Syers could get there.

Having deserved the lead, however, Darlington lost a little control after going a goal ahead, Bradford getting men forward and causing concern.

Jamie Spencer side-footed an effort that Pears collected comfortably as Bradford counter quickly, the effort registering as the hosts’ first shot on target.

Adam Nowakowski, the former Quakers player, came on as a sub for Bradford though it was Havern who came close to goal, smashing an effort inside the penalty area that Pears did well to turn over.

Darlington, under the cosh, sent on Gary Brown for Josh Gillies to firm up the defence, but their task was soon to become much tougher as Thompson was dismissed.

Referee David Underwood showed the Darlington playmaker a second yellow card in the 86th minute, the second for simulation - after making the most of a half-hearted challenge by Spencer - having earlier booked him for a foul.

And in a frantic finish Styche and Nicky Wroe were also booked following a skirmish.

In the first of five minutes added time there was an awful miss by Nowakowski. He was free man at the far post, but git his header on a cross all wrong, a let off for Quakers, and that proved to be the final chance of the game.

Goal: Syers (56, 0-1)

Bookings: Killock (60, foul); Heaton (66, foul), Syers (89), Styche (89), Wroe (89)

Sending-off: Thompson (86, two bookable offences)

Referee: David Underwood

Attendance: 773

Bradford PA (4-2-3-1): Drench; Toulson (Mulhern 68), Havern, Killock, Clee; Wroe, Spencer; Pybus (Nowakowski 77), Johnson Brooksby (Vidal 51); Boyes. Subs (not used): Hill, Smith

Darlington (4-2-3-1): Pears, Trotman, Heaton, Galbraith, O’Hanlon; Thompson, Turnbull, Wheatley, Gillies (Brown 84); Syers, Styche (Mills 90). Subs (not used): Bancroft (gk), Scott, Saunders