A Josh Gillies winner gave Quakers the points after battling Gainsborough cancelled out their 3-1 lead.
Quakers looked good for the points when Terry galbraith made it 3-1 with a lovely chip at the start of the second half, but gainsborough came storming back to 3-3.
But Gillies struck the winner to put Quakers joint top of the league tonight.
Quakers missed a great chance on 3 minutes when David Ferguson sent James Caton racing clear one-on-one, but he fired the ball over the top.
Gainsborough had a chance with their first attack on 8 minutes, when the ball dropped for Alex Simmons, but Gary Brown blocked his shot at the expense of a corner.
And Gainsborough took the lead after 10 minutes when Ashley Worsfold and Nathan Jarman swopped passes putting Worsfold clear, and he put the ball under Adam Bartlett for the opening goal.
Quakers nearly levelled on 14 minutes when James Caton cut in from the left hand side and struck a low right foot shot that whizzed across the six yard box and just past the far post.
Caton had another chance on 16 minutes when Beck set him up, but he pulled his shot wide of the post.
But Quakers were level on 23 minutes when Gary Brown crossed from the left hand side for Mark Beck, lurking at the far post, to head past the keeper.
And Quakers nearly took the lead on 34 minutes when Ferguson laid a Syers cross from the right back for Phil Turnbull to curl a left foot shot just wide of the right hand support.
There was another chance when Ferguson was fouled on the left (Gatter was booked) and Gillies whipped the free kick into the middle where Beck didn’t quite connect, but the ball hit a defender and somehow ran into the keeper’s hands.
Quakers took the lead on 41 minutes when keeper Walton failed to hold an inswinging corner from the left by Gillies, and David Syers squeezed the ball in at the far post.
Darlington 2 Gainsborough Trinity 1
Quakers went 3-1 up on 48 minutes when Terry Galbraith picked the ball up on the left, sidestepped a challenge, and chipped the ball over the stranded keeper into the net for a superb goal — although his celebrations suggested that scoring wasn’t quite his intention!
But within a minute, Gainsborough pulled a goal back when Ioan Evans found space to head a left wing corner into the roof of the net from six yards.
Quakers nearly went 4-2 up when Galbraith floated a measured free kick into the box, where Brown headed narrowly over.
But Gainsborough went up the other end and equalised on 63 minutes when Tom Davey crossed from the left for Jarman to find the bottom of the net with a glancing header.
Quakers were back in front on 72 minutes when Chris Hunter crossed deep to the far post where Syers nodded the ball back for Gillies to stroke left footed into the bottom corner. That was Gillies’ last action, as he was replaced by Leon Scott straight after the goal.
Beck then set up Saunders to go running through, but Michael Jacklin put in an excellent tackle.
Quakers managed to kill the game this time, although they conceded a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions which they managed to deal with.
Darlington 4 Gainsborough Trinity 3
Bartlett, Hunter, Galbraith, Turnbull, Collins, Brown, Gillies (sub Scott 77), Syers, Beck, Caton (sub Saunders 65), Ferguson (sub Fenwick 85)
Subs: Wilczynski, Thompson,
Walton, Gatter (sub Lacey 45), Davie, Clarke, Jacklin, Evans, Simmons (sub Wafula 57), Richards, Jarman (sub Wells 65), Worsfold, King
Subs not used: Williams, Storey