Quakers were beaten by a late gaol against Salford when they could so easily have got something out of the game.
After losing Dom Collins with a torn hamstring in the first half, Quakes fought back from a Reece Styche missed penalty and a goal down to level through Greg Mills, but Salford got the winner late on.
There was a chance for Salford in the first minute when Phenix drove the ball into the box from the right and Shelton turned the ball over the top.
Shelton then went close with a low free kick that went just past the post, although the referee gave a corner when nobody seemed to get a touch.
Quakers got a free kick on the right on 10 minutes that was taken by Galbraith and cleared by a defender at the near post.
But Salford nearly took the lead on 11 minutes when Phenix collected a crossfield pass, created space for himself and struck a low shot that went just past the post.
Quakers had to make a change on 24 minutes when Collins went down injured holding his leg, and had to be stretchered off with Tom Portas replacing him. Looks as if Quakers have gone 4-4-2, with Portas at right back.
Quakers then had a good spell of pressure, with Mills firing the ball across the face of goal and nobody able to get a touch.
Then Gillies made a good run into the area where a defender got the ball away, and in Quakers’ next attack Styche just failed to bring down a great diagonal ball by Brown.
But Salford replied when Walker got past Portas and struck a low shot into the side netting.
Mills then played a good first time ball through towards Styche, but Crocombe got there first.
The half time whistle sounded, and Quakers could be pleased with their first half work, restricting Salford to just a few chances, especially after losing Collins through injury.
Darlington 0 Salford City 0
Salford put together some early pressure, with Mafuta firing high and wide.
Quakers were awarded a penalty when Mills got the ball in the box , tried to get in between two defenders and went down, and the ref awarded a penalty.
But Styche tried to dummy the keeper from the spot and chip it over him, but the keeper guessed correctly and saved comfortably.
And Quakers paid the penalty on 56 minutes when a free kick from the right was headed down at the far post for Phenix to drive into the bottom corner.
1-1! But Quakers got back into the game on 67 minutes when Styche and Thompson exchanged passes and found Gillies in space, and He squared for Mills to come in and sidefoot past Crocombe.
Salford kept probing, and Portas made a great saving tackle on Askew as he broke into the box.
Two subs for Darlo, Saunders and Wheatley on for Mills and Thompson.
Styche then made a great clearance inside his own six yard box from a Salford header, then Turnbull cleared off the line.
But Quakers went 2-1 down when Dudley broke away, and struck a low shot that crept just inside the far post.
Talbot, Collins (sub Portas 24), Galbraith, Scott, Heaton, Brown, Mills, Turnbull, Styche, Gillies, Thompson
Subs: Portas, Caton, Wheatley, Syers, Saunders
Salford: Crocombe, Nottingham, Touray, Maynard, Piergianni, Hogan, Walker, Mafuta, Phenix, Redshaw, Shelton
Subs: Livesey, Dieseruvwe, Askew, Beesley, Dudley