Brackley 3 Darlington 0
Quakers considered themselves very unlucky to lose at Brackley.
Despite losing Reece Styche before kick off because of flu, they created some good chances but couldn’t quite capitalise.
Most of all though, Quakers felt that they should have been playing ten men, as Brackley defender Gareth Dean was lucky to escape with just a yellow after he hauled down Harvey Saunders when he was the last man with the score at 1-0.
Considering the heavy pitch, the game flowed quite well in the opening stages.
Luke Trotman conceded an early corner, but Quakers got the ball away at the near post.
Quakers then created a chance when Phil Turnbull found Ben O’Hanlon with a delightful crossfield ball, and he put a teasing cross towards goal that Lewis palmed over the bar.
But Brackley went close on 4 minutes when Walker cut in from the left and crossed to the six yard line where Ndlovu headed just wide.
Trotman then played a good through ball into the path of Saunders, who couldn’t get enough power behind his right foot shot ten yards out and Lewis saved easily.
Brackley finished off a good attack when James Armson had a left foot shot deflected wide.
Quakers cleared the 13th minute corner, but the ball came back to the edge of the area, and Ndlovu scored with a right foot shot that seemed to take a deflection on its way into the bottom corner.
Quakers had strong claims that Brackley defender Gareth Dean should have been red carded for pulling down Saunders as he tried to pick up a through ball from Turnbull, but the ref only showed a yellow. Gillies curled the free kick just wide from the edge of the box.
Quakers nearly levelled when Greg Mills crossed right footed from the left into the middle, where Syers headed just wide.
Lowe nearly made it 2-0 when he picked up a loose ball out of the Darlington defence and fired wide, then Armson created space for himself on the edge of the box and hit a powerful shot that Pears parried.
Quakers nearly levelled just on half time when Gillies swung a free kick over from the left over to the far post where Galbraith headed just wide.
Quakers had slowly managed to adapt to the heavy pitch in the first half, and there were plenty of encouraging signs for the second half.
Brackley 1 Darlington 0
Aynsley Pears pulled off a good save at the start of the second half, pushing away a low shot by Lowe at the foot of his left hand post.
With Syers now in a more advanced position and Saunders out wide, Quakers looked more dangerous.
Mills created a chance on 65 minutes when he cut in from the left, but pulled his shot wide, but pulled his shot wide, and Syers had a shot blocked after being set up by Saunders.
However, both sides were getting bogged down on the heavy pitch.
Ellis myles nearly got a second for Brackley with a low shot from an acute angle that Heaton blocked, but Brackley went 2-0 up when Quakers didn’t clear a right wing cross, and Aaron Williams forced the ball home.
However Quakers nearly pulled one back when Saunders got through, tried to dink the ball over Lewis, but the keeper saved.
But it was 3-0 on 76 minutes when Armson found space 25 yards out and drove a left foot shot past Pears.
Quakers were awarded a penalty on 80minutes when Mills was brought down by Myles as he tried to latch on to a Mitchell Glover through ball, and the referee pointed to the spot, but Lewis saved Galbraith’s penalty.
Quakers kept working hard throughout the rest of the game, but their five match unbeaten run came to an end.
Darlington are forced into two changes. Stephen Thompson is suspended, so Greg Mills replaces him, while Reece Styche is out with flu, so Harvey Saunders starts. Flu has affected several other players by varying degrees during the week.
Darlo: Pears, Trotman, Heaton, Galbraith, O’Hanlon, Turnbull, Wheatley, Gillies, Syers, Mills, Saunders
Subs: Scott, Bancroft, Glover, Brown, Milburn
Brackley; Lewis, Myles, Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean, Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu, Williams, Walker
Subs: Lucas, Streete, Brown, Diggin, Murombedzi
Referee: A Tankard Sheffield