Blyth strikers Dan Maguire and Robbie Dale showed Quakers how to take their chances as Darlington went out of the FA Cup at Croft Park last night.
Just like the second half on Sunday, Quakers had the chances to finish the game, but they failed when it mattered in front of goal especially in the first 45 minutes when they were in control of the game.
Quakers started with a new central defensive partnership of Liam Hatch and Gary Brown, and both of them won early balls in the air.
The enforced changes didn’t seem to trouble them, as they got on top of Blyth in the opening stages. They had a goal disallowed on 12 minutes when Terry Galbraith curled a great free kick in from the right that went across the six yard box and Hatch, the last man at the far post, fired the ball into the roof of the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
With their coach from the famous 1978 FA Cup run, Jackie Marks, in the crowd, Blyth had a let off on 18 minutes when Jeffries couldn’t hold a low free kick by Adam Mitchell, but he recovered just in time to hold the follow up by Ryan Noble.
Quakers had another good chance on 29 minutes, when Adam Mitchell played a 1-2 with Stephen Thompson and ran through on the end of a great pass, but he pulled his left foot shot just wide of the post.
Blyth threatened for the first time on 33 minutes when Jarret Rivers pulled the ball back from the right to the edge of the box for Robbie Dale to have two shots blocked, much to the annoyance of the Blyth fans.
There was more great play by Quakers on 38 minutes when Adam Cocks found Thompson just outside the area, and he dribbled past two defenders before crossing into the middle for Armstrong to put in a diving header that struck the bar with Jeffries beaten.
But Blyth nearly took the lead two minutes later when Dale turned quickly on a right wing cross eight yards out and fired powerfully towards goal, but Darlington keeper Peter Jameson blocked well.
Two minutes after the restart, Quakers had their best chance yet to take the lead, when Thompson crossed into the middle from the left for the unmarked Noble standing unmarked on the edge of the area, but he missed his kick, although the ball could have taken an unkind bobble.
But then Blyth striker Dan Maguire showed why he has been the interest from some Football League clubs on 56 minutes when cut in from the left, sprinted into the box, and lashed a shot past Jameson into the roof of the net to break the deadlock over the two games.
And three minutes later, he nearly got a second with a shot on the turn from 25 yards that flew just wide.
Quakers went 2-0 down on 64 minutes when Dale, on the right, chested down a long diagonal ball, cleverly sidestepped challenges from Hatch and Brown, and coolly sidefooted the ball past Jameson into the bottom corner.
Blyth nearly got a third in a goalmouth scramble that saw Jameson parry a shot from Dale, and Neal Hooks have another effort blocked on the line.
The two goals were enough to knock Quakers out of their rhythm, and Quakers’ mood wasn’t helped when Thompson went off injured with 12 minutes left to be replaced by Mattie Lovegreen.
It was nearly 3-0 when Maguire again found space and unleashed a terrific left foot shot that Jameson pawed away, then former Quaker Paul Robinson forced a save out of Jameson. And Maguire again wriggled free, and Jameson saved at the foot of his post.
There was no denying Blyth a third, when Maguire turned his man 25 yards out and curled a left footer past Jameson.
Darlington: Jameson, Robinson, Galbraith, Hatch, Brown, Portas, Mitchell, Cocks, Armstrong, Noble (sub Fisher 56 mins), Thompson (sub Lovegreen 78 mins).
Subs not used: Scott, Reed, Hunter, White, Bell.
Blyth: Jeffries, Nicholson, I Watson, J Watson, Buddle, Hooks, Rivers (sub Wearmouth 87 mins), Hawkins, Maguire, Robinson (sub Hutchinson 84), Dale.
Subs not used; Cummings, Mullen, Wearmouth, Wade, Sayer, Grant.
Ref M Kightley