NOW just five points off the top and with a run of games to come against some of the division’s less-fancied teams, Darlington will begin the second half of the league programme in fine fettle, writes Craig Stoddart.

David Dowson’s second-half goal was enough to end Bamber Bridge’s 15- match unbeaten streak, firmly putting Darlington’s sticky patch behind them.

They have put together a run of five successive league wins, which encourages optimism ahead of their next nine fixtures, none of which are against clubs in the top seven.

“It wasn’t particularly a good game to watch, the conditions spoilt it for the spectators,” said manager Martin Gray.

The only goal of the game came when hard-working David Dowson kept his composure to slot home on the hour mark when played in by Jonny Davis.

Having also scored two well-taken goals at Warrington the previous week, he is clearly in form.

Gray added: “Trying to get a foot on the ball to get a pass in behind their centre-backs wasn’t easy because of the conditions, but Jonny Davis picked out a pass for Dowson. He had a lot to do. He was outside the penalty area when he took the shot and it was a really good first-time finish.”