Darlington failed to rediscover their Spennymoor Town form and rued the loss of two points when they failed to defeat Burscough at Victoria Park.
Quakers didn’t reach the same heights as they did at Spennymoor in midweek, and they failed to kill off a battling home side, who lost the corresponding fixture 7-0 last season when Stephen Thompson, who started this game on the bench, scored a hat trick.
The chances were there to be taken, but instead it was down to skipper Gary Brown to find the back of the net twice, the first time he has done so in senior football.
“We just weren’t clinical enough,” said Gray. “We didn’t play as well as we did on Tuesday night at Spennymoor, but the chances were still there to be taken. It could have been six or seven, and it was certainly a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show.
“I thought Gary Brown took his goals well, but the forwards had enough chances to win the game. We hit the woodwork four times.
“It’s a point gained, but really it’s two points lost. The players worked hard enough and I’ve got no complaints there, but the chances went begging.
“We can’t repeat a Spennymoor performance in every game, and sooner or later we’re going to drop points. It’s how we respond that matters, and hopefully that will be against Kendal.”
Quakers, who were missing striker Amar Purewal because of a hamstring injury, started the game well enough, but couldn’t grab the important early goal as they did at the Brewery Field. Leon Scott and Terry Galbraith were off target, while Burscough keeper Tim Horn pulled off a good reaction save from Alan White’s near post header off a Brown throw.
Nothing much had been seen of Burscough when they stunned Quakers by taking the lead on 39 minutes. Danny Dunleavy picked the ball up from a left wing move and hit an effort that rebounded back to him off a Darlington defender, but he made no mistake with his second effort that beat Darlington keeper Peter Jameson low down.
But Quakers were level only two minutes later when Adam Mitchell floated a free kick over from the left for Gary Brown to head across the keeper into the net.
Quakers seemed set for victory when Brown got his second ten minutes after half time.
Graeme Armstrong did superbly well to keep the ball in play on the Darlington left. He skipped past two defenders to get into the box and he pulled the ball back for Brown to slot past the stranded keeper.
Nathan Fisher should have made the game safe when Stephen Thompson, who came on as sub for David Dowson, sent him running clear, but Fisher pulled his left foot shot wide, just as he did a similar chance at Spennymoor in midweek.
Burscough recovered and equalised on 75 minutes when they worked a free kick, awarded for a foul by Alan White, really well when the ball was chipped forward for Liam Caddick to volley home.
Quakers forced Burscough back after that. Thompson forced a good save low down by the keeper from a free kick, and agonisingly in stoppage time White struck the post with a diving header from a Thompson cross.
Captain Brown, who has scored three times this season counting the goal he scored against Sunderland in a pre season friendly said; “It was the first time I’d scored two in a game since playing Brandon Cricket Club on a Sunday. I nearly had a hat trick, but I had one cleared off the line.
“I must admit though, I’d rather have the points than the goals. We were a little lack lustre and didn’t play at the same tempo as we did at Spennymoor.
“Burscough only had one shot at goal in the first half, and they worked their free kick really well, but we should have dealt with it better. We’ll be aiming to put things right against Kendal.”
Burscough: Horn, Duff, Quirk, Schofield, Ryan Toner, Dunleavy, Pegler, Turner, Beesley, Caddick. Subs (not used): Smith, Dykes, L Robinson, Williams, Pye
Darlington: Jameson, Brown, Galbraith, White, Hunter, Portas, Mitchell, Scott (Robinson 57), Dowson (Thompson 60), Armstrong (Hatch 70), Fisher. Subs (not used): Walker, Bell (gk)
Referee: Steve Rudd