Darlington 0 Rochdale 1

Rochdale's player manager Paul Simpson played an integral part in making the winning goal as the visitors won 1-0 at Darlington.

In the 21st minute he cut through the Quakers defence before passing to Clive Platt, who neatly tucked his shot into the left-hand corner of the net beyond Andy Collett.

Rochdale almost doubled their lead when Collett fumbled a shot that slipped through his hands and it looked as though the ball was going into the net until Simon Betts knocked the ball away for a corner.

The home side battled from start to finish. They had the first chance of the game after eight minutes through Ashley Nicholls but his weak strike proved to be no problem for Rochdale keeper Matthew Gilks.

Darlington moved up a gear after the break and Barry Conlon held up his hands in despair as his effort went just wide of the mark.

In the 66th minute there was confusion on the pitch and in the terraces as it looked as though Rochdale had extended their lead when Kevin Townson picked his way through the Darlington defence and passed to Michael Oliver, who placed a sharp header that looked to go over the line.

However, Collett managed to keep the ball in play and the referee waved play on much to the shock of the travelling support.

In the dying moments of the game Darlington captain Craig Liddle was denied the equaliser as his last-ditch effort was fired straight at the keeper leaving the visiting side to claim all three points.