DARLINGTON failed to gain the boost they needed in their relegation fight - and manager Craig Liddle admitted he is growing frustrated in his attempts to bring players in and strengthen a young, wafer-thin squad.
Only Quakers’ superior goal difference above Alfreton and Kettering is enough to keep them out of the drop zone, but Liddle feels the Conference’s strict transfer embargo is preventing him from bolstering his squad. He has had several requests to sign players turned down in the last seven days.
And with Aaron Brown ruled out of tomorrow’s game against Mansfield, Liddle might have to give raw 17-year-old left-back David Ferguson an outing in his place.
He said: “I’m wasting my time ringing the Conference, because I’ll only get myself into trouble.
“I’ve had players lined up, but the Conference won’t allow me to sign them. I can’t do any more than I’m physically doing.
“I’m on the phone constantly, I’m asking questions, I’m on the internet trawling through players.
“It’s very frustrating when you think you’ve got somebody and then told no. I phoned the Conference on Friday afternoon to plead my case, but they refused to speak to me. If I’m the manager of the side, then I think I’ve got the right to plead my case, and explain why we need to bring players in.
“My career has been in youth development, and we’re not protecting our young players enough. We’re going against the FA’s rules and guidelines.”
Liddle, however, also wasn’t pleased with the second-half performance at the Impact Stadium, which saw Paul Clayton and Nathan Arnold score second-half goals to seal a 3-1 win for Alfreton.
Quakers had gone ahead through Ryan Bowman, only for Arnold to level before half-time.
“Some things have been said in the dressing room which will stay in there, ” added Liddle. “But I’m bitterly, bitterly disappointed with the performance. I’ve got every sympathy with them as lads and have backed them 100%, but we can’t keep living on this sympathy vote, we’ve got to do something very quickly.
“It was a game that we couldn’t afford to lose.”
ALFRETON TOWN: Lowson, Streete, Quinn, Kempson, Young, Jarman, Jake Moult (Law 86), Brown, Arnold, Clayton (Hall 86), Anthony Wilson (Clay 64). Subs (not used): Franklin, Mullan.
Sent off: Brown (59). Booked: Brown. Goals: Arnold 33, Clayton 58, Arnold 69.
DARLINGTON: Pickford, Arnison, Taylor, Harrison, Brown (Ferguson 77), McReady, Keltie (Lambert 63), Ramshaw (Hopson 73), Rundle, Bridge-Wilkinson, Bowman. Subs (not used): Nixon, Bagnall. Booked: Arnison, Rundle. Goal: Bowman 27.
Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland) Attendance: 950