DARLINGTON’S players picked themselves up from their eighth defeat in nine games to raise thousands of pounds for the club’s survival fund with a race night and auction they arranged for Saturday night.
The players are determined to play their part in saving the club but face overwhelming odds on the pitch.
Manager Craig Liddle was unable to field five substitutes because his squad is so short on numbers.
Alongside four teenagers in the starting line-up were former Quaker Neil Wainwright and striker Drewe Broughton.
Both were emergency signings brought in to make up the numbers and neither is match fit, Wainwright having been out of action for months with a knee ligament injury.
The Quakers could not expect any sympathy from a big, direct Stockport side – and they did not get any.
Darlington teenage central defender Scott Harrison was paired with Kris Taylor, who is working hard in an unfamiliar role, and neither could cope with tall Stockport striker Tom Elliott.
Stockport manager Jim Gannon said: “We knew we could hurt Darlington from set pieces.”
So they did, with a 58th-minute free-kick which led to a penalty, converted by Danny Rowe, after the Quakers’ Rob Ramshaw was sent off for committing the foul.
There is a transfer embargo on Liddle’s side, though he is allowed to bring players in to make up for a lack of numbers caused by injury.
Broughton worked hard and headed over from Aaron Brown’s cross as Darlington sought an equaliser.
Liddle said: “We have to take it on the chin and move on.
“In training we were bright and looked in good shape, but we did not transfer it to the pitch.”
DARLINGTON: Pickford, Arnison, Taylor, Harrison, Brown, McReady, Bridge-Wilkinson, Ramshaw, Wainwright (Keltie 67), Broughton, Bowman. Subs (not used): Nixon, Ferguson, Lambert.
Sent off: Ramshaw (59). Booked: Ramshaw, Keltie, Bowman, Brown.
STOCKPORT: Ormson, Halls, Piergianni, Rose, Danny Rowe (Connor 83), McConville (Whitehead 76), Turnbull, Nolan, Mainwaring, Danny Rowe (Holden 46), Elliott. Subs (not used): Hirmer, Cole. Booked: Halls. Goals: Danny Rowe 60 pen.
Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland) Attendance: 2,202