TADHG PURCELL'S seventh goal in 11 appearances brought to an end Darlington's run of five defeats with a satisfying 1-1 draw at promotion- chasing Bury.
The Irishman's penalty gave Quakers a first-half lead in a performance much improved on Saturday's disappointing home defeat to Torquay.
Darlington used a 4-3-3 formation and there was more energy about them throughout.
They could have even nicked it late on but Mor Diop saw an attempted lob superbly saved.
Manager Steve Staunton was pleased with his side's effort, saying: You could go through the entire team but I won't single out anybody.
The higher tempo probably suited us. We started like that on Saturday and shifted the ball around well but the early goal was a sickener.
But the boys have picked themselves up and I can't fault them for their work rate. We played some good stuff and defended a lot better as a team than Saturday.
The front three worked their socks off; actually they all did and a draw was the least we deserved.
From the off Darlington played at a higher tempo than usual and made a bright start, keeping the hosts pinned into their own half.
But they failed to test keeper Wayne Brown and it was not long before Bury came close to goal.
A series of Brian Barry- Murphy corners ended with striker Andy Bishop having a header cleared off the line by Gary Dempsey.
Then at the end of a swift counter attack, Ryan Lowe screwed wide as Bury outnumbered Darlington four to three due to Stuart Giddings pulling up with an injury.
He had to be replaced, with substitute Josh Gray having to play as a makeshift leftback.
Lowe and Bishop have both scored against Quakers in recent seasons and just after the half hour mark they combined again.
This time Lowe crossed to the back post where Bishop's powerful downward header was impressively turned around the post by keeper Shane Redmond and within 60 seconds Darlington were ahead.
Gary Smith, recalled after missing eight games, was felled in the Bury penalty area by Ben Futcher and Purcell blasted high into the net.
It was Quakers' first spotkick since Smith missed at Port Vale in August and it was an infinitely better attempt than the pathetic penalty taken by Dean Windass, saved by Brown, which cost Darlington a draw against Bury at the start of the season.
But before the break a second penalty levelled the scores.
Referee Andy Hall took advice from an assistant and awarded a spot-kick against Gray for fouling Stephen Dawson.
Gray looked perplexed, but the blue-booted Lowe rammed home Bury's first goal in four games, and he would have had another were it not for a wasteful finish at the start of the second half.
With all of the goal to aim at he side-footed over from 16 yards.
That chance came after a tepid start to the second 45 minutes which steadily opened up.
Mike Jones and Tom Newey were both off target with 25-yard free-kicks then Jones missed a sitter.
He hooked over from closerange with the goal gaping after Redmond's weak punch fell to the winger before a superb Brown save denied Diop with 15 minutes to go.
The keeper arched backwards to push the ball over for a corner when Diop tried a lob after collecting a precise Dempsey cross-field ball, and in the final seconds the striker scuffed a close-range chance.
A win would have been a huge fillip to spirits, but at least the performance was much improved.
Matchfacts Goals: Purcell (32, 0-1); Lowe (42, 1-1) Bookings: G Smith (25, foul), Purcell (43, foul), Diop (83, foul) Referee: Andy Hall (Birmingham) 6 Attendance: 2,123 Entertainment: ***
BURY (4-4-2): Brown 7; Buchanan 6, Creswell 6, Futcher 5, Newey 6; Worrall 5 (Hewson 79), Dawson 7, Barry- Murphy 7, Jones 6; LOWE 7, Bishop 6 (Elliott 62, 5). Subs (not used): Belford (gk), Baker, Racchi, Sodje, Morrell
DARLINGTON (4-3-3): Redmond 6; Madden 6, Miller 7, White 7, Giddings 5 (Gray 23, 7); G SMITH 7 Waite 6, Dempsey 7; Purcell 7; Diop 7, Main 6. Subs (not used): Liversedge (gk), Chisholm, McReady, Mulligan, Deane, Main
MAN OF THE MATCH GARY Smith was determined to show he deserves a regular place.