A brace from Simon Ainge and a Lloyd Kerry strike helped Harrogate Town to a fine away win at play-off rivals Darlington.
Yet, although pleased with the 3-2 success, manager Simon Weaver wasn’t completely satisfied with his side’s display.
“To cling on in a game where we were in real control, shouldn’t be where we’re at with the experience we have out on the pitch. We have to be better,” he said.
“I thought for 70, maybe 80 minutes, we were really good, looked organised and certainly going forwards we were a threat in front of goal.
“We got three good goals, so I was really pleased with the attacking display, but defensively we were poor at times second half.”
Darlington were reduced to 10 men after just 18 minutes when Leon Scott saw red for a lunge on Kerry, though Town were made to wait until five minutes after the re-start for the breakthrough as Ainge converted Joe Colbeck’s low cross from the right at the back post.
The lead lasted just two minutes as Stephen Thompson pulled the ten men level, before Kerry restored Town’s lead with a neat finish after being tted up by Louie Swain, just under 15 minutes from time.
Ainge smashed home his second of the afternoon from close range following Joe Leesley’s left-wing cross and looked to have sealed all three points, only for Liam Hardy’s 87th minute to set up a grandstand finish.
Town’s defence remained compact in the closing stages and saw the game out to make it five away trips unbeaten in the National League North, Weaver’s side exacting revenge for a 4-1 defeat to the Quakers at the CNG Stadium back in October.
“It was a poor performance [against Darlington] on our home ground, so we were determined to get the three points,” Weaver added.
“There’s a desire to keep claiming three points and keep putting pressure on the teams above us, and we’ve done that with Darlington.”
The result leaves Town 10th in the league standings and still eight points away from a play-off spot.