Mike Aspinall cursed a missed opportunity for a prize scalp after Harrogate narrowly subsided at moneybags Darlington Mowden Park 38-20 on Saturday.
Kyle Dench and Steve Parsons both scored converted tries to put ‘Gate 17-12 up before half-time, but the promotion seeking Northerners stormed back to take victory.
Joe Rowntree also kicked two penalties and two conversions at the 24,000 all-seater Darlington Arena.
Director of rugby Aspinall said: “It was a big scalp I really wanted to take. I wanted us to proved we could beat a team like that.
“I view them as the opposite to Harrogate with the facilities they have. They have ten players full-time, the money and facilities are just unbelievable.
“We knew they would throw it around at every opportunity but that gave us a chance too. We got a lot of opportunities from aggressive defending.
“But we weren’t accurate enough in their 22 in the second half and they were.
“If we had been accurate we would have definitely got something from the game.”
Luke Gardener will be missing when 11th-placed Harrogate welcome lowly Hull to Claro Road this Saturday (kick-off 2pm).
Prop Jimmy Browne has been struggling with injury but Aspinall said he should be fit to tackle Hull’s forward line.
“It will be a big test. Their pack is an animal we will have to tame.”added Aspinall.
“These are the sort of teams we have to be beating.”