Alnwick Town fell to their fourth league defeat on the bounce as they lost 2-0 to high-flying Darlington RA on Saturday.
Goals from Nicholas Harrison and Freddie Huscroft heaped more misery on lowly Town, who remain second-bottom in the Ebac Northern League Division Two.
The St James’ Park side made two changes for the weekend’s league clash, bringing in Jake Lowes and Kevin Elliott.
The early exchanges were fairly even and Town had the first chance when Tony Brown hit a long, cross-field pass for Wyn Fremlin to latch onto but visiting keeper Alex Kell closed down the striker to save.
At the other end, Town stopper Brian Brooks tipped over from a Michael Barnett effort.
Darlington, who are third in the league, opened the scoring after 20 minutes, when Harrison latched onto a poor clearance just outside the box to hammer a rising shot through a packed penalty area, giving Brooks no chance.
Town came close to an equaliser five minutes later but Kell scrambled the ball away from danger.
Early in the second half, Jon Colley saw his free-kick scrambled round the post by Kell.
Shortly after, Town went close again, when a Fremlin pass found Brown in space, but the midfielder’s effort went just wide.
Darlington’s Stephen Allison went close but Brooks was quick to clear the danger.
With 10 minutes remaining, Alnwick nearly levelled, thanks to a neat bit of play from Fremlin. Unluckily for him and Town, his curling, rising shot just scraped the post.
Against the run of play, Darlington scored their second to effectively end the contest.
On 85 minutes, substitute Huscroft’s shot from the left went in off the post.
Despite conceding the second, Town pushed until the end and nearly grabbed a goal which their play deserved, when Darlington defender Dale Elgie was forced to clear off the line in the game’s final minutes.
Darlington saw the game out, to inflict a seventh league defeat of the season on Town.
Despite the loss, Town did put in a good performance, but were once again left to rue missed chances.
The spirit of the team remains high and the players are pulling together to try to transform their league fortunes.
Town are at Crook Town on Saturday. The Division Two clash kicks-off at 3pm.
Alnwick Town (v Darlington RA): Brooks, Makin, Hogg, Brown, Murray, McPherson, Moffat (Elliott), Thompson (Jackson), Fremlin, Colley, Hodge (Lowes). Sub Nixon.