AFTER a mixed week in which his Darlington team displayed its good, bad and ugly characteristics, Tommy Wright’s post-match analysis sought to keep things in perspective.

“We weren’t a bad team last week and we weren’t a bad team on Wednesday, so three days later we aren’t a bad team,” he said, after seeing his team lose 5-2 at Kidderminster Harriers.

He did not want to dwell on the defeat, conscious his team had been playing well until Saturday. “We’ll move on quickly from it,” he said.

Clinical finishing was the difference when beating Brackley Town 4-2 a week ago, and their attacking instincts were abundantly evident in midweek against Blyth Spartans.

Those matches brought out the best in a Darlington side living up to Wright’s commitment to forward-thinking football, his desire to excite fans coming to the fore, particularly against Blyth when his team deserved to win comfortably despite drawing 1-1.

Yet, they also conceded cheap goals in both fixtures, the one against Blyth being particularly poor – a long pass through the middle catching out a flat-footed defence.

It was a similar scenario a fortnight ago at Spennymoor Town, a simple high ball into the penalty area being Darlington’s undoing, but overall they performed well in the three aforementioned games – two draws, one win - providing encouragement ahead of Saturday’s trek to Kidderminster.

Against a team fancied to be in the promotion chase, Darlington could have done without making life difficult for themselves.

Joe Wheatley did just that, however, the young midfielder shown a red card after an ugly lunge in the 17th minute on Declan Weeks.

It was mistimed, no malice involved and Quakers had no qualms, but it left them a man down against a team who were without a match in midweek, and Darlington exacerbated their plight with more questionable defending.

The first goal was a penalty by Joe Ironside after half an hour, conceded when Dom Collins pushed Fraser Horsfall, and 2-0 when Ironside was given space to head in after getting on the end of Joel Taylor’s cross.

Quakers were on the back-foot before Wheatley’s red, and after the second goal Wright replaced Collins with Ben O’Hanlon, Terry Galbraith moving to the centre.

“You could dissect every goal and somebody will be at fault,” said the manager. “When we had our backs to the wall we made it a little bit easier for the referee to give away a penalty.

“When someone gets a run on you and you put two hands on them you’re asking for trouble.

“We were already down to ten men at the moment, it was a case of backs to the wall job, grafting for each other.

“But the first two goals we’ve really handed them on a plate. We’ve made it hard for ourselves.

“To leave their big No. 9, who will score 20-25 goals for them, free at the far post for a tap-in is where the frustration comes in for me.”

Replacing Collins was Wright’s second change of the half having already sent on Liam Hughes for Alex Henshall when Wheatley saw red.

It was a bold move as it meant both strikers – Reece Styche and Simon Ainge – stayed on, with Darlington switching to 4-4-1, Styche going wide left.

Wright added: “I’ve been on the receiving end when a team-mate has been sent off early and I’ve been subbed. Alex will be gutted that his game has been cut short through no fault of his own.

“You end up losing two players from a system that has been working for three games on the spin, so you have to think on the spot, but ultimately that’s my job.”

Quakers rallied, showing spirit to remain in the contest and twice had the ball in the net during a second half in which the teams traded five goals, the first by Ainge.

He headed in after a Stephen Thompson corner, Ainge’s third for the club, and it meant hope for the 194 travelling supporters.

That hope died down when it became 3-1, Ed Williams striding unchallenged through midfield and stroking the ball home.

But Darlington hit back again, this time sub Jordan Nicholson’s calm finish on 68 minutes after a Styche pass making it 3-2.

But the sixth goal finished off Quakers on 73 minutes, Horsfall with a free header after a free-kick by man of the match Weeks, who had the final say in added time.

He completed Quakers’ misery after Jonny Maddison fumbled a cross, midfielder Weeks claiming the loose ball and chipping the ball over the keeper.

Wright added: “The lads working hard and showing a bit of spirit is the bare minimum, we’ve got that, we’ve got good lads in the group.

“Individuals have probably let us down a little bit and let themselves down more importantly.

“We’ve just ironed a few things out in there. For me it stops now, there’s not going to be a dressing down as such and a case of dissecting it too much detail.

“But at the same time we need to get back on the training pitch quickly and get smiles back on faces. I don’t want the lads to lose heart after everything they’ve done so far.”