DARLINGTON manager Tommy Wright has told his players to stop giving goals away after losing at Chester on Saturday.

The home side earmarked Saturday’s clash between the old Football League rivals as “Retro Day” and there were some familiar failings as Quakers were undone by a hat-trick from debutant striker Akwasi Asante.

“We seem to gift-wrap teams goals,” said a frustrated manager following a post-match inquest in the dressing room.

“We literally let them walk the ball into the net with no blocks, no challenges, not getting tight enough - all the basics, at the moment, we’re failing on.

"It really resembles last year when we got sucked into a relegation battle. I don’t think we’re in a relegation battle, I said last year we weren’t and we finished 12th. I don’t think we’ll be in one again, but we need to turn the corner."

Wright, though, is hoping to give his squad a much-needed boost by signing at least two loan players before Saturday’s home game against his old club Nuneaton.

He said: “We’ll have two training sessions this week. I’ll be doing things right from Monday through to Friday, and the excuses for not being able to attend training have got to stop because people are trying every excuse in the book not to attend training.

Ultimately, that’s my responsibility. They will be there, no exceptions, and we’ll be ready to work for Nuneaton this Saturday because it’s a massive game now.

“People know that I hurt, and results and performances like this ruin my weekend. If the players can look at themselves in the mirror and say that they put a shift in and were good, then fair play to them, but I don’t think many can say it.”

It took Quakers until they were 2-0 down before they started giving Chester something to worry about.

Craig Mahon picked his way through the Quakers defence on 26 minutes and forced a good one-handed save out of Jonny Maddison, before he set up the opener a minute later, crossing from the left for Asante to pinch a yard on his marker, and head into the net.

Chester were down to ten just after the half hour when Dan Mooney, who had already been booked, was shown a second yellow for a late tackle on midfielder Joe Wheatley - the second successive game in which Quakers have faced ten.

But again they did not make their numerical advantage count, despite switching to wing-backs with Hughes going back to make three centre halves. Chester seemed to roll their sleeves up further than Quakers.

Chester looked the more motivated and went 2-0 up four minutes into the second half. Asante chested the ball down on the corner of the box, swivelled and took two defenders out of the game, strolled forward and placed a left foot-shot into the bottom corner.

Quakers gave themselves hope when Wheatley hit a belter of a right foot shot from 25-yards into, his first goal of the season.

Their confidence was boosted and they enjoyed some good possession, but comeback hopes were dashed on 69 minutes when Chester counter-attacked and Dudley set up Asante for his hat-trick.

He beat Maddison with a right-foot finish to complete the 'perfect' hat-trick having previously scored with his head and left foot.

Wright added: “At half time we talked about not gifting away anything early in the second half because we were going to be threatened by the counter attack as we were going to push men forward, but we got stung by a second goal. It was our own fault for not putting the ball into a channel. We tried to be clever, but the only clever thing about it was that we gave a lad the ball who hasn’t done anything in football for two years, a dream debut for scoring a hat trick.

“Chester scored at the right times. Every time when we seemed to get any kind of momentum, they seemed to either kill it by taking their time at throw ins or we gave needless free kicks away. They caught us with sucker punches and scored and knocked the wind out of our sails again. We were beaten, again, by the better team.”

Goals: Asante (27, 0-1), (49, 0-2) (69, 1-3); Wheatley (56, 1-2)

Bookings: Stopforth, Mahon, Mooney (Chester); Thompson, Elliott (Darlington)

Sending off: Mooney (31, two bookable offences)

Referee: Barry Lamb

Attendance 1934

Chester City: (4-4-2) Shenton, Thomson, Grand, Livesey, Howson; Mooney, Noble, Stopforth, Mahon (Marsh-Hughes 89); Asante (Smalley 80), Dudley (Dawson 90). Subs: Brown, Murray

Darlington: (4-2-3-1) Maddison, Trotman, Galbraith (O’Hanlon 57), Burn, Elliott; Hughes, Wheatley; Henshall (Lingthep 90), Nicholson, Thompson; Saunders. Subs (not used): Hall, Glover, Stansfield