DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong had no grumbles about the result after his side’s wait for a first National League North point of the season continued as they were deservedly beaten by Kidderminster at Blackwell Meadows.

Quakers’ performance was a stark contrast to their energetic, high-tempo display at AFC Fylde in midweek, and their inability to break Kidderminster down in the second half infuriated the manager.

“It’s not the defeat, but the performance (that was a disappointment), “said Armstrong. “It was very much after the Lord Mayor’s Show from Tuesday’s game. They played ever so well at Fylde, then they gave us that performance.

“You can accept defeats when they’ve worked hard, given everything and done things that you normally do, but it was the manner of the defeat. They went against the grain and didn’t put their bodies on the line. You start to question the players and their mentality.

“For the first 25 minutes we were on top, getting at Kidderminster and causing chaos, but then they gave a crap goal away again, exactly the same as Tuesday night when a lad was allowed to turn on his favourite foot and bend one into the corner. You haven’t got a chance when you give goals away like that – the thing that bothers me is that a few heads went down after that goal.

“Suddenly, we turned into a long-ball team, which isn’t what we’re about. I was fuming at half-time and a few words were said.

“The big disappointing thing was, that we lost Will Hatfield, but we’ve got enough players who can deal with things like that. I just thought for about an hour, we were totally the opposite to Tuesday night.

“Mentally, some of the players didn’t give enough – and that’s what bugs me. I didn’t see anybody die for the cause or throw their bodies in the way. Balls weren’t going into their box, we brought Levi (Amantchi) on and played in front of him, and then we played a short corner when we had five giants in the middle of the park.

“They’re better than that – they were brilliant at training on Thursday, but it’s no good being brilliant in training and then not putting in the performances on the pitch.”

The afternoon couldn’t have started worse for Quakers, with midfield lynchpin Hatfield pulling up with a hamstring problem in the game’s first challenge. However, Kidderminster defender Alex Penny helped them overcome the problem when he clumsily put Justin Donawa’s low cross into his own net to hand Quakers the lead.

Kidderminster keeper Luke Simpson pulled off a good save low down from Luke Charman, and Alex Storey also headed a Tony McMahon free-kick into the keeper’s hands.

But the game changed on 29 minutes, when Omari Sterling turned quickly on the edge of the box and curled a left-footed shot past Darlington keeper Johnny Saltmer into the top corner of the net.

Just before half-time, Harriers took the lead, when Sam Austin led a break down the right and played the ball inside for Ashley Hemmings to side-foot in.

The visitors kept a firm control of things in the second half and made themselves difficult for Quakers to break down.

Armstrong gave both new signings, Amantchi and Theo Hudson, an outing from the bench, but to no avail. Indeed, Saltmer pulled off two good saves from Austin and Sterling but he had no chance five minutes from the end when Austin won the ball 25 yards out, ran forward, and curled a delightful right-foot shot into the top corner.