DARLINGTON'S defence let them down again as they lost 2-1 at Curzon Ashton to crash to their second defeat in the space of three days.

Quakers were sharper and more creative than Saturday going forward, but they gave away two cheap goals after Jake Cassidy had fired them into the lead.

Curzon’s main striker, Dominic Knowles, caused them problems from then on with his strength and height.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong said: "It was a much-improved performance with the ball, but without the ball, defensively, it cost us.

“We were in control of the game, but then the defence dropped deeper and deeper. The two goals were laughable, we gave them away again. They were basic errors – I’m sick of saying the same things over and over again. Something’s going to have to change, we’ll have to change the personnel. I’m trying to bring at least one centre-half in.

“I thought we started brightly and caused them problems with our 4-3-3. We opened them up, players got into the game and Jake scored, but you can’t legislate for defending like that.”

Will Hatfield went close for Quakers with a 30-yarder, and was involved in the opening goal on 18 minutes. Jarrett Rivers found Kallum Griffiths on the overlap, and the full-back’s low cross was almost turned in by Hatfield. A hurried clearance by a defender ran straight to Cassidy, who returned the ball into the corner of the net.

It was nearly 2-0 a few minutes later when Griffiths crossed from the right for Cassidy, under pressure, to head into the hands of keeper Chris Renshaw.

But Curzon levelled on 29 minutes when powerful striker Dominic Knowles turned on a pass from a throw in, held off two weak challenges, and fired past Tommy Taylor.

Curzon went in front on 39 minutes. A long throw from the right caused problems in the Darlington area, the defence couldn’t get any power behind their attempted clearances, and Knowles lifted the ball over the advancing keeper and slid the ball into the net.

Curzon were reduced to ten men when midfielder Dale Whitham was shown a second yellow for a foul on Kevin Dos Santos, but that was a signal for them to defend in depth for the rest of the game.

Hatfield thought he’d equalised with a right-foot shot with seven minutes left, but Renshaw managed to touch the ball onto the crossbar.