DARLINGTON’S season ended on a low note when they were beaten by a second-half goal at Kidderminster.

The game highlighted some of the areas that manager Alun Armstrong admits he needs to strengthen during the summer, as Quakers only threatened from set-pieces and conceded a sloppy goal. The arrival of Jacob Hazel will help in one area, but the defence needs to be further strengthened.

Overall, the game was pretty low key, with the play-offs out of Quakers’ reach and Kidderminster assured of fourth place and a midweek home game in the play-offs.

“It was a terrible performance,” said Armstrong. “Some of the players were in holiday mode from the first five minutes. The players should have a little bit of pride in themselves, and I don’t think we had that. Some of them did themselves justice, and others I’ve now made my mind up about whether they stay here or not.

“We’ve got a good core of players and we’ve started strengthening it with the signing of Jacob Hazel. We’re working on a few others, and we’re speaking to them this week. Hopefully, we’ll get them in, and we’ll be ready to go for a really tough season.

“The seven teams that are in the play-offs are the ones that you would expect to be in there and we’ve got to try and gatecrash one of them. They’ve got to have an off season, and we’ve got to have a really good season.”

After David Wheater had been booked for pulling back Ashley Hemmings early on, the home side nearly scored on eight minutes when Keziah Martin headed wide from a Hemmings corner.

Kidderminster, with former Led Zeppelin member Robert Plant amongst the 2,436 crowd, took the lead after 52 minutes when Ethan Freemantle got away from Wheater on the left and put the ball into the middle, where Hemmings mis-kicked with the goal at his mercy, but Martin, following up, struck the ball into the net with the help of the woodwork and a rebound off Tommy Taylor.

It was nearly 2-0 when sub Omari Sterling set up Mark Carrington, but Taylor held his 20-yarder.

Quakers improved in the last 20 minutes, with their main threat coming from set-pieces by Nathan Lowe, who was playing his last game on loan from South Shields.

His well struck 40-yard free kick almost caught out Kidderminster keeper Luke Simpson, the ball going just over the bar, and with ten minutes left, another 30 yarder clipped the top of the crossbar.