Darlington manager proud of his team

·3-min read
Darlington manager Alun Armstrong and Mark Beck <i>(Image: Steve Halliday)</i>
Darlington manager Alun Armstrong and Mark Beck (Image: Steve Halliday)

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong paid tribute to the strength of his players’ character and togetherness after two goals from Mark Beck gave Quakers their second away win in a week and their first victory at Aggborough for 11 years.

The well-deserved victory put Quakers into second place in the table, and they could go top if they win both home games this week against Alfreton and AFC Fylde, although that will be a far from easy proposition.

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For the second away game running, Quakers produced plenty of good chances, and Beck took advantage to lift his tally to 14 for the season in a very good team performance.

“It was a huge win considering the opposition and what these lads have done in the past week,” said Armstrong.

“We travelled to Telford on Tuesday and got back at 3am, and because of road closures, some lads didn’t get home until 4.30am.

“Then we turned up at Kidderminster having travelled on the day and were outstanding.

“I thought we were the better team as the game went on. I thought we were quite dominant until we scored our second goal, we seemed to take a backward step.

“But the players worked their socks off, they were on their knees in the changing room afterwards.

“They have been phenomenal in the last two games. I can’t ask for anything more, I’m so proud of them. They put their bodies on the line when they were defending, and I would have been gutted if we didn’t come away with the win. It was about time we had that little bit of luck.

“I thought Mark Beck was superb in both boxes, he took both his goals well and made some great clearances when he was defending.”

Kidderminster could have scored before Quakers got into their stride, when Ashley Hemmings turned quickly on the edge of the box and hit a shot that keeper Tommy Taylor saved.

Quakers nearly took the lead on 13 minutes when Beck laid the ball off for Jack Lambert, who hit a blistering shot that beat Kidderminster keeper Tom Palmer, but came back off the crossbar.

But then the visitors, urged on by Adriano Moke in midfield, hit a purple patch and took the lead on 41 minutes. Hazel picked up a loose ball about 30 yards out, and played the ball forward perfectly into the path of Beck, who took a touch and beat Palmer with a low shot.

At the other end, Taylor had to be alert to deal with a powerful shot by Morgan-Smith, before Quakers took a firm grip on 68 minutes. A steady build up down the right involving five players ended with Lambert threading the ball through on the right for Kaine Felix to beat his full back in a sprint and pull the ball back into the middle for Beck to turn home.

Kidderminster gained some encouragement when sub Jack Bearne converted a deep cross from the right from Hemmings, and they threw everybody forward for the remainder of the game.

Armstrong used all three of his subs to slow the game down, and all 11 were behind the ball for the closing minutes as Kidderminster frantically bombarded the defence.

But Quakers’ character and will-to-win carried them over the line, and into second place in the table.