Darlington 0 Northwich Victoria 1
DARLINGTON suffered their second successive home defeat at Heritage Park when Northwich Victoria were the victors in an entertaining game.
The Vics forced kick off to be delayed by an hour after being caught in traffic on the M6, but showed no signs of rustiness, while Darlington, by contrast, endured a torrid first half of football.
Northwich took the lead on 30 minutes when Brian Summerskill walked through Quakers' defence after Gary Burnett's shot was parried out by Peter Jameson. The Vics midfielder rounded the keeper and slotted home.
Quakers, meanwhile, were made to wait until five minutes before half-time before registering a chance. Amar Purewal cut in from the left and shot wide, before Chris Moore and Bruno Pilatos combined for the former to fire a deflected shot wide. Purewal volleyed over from Moore's resultant corner.
After 40 seconds of the second half, Darlington spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to restore parity when Chris Hunter volleyed over from seven yards.
Nathan Fisher and Purewal went close in quick succession as Quakers strived to get an equaliser.
Northwich defender Paul O'Neil received lengthy treatment for a head injury and was replaced on the hour mark, before Stephen Thompson fired a powerful shot into the hands of former Gateshead stopper Tim Deasy.
The Vics were kept quiet in the second half but full-back Chris Smalley saw a snap-shot saved by Jameson on 71 minutes, while Burnett forced another stop out of the Quakers keeper minutes later.
Curtis Edwards fired over the bar on 84 minutes, while Deasy tipped over a Purewal header moments later as Quakers turned the screw.
The hosts continued to pile forward but could not get the necessary goal to prevent back to back losses.
Darlington: Jameson, Pilatos, Scott, Davis, Hunter, Robinson, Moore (Johnson 74), Edwards, Purewal, Fisher (Dowson 57), Thompson. Subs: Bell, Johnson, Thomas, Galbraith.
Northwich Victoria: Deasy, Smalley, Bailey, Henry, O'Neil (Thomas 64), Wisdom, Summerskill, Boyle, Burnett, Taylor (Clarke 70), Garvin (Nangle 71). Subs: Armstrong, Wright.