HARRIERS endured a thoroughly miserable trip to the north east as they were soundly beaten 3-0 at Darlington.

Harriers were able to name an unchanged side from the 2-1 win over Hereford on New Year’s Day.

Though Ryan Johnson had been sent off against the Bulls, the timing of his suspension allowed him to feature at Blackwell Meadows before sitting three games out.

There was a new face among the substitutes for Neil MacFarlane’s men. New signing Josh Heaton slotted into the squad barely 24 hours after arriving on loan from St Mirren.

Harriers looked organised and purposeful from the off but, despite dominating the ball, offered nothing of an attacking threat. Darlington, meanwhile, edged close with some early corners and stole ahead on eleven minutes when Thompson picked up the ball. Spotting Hall in no man’s land and seemingly having switched off, the forward deftly chipped the ball up and over the custodian to open the scoring.

Thompson was visibly boosted by the goal and almost added a special second on 20 minutes. Allowed to charge forward with the ball without any real challenge, he struck from distance with a low effort that fizzed towards goal and clipped off the inside of the post and away.

Three minutes later Weeks free kick was deflected to become an easy gather for the goalkeeper, Hall called far more into action at the other end when a header at close range needed a fingertip touch over the bar.

Heaton was called on for an early debut after O’Connor was withdrawn through injury near the half’s close, the blow compounded seven after the break as Darlo effectively put the game to bed. To make it 2-0, Smith nodded in the simplest of finishes with a header from a corner, before Nicholson dribbled his way unchallenged to goal before firing on the angle past Hall.

Five after the hour Harriers finally got behind the Darlington back-line but, threaded through into the area, Richards found his shot quickly smothered by Maddison between the sticks.

Having shrugged off his man and kept the ball, Thompson almost added a fourth on 76 only for Hall to scoop up the ball, Wollerton lifting a late free-kick some way over the bar.

Harriers: Hall, Vaughan, Austin (Baxendale 69), Horsfall, Johnson, O’Connor (Heaton 45), Weeks, Penn (Butterfield 72), Waring, Richards, Chambers.

Subs not used: White, Phillips Attendance: 1,123 Referee: Matt Corlett