Heaton 10; Thompson 90
- 90th-minute goal kills off Harriers
- Quakers scored early before reds levelled
- Ironside's 18th of the term came on 77
- Thompson's late strike settles it
A 90TH-minute Darlington goal robbed Harriers of a point in the north-east courtesy of a 2-1 defeat.
The hosts took the lead after ten minutes through Heaton's close-range finish, but Harriers created plenty and, in the second half, were deservedly level through Joe Ironside's 18th of the term.
There would be no share of the spoils, though, as the Quakers snatched all three points at the death as Thompson drove the ball on the angle and into the far corner.
A busy start to the game set the tone for what was a fairly frantic tie and it was Harriers who had the best early chance as Bradley cut the ball across goal from a tight angle for McQuilkin who stabbed wide.
Up at the other and within a couple of minutes, Darlington were ahead as Heaton was alive to a dropping ball into the area and goalkeeper Flatt off his line after he’d come to punch clear – while the initial effort was blocked, his follow-up found the net.
The response to the goal was good – Harriers kept home goalkeeper Aynsley Pears in working order, Weeks seeing his well-taken free-kick fumbled before the stopper recovered to keep out a follow-up from Waring.
Lee Vaughan picked up Bradley’s pass with eleven left in the first half but his curled attempt was turned away well by Pears.
After the break, the hosts threatened through Syers and Pearson’s goal-line clearance certainly prevented a second as Wheatley’s shot came in, Ngwatala taking aim with a wayward shot at the other end.
A key seven minutes at either end saw Harriers pull level after the hosts had struck the upright through Reece Styche. His curling effort clipped the outside of the post before Ironside’s header did so soon after, the reds’ top scorer there to tidy away the follow-up.
Chances kept coming for both sides and Styche might have netted when Syers squared the ball to him, only for the forward to lose his footing at the vital moment – Andre Brown blazing wide at the opposite end as Harriers pushed forward.
The two teams traded late blows but it was the hosts who nailed the sucker punch, winning the ball high up field and playing in Thompson who took a touch before confidently dispatching an angled finish beyond Flatt.
AHEAD of the weekend trip to Darlington, striker Joe Ironside insists he team must quickly set about starting another unbeaten run in final stages of the National League North season.
A lengthy unbeaten stretch in the division came to an end for the reds last time out thanks to a 2-0 set-back against Harrogate Town.
But there will no dwelling on that set-back – that’s been the directive from not only the manager’s office, but the dressing room as well.
Top scorer Ironside echoed those sentiments and knows that the hurt felt at the weekend must be channelled in the right direction as the reds prepare to meet Tommy Wright’s Quakers.
“It was disappointing, but we have got to pick ourselves up as a team and go to Darlington and get maximum points,” said the former Nuneaton man.
“We were hurting, but in football there’s always a game next week, so you have got to put things right and get back on the right track.
“We need to go into the game on Saturday, show what we can do and put things right.
“Darlington will be a good side, but we have got to go there and match them.”
The hosts tomorrow are in a similar position to Harriers in that they are keen to react to a defeat that ended some good form – a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Brackley Town.
“We were hurting, but in football there’s always a game next week..." Joe Ironside
Recent signs point to this being a good contest, too – the two teams shared the spoils in a dramatic 3-3 draw when they last met at Aggborough Stadium
For Ironside, though, the focus is sharply on getting back in the saddle, knowing that a positive result this weekend could kickstart another run for the team at the ideal time.
“It’s the final stretch of the season now and we need to get back on the run we were on.
“It was disappointing [to lose last weekend] but we are more than confident that we can go there and put a little run together ourselves again.
“We just take it game by game, so our main focus is Darlington. Our fans have been brilliant, home and away, so it would be nice to send them home with three points.”
Kick-off at Darlington on Saturday is at 3:00pm
WATCH: Joe Ironside’s full pre-match video interview, courtesy of our YouTube channel, by clicking the tab above.
READ: A latest on team news and injuries with boss John Eustace
READ: Five things to know ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Darlington
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