Sedgley Park coach Steve Hazzelby admits the team had a rare off-day when they lost their latest National League One outing at Darlington Mowden Park 25-18.

However, he is confident he will see the right response when Sale FC visit Whitefield this Saturday.

Hazzelby said: “Darlington had a mixed start to the season but had recorded a good win the previous Saturday against top team Rams so we knew this would be a hard, physical contest against a well-organised outfit and so it proved to be.

“It was a well-deserved four-point win for them. We did get a losing bonus point but this was a very disappointing performance.

“We gave away too many penalties, too many poor kicks and poor kick chases meant we could not get into the game for large periods and could not stay in the fight.

“However, one relatively poor performance does not make us a bad team and we have plenty to work on during the week before we play Sale FC at home on Saturday.”

At Darlington, the hosts started well taking the game right to Tigers with powerful surges into their ‘22’, keeping possession well and building the phases which tested Sedgley’s defences continually.

They scored first with a well-worked converted try after seven minutes and the visitors had hardly touched the ball.

Sedgley did manage to get a penalty, that fly-half Warren Seals converted, but the home side went further ahead with a penalty to make it 10-3.

The Tigers started to play with momentum and continuity and a penalty deep in the hosts’ 22 saw hooker Adam Mallinson drive over and Seals add the conversion to make it 10-10 going into the last 15 minutes of the half.

The visitors put together some good passages of play with big second row Oscar Crowe driving through to get them on the front foot.

A scrum five metres out saw the Tigers drive the home team backwards for number eight, Tom Ailes, to touch down and put them 15-10 in front after a difficult first half with a lot of indiscipline, which didn’t help as Sedgley were down to 14 players for 10 minutes following a yellow card.

Despite this, they were pleased with the scoreline and looking to improve and build a score in the second half.

However this was not to be as Darlington came out with all guns blazing, looking to pressure the visitors every time they had possession.

They scored their second try with a lovely handling move wide out on the left to level the scores at 15-15, before another unnecessary penalty by Sedgley saw them gain territory and possession deep in the visitors’ 22, from which their number six dived over to turn the game on its head with 15 minutes to go.

Sedgley then received a second yellow card of the afternoon which put more pressure on them and the home side extended the lead with a penalty to put them 25-15 up with eight minutes to go.

Seals did convert a penalty with the last play of the game but the hosts sealed a deserved win.

Hazzelby is looking forward now and hoping the home fans can roar them on to derby success when Sale FC make the short trip across Manchester.

He added: “This is a big local derby and we are aiming for a much better performance, especially as they have just beaten Rams at home.

“Hopefully, our fan will come down and support us in what should be a great game.”