HEAD coach Glenn Bowman is hoping Horden take belief from a battling effort at Durham Northumberland One leaders Darlington.
The final 38-7 scoreline in Darlington’s favour may look a convincing one, but for much of the contest the colliery side gave as good as they got at Blackwell Meadows.
The championship favourites only pulled away in the closing stages, when Horden faded and their discipline slipped.
Despite making a number of late changes, Horden began in lively fashion after Newton Turton won the kick-off. He fed Kieron Forbes, who burst through the Darlington midfield and made good yards before being hauled down.
Horden took a deserved lead when they won quick ball off the top of the line-out, allowing David Baines and David Heckles to combine to put David Mason through. Heckles converted to make it 7-0.
Darlington came fighting back with a try to make it 7-7, then forced their way over after a series of drives.
With everything to play for, Horden went straight on the attack after the interval and from a quick penalty, Raine almost went over in the corner, but was just forced out.
The leaders took full advantage of this let-off and they first created an overlap out wide which allowed their winger to score and then they added a second converted try down the blindside following a freekick.
From being within a whisker of pulling level, the visitors found themselves 26-7 down.
Ross Brymer was then hauled down five metres short of the line, but that was Horden’s last attacking opportunity and Darlington added two converted tries.
“A lack of discipline was costly for us,” Bowman said. “We have to stop giving stupid penalities away.
“Darlington created more, were more clinical and deserved the win, but I was really pleased with desire and commitment shown.
“Hopefully they can look at the way they played for the first 60 minutes and believe that they can compete with the top sides.”