Harrogate gained a measure of revenge for October’s defeat when they ran out 3-2 winners at a blustery Blackwell Meadows, Darlington.
Town were unchanged apart from Chris Elliott replacing the injured Peter Crook in goal.
Lloyd Kerry nearly drew first blood when he fired wide from Joe Leesley’s free kick, but the key point in the game arrived on eighteen minutes.
A wild, over the top tackle by Leon Scott on Kerry earned him an instant red card from referee,Paul Newhouse.
However, it was the ten men of the Quakers who almost took the lead when Stephen Thompson hit the outside of Town’s upright from twenty yards.
A tremendous second half started with Simon Ainge scoring at the far post after a determined run by Joe Colbeck.
Within minutes the Quakers had restored parity when Thompson latched onto a through ball and lobbed Elliott from the edge of the area.
Warren Burrell and Ainge went close and Leesley ballooned a Colbeck centre well over as Town turned the screw, although Darlo’s, Dave Syers, spurned a chance to give them the lead when he sliced wide from a weak Town clearance.
Two late goals from Town appeared to make the game safe,but the Quakers had other ideas.
On seventy six minutes,a powerful run across the box by Louie Swain ended with a lay off to Kerry who drove into the far corner,and soon afterwards, Ainge blasted a Leesley free kick into the roof of the net.
The Quakers, roared on by a 1700 crowd finished the stronger, and with two minutes left,ex Townie,Liam Hardy headed in Mark Beck’s flick on from Gary Brown’s long throw.
In the dying seconds, home skipper, Kevin Burgess headed a David Ferguson corner over the bar, but Town hung on for a welcome victory.
Darlington 2 Harrogate Town 3 Att.1742
1 Elliott, 2 Turner, 3 Parker, 4 Burrell, 5 Shiels, 6 Ellis (c) (Thanoj 65), 7 Colbeck (Emmett 72), 8 Kerry, 9 Ainge 10 Swain,11 Leesley.
Unused subs,12 Platt, 15 Agnew,16 Day. Booking Elliott
Scorers, Ainge 48,82. Kerry 76
1Wilczynski, 2 Falkingham, 3Ferguson 4 Turnbull (Hunter 60), 5 Burgess 9c), 6 Brown 7 Syers, 8 Scott, 9 Beck, 10 Cartman (Galbraith 30 ), 11 Thompson(Hardy 70).
Unused subs, 13 Bell (Gk),14 Gillies. Sent off Scott ,Booked Falkingham.
Scorers,Thompson 49,Hardy 88. Att.1742.
Report John Harrison.