Brackley Town slipped to an early season home setback in their Vanarama National League North campaign.
A six-minute blitz of three goals midway through the first half saw Darlington record a first win of the season on a day for the strikers at St James Park. The Quakers ran out 4-2 winners against Kevin Wilkin’s side in Saturday’s clash.
Reece Styche notched a hat-trick, his first coming in only the second minute of the game, a long range effort that found the top corner. Saints were level within four minutes as Jimmy Armson headed in unmarked from Shane Byrne’s corner.
Saints then enjoyed a good spell, twice going agonisingly close to taking the lead. Byrne’s free-kick was inches wide and Armson’s break set up Shep Murombedzi before Darlington scrambled the ball away.
But Styche completed his hat-trick with goals in the 21st and 23rd minutes, finishing clinically to take advantage of lapse defending after long balls. Simon Ainge scored the fourth goal in the 26th minute, finding a sharp finish from the edge of the penalty area to leave Saints shell-shocked at the interval.
Lee Ndlovu reduced the deficit with a 47th minute header from Armson’s cross and Saints strained every sinew to get a third goal. If they had, then in the goal spree you would believe a fourth would follow but it was not to be.
Darlington restricted goal scoring opportunities and ran the clock down in a quieter second period in which Saints enjoyed the better of things without forcing that further break-through. The closest Saints came to reducing the arrears was Matt Lowe’s fierce effort on the hour beaten away by Jonny Maddison in the Quakers’ goal.