BOSS Josh Gowling believes Hereford will be buoyed by an improved performance despite letting slip an early lead against Darlington. 

The Bulls suffered a third home defeat on the spin, losing 2-1 to the Quakers who claimed second spot in National North as a result of a resolute display at Edgar Street.

Jack Evans, stationed to the right of the box, kept his cool to take a touch and fire low into the bottom far corner with 11 minutes played, a goal that prompted Hereford to be bright for much of the rest of the half. 

The hosts were shaken when Jack Lambert rattled the bar from his own half deep into first-half stoppage time and never truly recovered with Ben Liddle firing in from the edge of the box just before the half-time whistle. 

Hereford’s best chance of the second half came seconds before Darlington’s winner, a corner that flashed across via the head of Aaron Amadi-Holloway before being hacked away. 

The decider came a minute later, Jacob Hazel peeling to the left to centre for Lambert to pop into the box and apply a simple finish.

Hereford probably had two thirds of the play in each half but frequently got locked out of Darlington’s 18-yard box while enduring costly vulnerable moments at the back. 

However, with plenty of players still on the sidelines, Gowling believes the more fluid nature of the display will stand his charges in good stead for future challenges. 

Gowling said: “We got into good areas, we got into the spaces between the six and 18-yard box for cutbacks but then the cutbacks were not quite right. 

“There was one with Aaron where he went with his right foot, had the cutback been better he could have just finished, so we got into the right areas but the final delivery was not there. Getting into those areas was pleasing, though. 

“If you look at the amount of goals we score this season compared to last, it is definitely more.

“We have had to play on the counter attack over the past couple of weeks and it takes time to get that fluency back which we did, the lads will take a lot of confidence from that. 

“We want to win games and we are disappointed to have lost to the team that is now second in the league but we just have to go again.

“The lads are going to have a few days off, they have their Christmas party tonight but we will be back to go again on Tuesday to get ready for King’s Lynn next weekend.” 

On the match, Gowling said: “We are gutted, it came down to two moments in the game.

“We gave away the ball in a bad area and they scored just before half-time, and Jordan (Thompson) stops when he slides the ball across (for the second), if he carried on his run he would have cleared it but I thought the lads were absolutely outstanding. 

“We pressed well and that is how we want to play, we have not been able to do that with the personnel we have had, we have had to sit in and be a bit boring at times.

“I want to be on the front foot and we certainly were.”