Lancaster City went down 3-0 at high-flying Darlington on Wednesday night.
Early goals from David Dowson and Tom Portas put the hosts in command before Leon Scott rounded off the win a minute before time as Darlington went to the summit of the Evo-Stik First Division North.
Once again without boss Darren Peacock, assistant manager Trevor Sinclair saw City make a bright start.
They were one down on four minutes however as the visitors failed to clear a corner with Dowson on hand to score from close range.
The Blues were undeterred however and continued their positive opening, Jacob Davis nearly getting his head on a Sam Bailey cross.
But things got even tougher for City on 16 minutes, Portas curling in a fine effort to put the hosts two goals to the good.
Dowson could have made things even rosier but fired over when fed by Stephen Thompson.
For City, Tom Kilifin found some space in the area as Sinclair’s side looked to find a way back into the game but sliced his effort high and wide.
The second half was an underwhelming affair with the Dolly Blues failing to trouble Peter Jameson.
The hosts did have chances to extend their lead, Nathan Cartman shooting over the bar and Gary Brown having a header cleared off the line.
It was left to Scott to light up the half with the game’s second stunning goal, firing a 20-yard shot into the top corner on 89 minutes.
Lancaster City will look to bounce straight back when they host Ossett Town at Giant Axe on Saturday.