Craig Elliott conceded his Boston United side deserved to leave Darlington empty handed.
The Pilgrims as good as threw the game away in the opening 10 minutes as Tyrone O’Neill and Adam Campbell gave the Quakers a commanding lead.
Dominic Knowles pulled one back for Boston, but in a game of few chances the hosts hung on.
“It’s about consistent performances, and I can’t stand here and say we deserved anything,” Elliott said.
“The performance was poor. We contributed to the result, we played poor.”
After three straight victories, United failed the replicate their recent form.
“I didn’t see it coming,” the manager confessed.
“The losses we’ve had seem to be similar, you think you’re getting somewhere and I think we were very poor for 90 minutes.
“They came in our 18 yard box and scored twice, which doesn’t normally happen that early, they were clinical and it puts you on the back foot.
“It was always going to be difficult then. We did well to get back in the game and I still fancied our chances. We just didn’t do enough to get back in it.
“We had too many players playing for themselves. We carried them today.”
Elliott did, however, praise the hosts, who he said deserved to win the game.
He added: “Fair play to them, I thought there front three did well.
“They’ve got a lot of good movement, but to play like we did today was poor.”