ROSSENDALE’S three week break from action took its toll as they looked rusty and out of touch in defeat at National League Three North leaders Darlington.

The Durham club is always one of the toughest trips – and even harder when you have not played for so long and so it proved for a disappointing Dale side.

Within minutes of the kick off, Darlington secured a cheap turnover from the away side and span it wide – and the home side’s pacey winger collected his own chip ahead to touch down for the first try.

Another quickly followed from some missed first up tackling from a quite Dale side.

It was clearly Darlington’s half and they notched up a third try after quashing the few rare Dale attacks with stern defence and good turnovers.

The second half began as the first ended, Dale immediately took the back foot again and good interplay between Darlington’s back line resulted in three more unanswered tries.

Only when the game broke down into more open and chaotic play did Dale capitalise. Jamie Albinson took full advantage of limited numbers of forwards fringing around the ruck to duck through, step the full back and score. Stephen Nutt converted and added another five points when a charged down kick found its way into his hands via Tommy Albinson.

Dale will be pleased with their late flurry which showed grit and determin-ation when they knew they were under performing.

Dale will have to improve when they entertain Burnage at Marl Pits on Saturday (ko 2.15pm).