Darlington manager labels Boston United 'petty' as loan move is blocked

Alun Armstrong frustrated Pilgrims wouldn't let player make loan move
Alun Armstrong. Photo: Getty ImagesAlun Armstrong. Photo: Getty Images
Alun Armstrong. Photo: Getty Images

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has labelled Boston United 'petty' for refusing to allow a player to link up with the Quakers.

Armstrong's comments look set to fan the flames ahead of tonight's meeting at the Jakemans Community Stadium.

“They had players available on loan, but they wouldn’t let them come here," the Darlington boss told the Northern Echo, believing the Pilgrims are still holding a grudge following last season's abandoned contest, which saw Nicky Hunt hospitalised.

“If they want to be petty like that, that’s up to them."

Boston were leading 2-0 in the 87th minute at Blackwell Meadows last November when Hunt needed medical attention following a collision of heads.

With an ambulance taking more than an hour to arrive, the contest was abandoned.

Armstrong added: "We had no say in that game whatsoever, the league determined it had to be replayed. The league got cancelled anyway, so it didn’t matter.

“I don’t know why there’s friction when someone nearly died on the pitch, I don’t understand it. Why there’s any friction is a bit baffling from our point of view.”

Lincolnshire World understands that Boston opted not to allow the unnamed player to join Darlington because they see them as a direct rival for a play off spot - indeed the Quakers could leapfrog United in the National League North standings if they win tomorrow evening.

Hunt was released from hospital the day after being admitted and thankfully went on to recover and continue playing for Darlington last season, much to the relief of United midfielder and friend Paul Green.

On the night of the abandonment, Armstrong told the United camp he was happy for the result to stand, but later made a U-turn after reflecting on the situation.

"At the time I couldn't have cared less about the game, I was just concerned at that moment," he said in December.

"But we've talked about it as a club, and I've been involved in games when teams have come back from two goals down late on."

The National League declared the contest had to be replayed and a date was set for February 16, with the Quakers pulling out of the match the day before the two sides were due to meet.

A statement from the club claimed they had been 'misled' by the league.

Darlington fulfilled their FA Trophy quarter-final contest against Hornchurch on February 27, losing 2-1.

Tonight's contest - the first between the tow sides at the Jakemans Community Stadium - kicks off at 745pm.