BEING without several first-choice players has been a theme of Darlington’s season, each week Alun Armstrong has been unable to call on a few of his first-choice picks.

He was without seven on Saturday for a range of reasons yet he oversaw a 2-1 win, but admitted afterwards that he would have taken a draw beforehand.

Opponents Boston United came into the contest having, like Quakers, won their three previous matches, two of them being in the FA Cup.

But two early goals by Tyrone O’Neill and Adam Campbell put Darlington in the driving seat and they remained there to claim a fourth successive win.

“I was honest with the lads before the game and said we would take a draw because of the seven players missing, but then we started like a house on fire,” said the manager.

“The lads thoroughly deserved that and I’ve got to give them massive credit because if you look at what was in the squad today we had 16, 17 and 19-year-olds on the bench and everyone put their body on the line.

“I loved that win, it was one that typifies your team when you want to win the game and will do anything for it. The fans will buy into that rather than winning games three or four nil, you could see that it really matters to these lads.”

Ben Hedley served a one-match ban, Justin Donawa and Osagi Bascome are on international duty, while Stephen Thompson, who has had a groin problem, is optimistic of being available for this weekend’s FA Cup tie at Tamworth.

But it will be sometime before long-term injured Luke Trotman, David Atkinson and Jamie Holmes are available.

Armstrong added: “We had seven missing. Three long-term, two on international duty, Thommo injured and Ben Hedley suspended. I’m excited for January-February when players will be back.

“I’m excited for when these lads come back because I know what I’ve got, and if we can keep sniffing around that middle of the pack we’ll see where we are and then have a big push after Christmas.”

Armstrong named 17-year-old son Reece on the bench for the first time. Formerly in Middlesbrough’s youth system, he is a forward and was unattached but has previously been at Blyth Spartans with his dad.