DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong "could not believe" games went ahead in the National League’s three divisions at the weekend, suggesting the decision was motivated by money.

He was deeply unhappy with the manner of the goals his team conceded in Saturday’s defeat to Farsley Celtic, Quakers losing 4-2 after squandering numerous chances to extend their lead when 2-1 up.

But that there was a match at all at Blackwell Meadows during the coronavirus outbreak surprised the manager, who blames the Football Association for the situation.

Whereas elite football in Britain has been suspended until early April, with the Premier League saying "conditions at the time" will determine its return, the FA left the decision in the hands of the National League, who announced it was ‘game on’ after a board meeting on Friday.

But by 3pm on Saturday five matches in Darlington’s division had been shelved, one of them involving Boston United who are Quakers’ scheduled opponents tomorrow evening.

Armstrong said: "The game being on today was probably a little bit of a daft thing to do, but I think the FA hung the National League out to dry, to be honest. We’ve had to deal with it.

“I can’t see the game being on on Tuesday, but if it is the lads will have to pick themselves up.

"I just think the FA should have made the decision full-stop. The Scottish FA made the decision, the Welsh FA, all the FAs in other countries have made the decision to stop it at all levels.

"The National League, if you look, it's been ever so silent, the Twitter feed, everything has gone silent. They said the games would go ahead and then everything went quiet and the clubs were left to make their own decisions.

"Unfortunately, clubs need the finances, so some want to play the games if there aren't any symptoms. But then integrity of the game comes into it because some have called it off.

"It is baffling. I feel for the National League, I think they were hung out to dry a little bit by the FA, but they probably should have just followed suit.

"We've got to think of people's health first and foremost, that's the most important thing."

Ben Strevens, manager of Eastleigh in the National League, struck a similar chord to Armstrong.

After his side faced Notts County on Saturday, he said: “The reason it went ahead is because whoever sits on the board of the National League just cared about the money. Simple as that.

"They didn’t think about the well-being of the spectators, and it’s not only the supporters: we’ve got a kitman who is an old boy, and there’s stewards who are older. They’re the ones that are most at risk. There’s no way whatsoever these games should have been played.”

National League chief executive, Michael Tattersall, responded: “It’s not really a time for having an argument, it’s a time for reflecting on what’s happening in our society ... The National League is keeping the continuation of the season under constant review.”

On Saturday Boston had been due to face Chester, who on Friday evening announced their fixture was postponed. A Chester statement read: “Support, volunteer, player and staff safety is absolutely paramount to us – especially those in the ‘at-risk’ groups who are most vulnerable.”

Darlington’s game was one of only six fixtures in the National League North which went ahead, down from the 11 scheduled when league officials decided they wished to play.

Armstrong added: “I couldn’t believe it, and then you saw other teams cancelling their games even though they had no players with symptoms, it was for the safety of the fans and officials.

“The National League should’ve come out and cancelled games but they left it to clubs to make that decision.

“Health is more important than money. You might get your money but, have you passed the virus on to your grandparents? These are worrying times.”