Darlington comfortably won 3-0 their first home game of the season against a below-par Telford United side at Blackwell Meadows and provided a perfect boost for the absent Alun Armstrong.

The manager was forced to miss the game while he recovered from strangulated umbilical hernia that prompted an emergency operation on Friday.

He is now recovering at home but is unlikely to be at the Hereford game this Saturday.

Assistant manager Darren Holloway took charge of the team and was delighted with the way that the players responded in the circumstances, and provided Quakers’ first home win in front of a crowd since they beat Alfreton 3-0 in January 2020.

“It was a brilliant tonic for the gaffer,” said Holloway, who was helped by goalkeeping coach Jim Provett in the technical area, and by every Darlington player on the field.

“The players were exceptional to a man, and worked their socks off all the way through the game. All of them stood up to be counted. We said to them before the game that they should look at each other in the eye now, and to make sure that they could do the same at the end of the game.

“Hopefully that win will kick start us now. They have set the standards which hopefully they can replicate this Saturday against Hereford.”

The goals came from Luke Charman (2) and Kevin Dos Santos, but new centre half Danny Ellis, who was released by Farsley in midweek, played a major role to secure the three points.

Holloway added: “Danny is experienced and knows this league. He’s a good talker, knows what other people’s roles are, and moves people around him. Hopefully we’ll get better and better with him in the side.”

Telford looked off-colour in the first half as Quakers dominated, and possibly could have had more than just one goal to their credit.

Joe Wheatley’s early shot dipped just over the bar early on, and Jarrett Rivers set up Charman to have a low shot saved by keeper Russell Griffiths, but the former Newcastle striker had better fortune on 18 minutes.

Dos Santos hit a powerful shot that Griffiths parried to Charman, who slotted in his fifth of the season.

Lacklustre Telford were fortunate not to be further behind before half time, as Will Hatfield, Charman and Rivers were all just off target, and Griffiths made a point blank save from Dos Santos.

Telford improved briefly at the start of the second half and Jason Oswell glanced the top of the bar with a header, but their revival was killed off by a second goal on 64 minutes. Cassidy flicked on Ellis’ cross-field pass for Dos Santos to play back into the area to Cassidy, who set Charman up to curl the ball beyond Griffiths into the net.

Quakers were in control and finished the game on 82 minutes. Wheatley found Dos Santos on the left, and the former Tadcaster ace cut into the middle, and unleashed a fierce shot that went in off the underside of the bar.

*Quakers’ away game at Boston United on Saturday October 16 has been postponed because the Pilgrims are involved still in the FA Cup.