11 November 2020 00:47
THE shine of Darlington's FA Cup victory at the weekend evaporated last night when their match with Boston United was abandoned due to a serious injury sustained by Nicky Hunt. Hunt accidentally collided with the opposition's Joe Leesley in the build-up to Boston's second goal in the 87th minute. The game was abandoned by referee Adam Williamson with the score at 2-0, and the National League will have to decide whether the result stands or a replay is required. But the scoreline was of secondary importance to those involved at Blackwell Meadows. The collision, which also saw Tony McMahon close by, saw Hunt fall backwards onto the turf and he did not move for over an hour while an ambulance was called, with players from both sides shocked by the incident.
Medics including Quakers physiotherapist Danny O'Connor, club staff and players gathered round the stricken Hunt, who joined Quakers in the summer from Crewe Alexandra. He was taken from Blackwell on a stretcher at 11pm, around 90 minutes after his fall. It is unclear exactly what the injury was, but it is understood to be a spinal issue. The sombre scenes brought an early end to what had been a disappointing display from Darlington on the back of Saturday's surprise 2-1 success at Swindon Town. Darlington were sluggish at the start, unable to get into their flow and Boston took an early lead, Jordan Burrow with a powerful header after sneaking into space inside the 18-yard box. The striker connected with Connor Dimaio's right-wing cross to make it 1-0 after eight minutes. Quakers very shortly almost let in another, Andi Thanoj's corner was pushed away on the line by Johnny Saltmer and then Dimaio's low shot was blocked by Hunt. A great chance for an equaliser was wasted by Sean Reid. With only the goalkeeper to beat, his shot was too close to Ross Fitzsimons. The second Boston goal was not dissimilar to Adam Campbell's winner on Saturday, Fraser Preston's shot taking a major deflection off Michael Liddle to wrong-foot Saltmer. But what happened to Hunt in the build-up was the only cause of concern. Jordan Burrow. Photo: Oliver Atkin Boston United's National League North match at Darlington was abandoned tonight following an injury to Quakers defender Nicky Hunt. The Pilgrims led in the 87th minute when the defender was floored following a coming together with a teammate, which saw an ambulance called. He appeared to be suffering from a neck injury. Goals from Jordan Burrow and Fraser Preston looked to have proved the difference at Blackwell Meadows before the contest was abandoned following a wait of more than 20 minutes. Burrow had given the Pilgrims an eighth minute lead. The move was simple but effective, Preston setting Connor Dimaio free on the right wing, his first-time pinpoint cross gratefully nodded home from close range by Burrow as he ghosted into the box. As the Pilgrims pushed for a second, under pressure Sean Reid almost nodded into his own net, but keeper Johnny Saltmer somehow blocked on the goal line. Ross Fitzsimons maintained United's lead as Reid was put through on goal, his effort diverted wide by the keeper's outstretched leg as he looked off on to score. The goalmouth action, and pace of the contest, slowed in the second half. United's press frustrated Darlington throughout, but a rare opportunity saw Fitzsimons deny Adam Campbell three times after Preston dragged an effort wide at the other end. A double change with 10 minutes to go saw Joe Leesley and Paul Green replace Andi Thanoj and Terry Hawkridge. Dimaio proved provider again in the 87th minute, teeing up Preston whose deflected strike found the net as the Quakers had two players down injured following a coming together.