STEVE WATSON has hailed the impact of returning duo Paddy McLaughlin and Nathan Dyer, both of whom were influential in York City’s 2-0 win at Darlington.

The suspension of Andy Bond and a late ankle knock to Kallum Griffiths forced Watson into bringing in Dyer from the start and McLaughlin in for his first appearance of the season.

Watson’s faith in the pair was duly rewarded throughout the match, with McLaughlin’s stunning left-footed volley sealing the win in the dying minutes, while Dyer’s interception played a hand in setting up Alex Kempster’s opener.

Speaking about McLaughlin, Watson revealed how a call to him earlier on Saturday morning had convinced him to bring the midfielder in from the start.

“Paddy’s one of the players that I could trust to come into the squad late on as he did,” said Watson.

“I liked his answer when I phoned him in the morning to say that Griffiths was struggling with his ankle. His answer was very positive and that matters a lot. I think if he’d have said, ‘possibly’ or ‘maybe’ then maybe I wouldn’t have done it.

But he said, ‘absolutely.’ That’s just a mark of the type of player that Paddy is really, that’s what he’s like. He was very workmanlike. Again, on the ball, he didn’t have his best afternoon. But, I don’t think that anybody did.

“I think it’s a sign in the right direction if we can underperform and still come away with the three points.

On Dyer’s display, Watson added: “Nathan did well. He’s been knocking on the door and I had no quibbles about putting Nathan in.

“It’s an absolutely enormous step-up from the under-19s game at the training ground on Wednesday - a game in which he played 90 minutes – to now come and play in a National League North game.”