Scarborough’s National League North clash with Darlington was delayed for almost 40 minutes amid allegations of abuse aimed at a female official.
The game, which the Quakers eventually won 5-2 at the Flamingo Land Stadium to return to the top of the table, kicked off at 1pm, but did not finish until around 3.40pm following a 38-minute second-half suspension.
An announcement warning spectators about abusive language was made over the public address system after a brief first-half stoppage following a conversation between referee and assistant, listed as Dean Watson and assistant Emily Carney.
Darlington later issued an appeal for witnesses following an allegation of “misogynistic remarks” from the visitors’ section.
A statement on the club’s website, posted at half-time, read: “During the first half of the game at Scarborough, the female assistant was subject to alleged misogynistic remarks from one or two Darlington fans.
“Darlington FC wholeheartedly condemns such conduct, and so if you witnessed these incidents and can help identify the culprits, then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org in the strictest of confidence.”
Shortly after Jacob Hazel had put the Quakers 3-0 ahead with his second goal nine minutes into the second half, the game was stopped again following further problems.
Darlington added to the statement on their website later on Monday evening, saying: “There was a subsequent incident after half-time, believed to involve Scarborough fans, which resulted in a delay of 30 minutes.
“Darlington FC also condemns this incident, and encourages any eye witnesses to come forward in the strictest of confidence.”
Both clubs have been contacted for comment, with a Darlington spokesperson telling the PA news agency: “We’re carrying out an investigation.”
A post on Scarborough’s Twitter account read: “We would like to emphasise that discriminatory language of any nature will not be tolerated. Please respect the match officials, players and fellow fans.”
Both sets of players returned to warm up again after a break of around 28 minutes, with the game resuming 10 minutes later.
Mark Beck, who had opened the scoring, made it 4-0 and Jack Lambert added a fifth before Michael Coulson struck twice at the death to reduce the deficit.