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Thompson’s repaying Gray with goals
Amid the glowing report that Martin Gray made when be brought Stephen Thompson to Darlington was the notion that the forward would create plenty of goals for team-mates. Gray has proved correct and Thompson has not disappointed.
Two assists on his first start against Billingham Town on September 15 set the tone.
The number of goals he's since teed up for team-mates has since reached double figures in eight league starts, plus he's got four goals himself.
That makes it eight goals for the season including the four he notched for Durham before joining Darlington.
No wonder he has ambitions to play higher up the football pyramid.
Gray purred about his performance in last Saturday's 3-1 win over Bedlington when Thompson created goals for David Dowson and Leon Scott.
Gray said: "He's a top player at this level and he proved that again.
"He proved how good he is when we gave him the ball and its always great to see his quality come through."
Thompson came through the ranks at Middlesbrough before spells at Port Vale and AFC Telford.
The 23-year-old readily admits that a return to full-time football appeals.
"Of course I'd like to get back to being a pro, I think everyone would say the same thing," he said. "We all want to go up the leagues. Everyone who plays football has the ambition of playing at the highest level that they can for as long as they can and I'm no different.
"I work in a factory now. One week I'm in 7am-3pm, the next week 3-11pm and then I also do night shift. So when I do back-shift, working until 11 at night, I've got to try and arrange time off work, its not ideal.
"I'd like to get out of that and get into full-time football. I know of some lads that have dropped into the Northern League and then gone back to the pro game.
"I as a pro, I've been out of it for about three years now and it would be nice to get back up there, but it is a long shot. It's not going to happen overnight."
Thompson and Dowson reunited at Darlington having formed a successful partnership at Durham City in the division above.
"I enjoyed my time at Durham, of course I did, but when I found out that Darlo were interested I want to come,'' he said.
"The club is going places. It's not a case of it should be going places, it actually is. If we keep on going like we are and keep winning then we'll be alright.
"I couldn't have hoped for it to go any better. I've had 11 or 12 assists now and four goals in the seven or right and games and we're unbeaten since I came."
Thompson will start today's game at seventh-placed Billingham Synthonia when Quakers, who expect to be unchanged, aim to continue their winning run.
The Ebac Northern League leaders have won their last 11 matches, though their advantage over Spennymoor Town was cut to eight points in midweek due to their 4-2 win over Synners.
The Teessiders became the first side this season to score more than single goal against Moors, who today are only two miles away at Norton & Stockton Ancients.
Synthonia today welcome back first choice keeper Josh Moody, who has missed the last two matches, and full back Andy Burton.
Their assistant manager is Lee Tucker, who played for Darlington in the early 1990s.
He said: "We're looking forward to what should be an exciting atmospheric game played out between two good footballing sides.
"We are obviously underdogs but I am sure the players will relish the experience and opportunity to show off their ability levels.
"It obviously looks like it will be a one-off experience to play Darlington at home in a league game and so we must ensure that the day is enjoyed by everyone."