10:38pm Sunday 6th April 2014
By Craig Stoddart
Darlington’s Stephen Thompson was a double-winner this evening when he received two player of the year of the awards.
He took Evo-Stik Division One North accolade, as chosen by the managers of Quakers' rival teams.
And in an online poll in which thousands of supporters voted he was named as the best player across the three Evo-Stik divisions.
Second place in the fans' award went to Tom Greaves of FC United of Manchester with third being Worksop Town's Leon Mettam.
The awards were announced at a ceremony held in Barnsley where former Everton manager Joe Royle was the special guest, though Thompson was unable to be present to receive the trophies in person.
In 38 league appearances so far this season the Darlington forward has scored 23 goals - none of them penalties. In all competitions he has 26 goals in 42 games.
Since signing from Durham City early last season, Thompson has been a mainstay of the Darlington side, the only player to have started all 38 league games this season.
Including the final 12 matches of last season, yesterday's 3-0 win over Radcliffe Borough represented his 50th Quakers' game in succession.
He has bagged two hat-tricks in this campaign. The first, in a 7-0 December win at Burscough, included two strikes from outside the penalty area and resulted in him being awarded 10/10 in The Northern Echo’s match ratings.
A year ago Thompson was Darlington’s player of the year as the team won the Northern League title, and Quakers are bidding for a second successive promotion with a place in the play-offs very likely.
The awards came after Thompson and team-mate Alan White were named in the divisional team of the year, as voted for by the managers of teams in the league.
Evo-Stik First Division North team of year: Grant Shenton (Ramsbottom), Arron Hardy (Farsley), Ryan Serrant (Farsley), Craig Robinson (Warrington), Alan White (Darlington), Gary Stopforth (Ramsbottom), Sam Walker (Curzon Ashton), Phil Dean (Ramsbottom), Alistair Waddecar (Bamber Bridge), Stephen Thompson (Darlington), Matt Warburton (Curzon Ashton).
Meanwhile, at the same ceremony avid Darlington fan Martin Deans was named as a runner-up in the Evo-Stik Supporter of the Year Award.
A lifelong Quakers supporter, Mr Deans travels to every Darlington game, home and away, from London and also volunteers as a steward for matches at Heritage Park.
Back in October all 68 Evo-Stik clubs were asked to nominate a supporter worthy of recognition and the other four chosen by judges were Ashton United’s Jez Sayle, Ilkeston FC’s Lynda Bacon, Mossley AFC’s Kath Field and Scarborough Athletic’s Are Guttlevik, with Mrs Field winning the prize.
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