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Johnson becomes a local hero
Eight months after offering to play for his hometown club for free, Steven Johnson has finally become a local hero with Darlington.
Supporters chanted "he's one of our own" at Belle Vue following the Darlington-born 31-year-old's strike on Saturday, which he celebrated by pointing to the crest on his shirt.
"It was class when they were singing that, I absolutely loved it," he said. "It's not something I've had before when I've played for other teams so it was excellent to hear, I was buzzing.
"I used to go to the Arena all the time. I only live around the corner so I used to take my little lad with me even though it was £16 to get in, I didn't enjoy paying that.
"When I was younger I used to go to every midweek game down at Feethams and before that I was a ball boy. I was down at the Polam End in front of the away fans in that corner."
He'll be hoping to add to his tally this evening when Darlington play Dunston at Heritage Park (7.30pm).
Johnson has marked both of his goals with joyous celebrations, yet those moments could easily have come at the beginning of the year when he offered to play for free.
Quakers were entrenched in financial crisis and struggling for players so Johnson, then with Shildon , was keen to help.
I went down to the Arena one day to ask if they needed anyone because I knew they were struggling," he said.
"I only live 30 seconds away, just off Neasham Road. I walked into reception and spoke to a woman at the counter and said 'look, if you're struggling to pay players or whatever, I've been around a bit, I'll play for you. I'll pay for my own travel'.
"She said she'd pass the message on, but I never heard anything back so I was bit sick about that. I was at Shildon at the time, but I'd rather have been at Darlington any day of the week."
He is among a clutch of forwards available to manager Martin Gray who is again without David Dowson this evening due to work commitments.
Jonson added: "It's going to be hard with players like Shaun Reay, David Dowson and Jamie Clarke here. They're all quality so all I can do is the best that I can when I get my chance.
"It's Martin's decision on who he plays, but it's just nice to be involved because you feel part of something."
While Quakers have won their first three matches, Dunston have lost their three Northern League games, including their game at West Auckland on Tuesday.
Gray was at the game, which was a rematch of May's FA Vase final that Dunston won at Wembley.
Darlington: Norton; Harrison, Brown, A Purewal, Smith; Emms, Ellison, Scott, A Purewal; Johnson, Reay