Thompson hits hat-trick in Quakers romp

CLOSE SHAVE: David Dowson misses a chance to score

VICTORY DANCE: Stephen Thompson and Dale Hopson

First published in Sport
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Sports Editor

Final score: Darlington 5 Wakefield 1

Stephen Thompson starred as Darlington enjoyed a comfortable 5-1 win over Wakefield to move up to second in the table.

He weighed in with a hat-trick, all three of his strikes coming from outside the penalty area during as one-sided a game as Quakers have played this season.

They wasted far too many chances, however, their profligacy matter little with Nathan Fisher and Adam Mitchell also on target on a chilly evening at Heritage Park which saw only 697 in attendance – Darlington’s lowest league gate at the venue.

Those that stayed away missed Thompson’s third hat-trick for the club, leaving manager Martin Gray delighted with his star man, who has now netted 26 goals in all competitions this season.

“He showed what a special player he is. That’s 23 league goals now, which isn’t bad for a left-winger who is fat and overweight,” said the manager, with reference to disparaging comments made by Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan recently.

“It was a great and well-deserved hat-trick. He was so clinical with his finishing.

“We changed formation because we knew Wakefield would play 4-5-1 and that allowed us to put Thompson behind the strikers and he’s so dangerous there.”

Having not won any of their three games since changing to 4-4-2 three games ago, Darlington started with 3-4-1-2 and the switch almost paid dividends inside two minutes.

Thompson put a goal on a plate for Amar Purewal with a floated cross from the right, but he showed all the conviction of a striker now without a goal in nine games and goalkeeper Neil Bennett had an easy save.

The attack was an indication of what was to come against a side with the division’s worst defensive record – 105 goals conceded in 36 games before last night – as Darlington were dominant from the off, but they failed to make the most of their possession.

Dale Hopson, recalled on the right of midfield, played a perfectly-weighted pass into Thompson, though the ball skimmed off the top of the grass, which had received a thorough soaking during a pre-match downpour.

Darlington’s superiority was occasionally interrupted by a Wakefield punt down field to lone striker Robert Bordman, but the visitors from Yorkshire posed little threat and Darlington deserved to go ahead on 31 minutes when Thompson drilled a low shot home from 20 yards.

Mitchell, making his home debut, saw an effort from the corner of the penalty area drift just past the post, though the half ended with Wakefield wasting a chance when Robert Bordman fired wide from 18 yards.

They were otherwise a poor side and any chance they had of scraping a point appeared to vanish when Bordman was sent off.

He saw red on 53 minutes for talking out of turn to the referee Rebecca Welch following an incident behind her back involving Quakers skipper Gary Brown.

It seemed only a matter of time before Darlington doubled their lead, but it was Wakefield who scored next, handed an equaliser thanks to sloppy defending at a short corner, allowing David Bordman to level with a close-range tap-in.

Gray said: “I was concerned we’d missed so many chances because you’ve got to kill teams off, the sooner the better.

“We went 1-0 up, it should’ve been four or five, and then we concede a rubbish goal. But then Thompson comes up with another bit of quality.

“We were well in control, it was just a matter of taking our chances.”

Within four minutes, Darlington led 3-1 following a quickfire double.

Thompson, who had hit both the bar and post, swept home from the edge of the penalty area, lifting the ball over the keeper, and then Fisher raced on to a long pass down the right and dispatched the ball across Bennett for his sixth league goal to give Quakers some breathing space.

Welch waved away strong penalty appeals when Jason Mycoe tripped Ian Ward, the tall debutant striker signed from Durham City who made his presence felt after coming off the bench.

Thompson completed his hat-trick when he fired left-footed into the net from, as ever, outside the penalty area, but the final say went to Mitchell.

Ward headed the ball back into play after a Thompson corner with Mitchell eventually being teed up to hook home from just inside the penalty area.

The win means Quakers, who are at Ossett Town on Saturday, are now nine points ahead of sixth place.

Comments (6)

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10:50am Thu 27 Mar 14

behonest says...

Well done Thommo, but don't get carried away - Wakefield has the worst defensive record in this league and you should be scoring a few against them, if you want to play at a higher level.

Different story this Saturday away at Ossett Town - they are a much better side, so let's see how you cope then. I hope you can handle the pressure this time and get another hat-trick, of course.
Well done Thommo, but don't get carried away - Wakefield has the worst defensive record in this league and you should be scoring a few against them, if you want to play at a higher level. Different story this Saturday away at Ossett Town - they are a much better side, so let's see how you cope then. I hope you can handle the pressure this time and get another hat-trick, of course. behonest
  • Score: 4

11:12am Thu 27 Mar 14

mike8138 says...

Surely what's important now is to stay in second place and so ensure home advantage in the play-offs. Given the team's patchy form of late we can only hope they can do it.
Surely what's important now is to stay in second place and so ensure home advantage in the play-offs. Given the team's patchy form of late we can only hope they can do it. mike8138
  • Score: 3

12:08pm Thu 27 Mar 14

behonest says...

mike8138 wrote:
Surely what's important now is to stay in second place and so ensure home advantage in the play-offs. Given the team's patchy form of late we can only hope they can do it.
Important for the fans maybe, so we can enjoy the occasion, but I'm not sure it's so important for the team! They seem to get the results away from home just as easily as they do at home, if not more so.
I agree with you though, HP is a good venue and I look forward to being there for the play-offs.
[quote][p][bold]mike8138[/bold] wrote: Surely what's important now is to stay in second place and so ensure home advantage in the play-offs. Given the team's patchy form of late we can only hope they can do it.[/p][/quote]Important for the fans maybe, so we can enjoy the occasion, but I'm not sure it's so important for the team! They seem to get the results away from home just as easily as they do at home, if not more so. I agree with you though, HP is a good venue and I look forward to being there for the play-offs. behonest
  • Score: 4

12:34pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Saint Crow says...

'He weighed in with a hat-trick, all three of his strikes coming from outside the penalty area......

......Thompson, who had hit both the bar and post, swept home from inside the penalty area.'

Nice one!
'He weighed in with a hat-trick, all three of his strikes coming from outside the penalty area...... ......Thompson, who had hit both the bar and post, swept home from inside the penalty area.' Nice one! Saint Crow
  • Score: -1

12:43pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Lionel1 says...

so what if he's fat, he knows where the goal is...
so what if he's fat, he knows where the goal is... Lionel1
  • Score: 0

1:56pm Fri 28 Mar 14

60 years a Darlo Fan says...

Nice to see the lads back to scoring a few goals, all of them were decent efforts. Looking forward to Saturday, lets keep it going Darlo..
Nice to see the lads back to scoring a few goals, all of them were decent efforts. Looking forward to Saturday, lets keep it going Darlo.. 60 years a Darlo Fan
  • Score: 0

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