DARLINGTON may have four league games to play, plus the play-offs, but Stephen Thompson has already collected silverware having been named as a double-winner at the Evo- Stik League Player of the Year Awards.
He took the 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 also 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 Worksop Town’s Leon Mettam in third.
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The awards were handed out by former Everton and Manchester City manager Joe Royle at a ceremony on Sunday evening at the Brooklands Holiday Inn in Barnsley, though Thompson was unable to be present to receive the trophies in person.
The Darlington forward’s awards came on a night when he 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.
In 38 league appearances this season Thompson has scored 23 goals – none of them penalties – and in all competitions he has netted 26 times in 41 games.
Since signing from Durham City early last season Thompson has been a mainstay of the side, the only player to have started all 38 league games this campaign and his appearance in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Radcliffe Borough means he has not missed any of Quakers’ last 50 games.
He has bagged two hattricks this season. The first, in a 7-0 December win at Burscough, included two strikes from outside the penalty area and the performance 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 his team were crowned Ebac Northern League title, and Quakers are bidding for a second successive promotion with a place in the play-offs very likely.
Meanwhile, at the same ceremony Darlington fan Martin Deans was named as a runnerup in the Evo-Stik Supporter of the Year Award.
A lifelong Quakers supporter, Deans travels to every game, home and away, from London and also volunteers as a steward for matches at Heritage Park.
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).