REECE STYCHE'S looping swan dive into a tightly-packed drift of snow was certainly a moment to remember.

The leap was after the Darlington striker had blasted the ball into the roof of the net to give his side a 1-0 lead over Chorley at Blackwell Meadows in January.

The match ended 2-2 on a freezing afternoon in the North-East, which will be remembered for the sight of the six-foot-plus Styche plunging into the pitchside snow in delight after his goal - with the photo taken by Stuart Boulton for The Northern Echo.

He has now been honoured with the Marathonbet Non-League Challenge Celebration of the Year at Wednesday night’s National Game Awards, in association with SCL, at Stamford Bridge.

Styche was unable to collect the award in person, but Quakers chairman David Johnston recalled the snow was a result of a monumental fan effort to clear the playing surface and keep the game on.

“We had a lot of snow on the pitch the night before the game, so we tweeted out for fans to come down and 200 fans came down, cleared the pitch and pushed all the snow to the side,” he said.

“The referee announced the game was on at 10.30am.

“When Reece scored, he smashed the ball in the top corner, turned and run, and dove headfirst into the snow along with Gary Brown – tremendous celebration but I was a bit concerned because the snow was pretty tight!

“Darlington is a fan-run club, so it was a fantastic job by the fans to get the game on.”

After being placed in administration in 2012 following financial difficulties, the club was placed in the ninth tier – Northern League Division One – as Darlington 1883, the year the club was founded.

However, three promotions in four years later sees the Quakers in National League North, and Johnston believes the signs are good on and off the pitch following a dismal period, with a special ‘Legends’ game also planned.

“The club was relegated five divisions and we’re climbing our way back up now. We’re starting to put it together on and off the pitch,” he added.

“Awards like this are really important. £20,000 is a lot of money and we get the legends game on top of that – Marathonbet have been great in supporting that.

“The Legends game will be on July 29. We’ve got a lot of good players turning up, like Chris Waddle, so hopefully we get a big crowd on and get a big revenue for the club.

“It’s fantastic. The clubs that were represented [at the ceremony] is fantastic, a lot of clubs with a lot of history.

“It’s important that the non-league scene is recognised.”

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