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Johnson raises his sights
Steven Johnson's exuberant goal celebrations have become a feature of Darlington's flying start to the season and he described his match-winning moment in midweek as the clear highlight of his time with his hometown club.
The Darlington-born forward grabbed a late goal against South Shields, snatching a victory when the Mariners deserved at least a point.
"You can't expect to play well and win every week, sometimes you've got to grind results out," said Johnson, who tucked the ball home after capitalising on a weak header by Shields' defender Scott Donaldson.
"When I saw the ball come over the top, I went in front of the defender.
"Then I saw the keeper come out so the first touch took it through his legs and then I put it in the net. After that it was history and I lost it again - as usual!
"Even if it had been the fifth goal in a 5-0 win I'd be the same.
"It's about having composure in the box, especially late on when you have to score. It's in your head.
"You know what's coming and you know you have to score, it's just a case of doing the business and that's what I'm here for."
On Wednesday Johnson was a substitute, which has been his usual role during most of Quakers' 14 games.
He has been behind Amar Purewal, David Dowson and Stephen Thompson and Shaun Reay in the pecking order.
Johnson said: "I've not been moaning about not starting because we've been winning games and scoring goals. How many goals have we scored now?
"As long as we're winning then I'm happy. We're winning and scoring so I'm just happy to be part of it and getting goals like the one on Wednesday is brilliant. That was definitely the best moment so far.
"I don't say much to the manager when I'm on the bench. I'm just staring at the back of his head trying put ideas in his mind so that he'll put me on!
"I was over the moon when he said 'Stevie get your pads on', even though I am carrying a bit of a hamstring injury.
"I've had it for three or four weeks, but I get a bit of treatment before a game.
"It's the next day after the match when it's stiff, so it's a case of putting a bit of ice on it before we go again on Saturday.
"But we need bodies at the minute. Dows and Arjun Purewal have been injured so we've been short.
"I might have a bit of time off when we get players back, but until then I'll still be sniffing about."
Dowson has recovered from a groin problem and returns to the squad for today's home game against Ashington.
Manager Martin Gray must also decide who to select in midfield as Craig Gott begins a three-match suspension, having received a red card in his final match for Billingham Synthonia last month.
Adam Clough is expected to get the nod.
With second-place Spennymoor in FA Vase action today, Darlington have an opportunity to create a 12-point gap at the top of the Northern League.
Moors have no game in midweek, while Quakers travel to Celtic Nation on Tuesday.
But eighth-placed Ashington should prove tough. They became the first team to score past Spennymoor, who only narrowly defeated the Colliers.
Moors have loaned Glen Taylor to Ashington to make his debut today, but former Darlington winger Josh Gray, midfielder Jonny Godsmark and Phil Bell are all injured.
Ashington assistant manager Anthony Woodhouse said: "No doubt Darlo have a huge following and have had a fantastic start to the season, but they are beatable, as Guisborough have shown, and if we play the way we can and have, then it should be a great spectacle for both sets of fans.
"We are hopeful of strengthening our squad pre-match - our strength is going forward and Darlo concede so it should be a great game."
Ashington include centre-back Matthew Grieve who had a short spell with Darlington this season, playing in two games in September.