Injury ravaged Albion travelled to Stokesley without a recognized striker giving Paul Dobie a selection headache up front. With an ill Andy Upperton & a late withdrawal by Ryan Burnyeat, new signing Sean Wilkinson was given a late call to get to Broughton Road as soon as possible. As it was, Callum Turnbull was chosen to spearhead the improvised attack in what was to prove a masterstroke.
The game began quietly with goalmouth action at a premium, though on 6 minutes, Stokesley’s Gerard Richardson ambitiously launched himself in the hope of making head contact with the ball from a corner, but his efforts were in vain, though from the clearance, Ramin Leylabi sweetly struck a shot towards the Ryton goal from distance, & while it was accurate, it lacked the pace to trouble visiting keeper Conor Gillespie who comfortably plucked the ball from the air. The nearest thing Albion came to a chance was on 10 minutes when Adam Chrostowski jumped to head a Craig Barker corner, but he only made the slightest of contact & the ball glanced away to safety. Seven minutes later, Turnbull headed much closer from a Leigh Shickle cross but Daniel Bowman in the Stokesley goal was able to watch the ball run wide of his post.
At the other end, in the 18th minute, James Dowson found himself in acres of space when receiving a cross from his left, but he blazed his shot high over Gillespie’s bar & the game remained goalless. At least it did for another two minutes until TURNBULL made it 1-0 meeting a good cross from Phil Robinson with a volley that Bowman was unable to stop & Albion had their noses in front in this tight encounter.
There was no immediate response from the hosts, though Richardson might have done better in the 24th minute when he found himself with the ball on the edge of the Ryton box, but seemed to be in two minds what to do, & by the time he chose to try & shoot, he’d been crowded out by three defenders. He did get in a speculative shot nine minutes later, but it too was over the bar. Phil Robinson had to withdraw from the game on 34 minutes with what looked like a hamstring problem, Will Forsyth replacing him & the half petered out without incident leaving the score at the interval-
HT STOKESLEY 0 RACA 1
More hamstring problems for Albion at the break with Craig Barker taken off as a precaution to be replaced by the returning Jack Stoddart. The visitors started the second half the brighter, Forsyth forcing a decent save from Bowman from a free kick, before another killer blow for the hosts when TURNBULL got his second goal on 50 minutes. This time he rifled in a shot from a tightish angle that clipped the inside of the post & past the despairing Bowman to make it 2-0.
Stokesley stepped up after this but the Albion defence were coping well with what was being thrown at them, the home side not really looking dangerous despite having large swathes of possession. Wilf Dinsdale wasn’t too far wide with a decent shot from distance on 68 minutes, but the game livened up a minute later when from a Stokesley corner, David Edwards managed to get a vital touch & diverted the ball past Gillespie to set up a potential nervy last quarter of the game for Albion bearing in mind their propensity to throw away two goal leads this season. As it happens, Stokesley weren’t able to capitalize on their goal & it was Ryton who probably carved out the better clear cut chances toward the end of the game, Josh Holland just knocking the ball over from close range following a good move from Albion on 78 minutes. The game ended with one good chance apiece in the dying embers.
Firstly Stokesley sub Dean Wilson fired in a really good effort on 89 minutes which Gillespie did well to save, but crucially Adam Chrostowski’s timely intervention just took enough venom out of Wilson’s shot to make it a more comfortable stop than it would have been. Then in the last seconds of the match, Forsyth had a good chance to test Bowman, but disappointingly skied his effort well over the top. No matter, Albion hung on for a first away win since mid October & break the 50 point barrier, while Stokesley, no doubt disappointed not to have picked up something for their endeavours, should have enough points in the bag, not be dragged into the relegation fight.
FT STOKESLEY 1 RACA 2
STOKESLEY – Bowman, Sharples, Dunford, Jones, Kamara, Leylabi, Edwards, Dowson, Richardson, Dinsdale, Campbell. Subs- Wilson, Laverick, Crawley, Mullen
ALBION- Gillespie, McMeekin, Shickle, P Robinson (Forsyth 34), L Barker, Chrostowski, Holland, Backhouse, Turnbull, C Barker (Stoddart 45), Hodges. Sub not used- Wilkinson
REFEREE – Martin Conroy
ATTENDANCE – 33