Willington 2-2 Heaton Stannington
Saturday 4 April 2015
On a pleasant Easter Saturday, although fortunately on this one the crosses on show involved footballs rather than two pieces of wood, the Stan headed for Willington for the first Tyne-Wear match of the weekend. The in-form Stan went hoping to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches but knew it would be a competitive match given that Willington were not far behind them in the league table. The Stan should have wrapped this match up by half time and it is interesting that three of the four goals were scored (2 for Stan and 1 for Willington) when shooting up the slope.
The Stan, fielding an unchanged team, dominated the opening fifteen minutes and indeed most of the first half. In the sixth minute, Yates passed to Burns within the box but his shot was deflected for a corner. Three minutes later and, from another corner, the Willington keeper caught the ball. A minute later and another Stan attack saw Yates in the box back heal the ball to Hoggins who shot slightly wide when it was easier to score. Willington got their first corner in fourteen minutes which resulted in Rule making a great full stretch dive to deny the home side scoring from a header. In the sixteenth minute, there should have been a penalty for the Stan when Burns was brought down in the box but he got up immediately. The Stan attacks continued including chances by Telford, Hoggins and Deagle but no one could get the ball in the net. In the thirty first minute there was a Willington counter attack. Rule blocked the ball and Ray cleared it. This was followed by a Telford shot which was just wide and a Willington free kick which Deagle cleared. In the thirty eighth minute, there was another counter attack by the home side which resulted in a Stoddart back pass that Rule hit against a home forward but luckily the ball went out of play. The Stan’s failure to put away their many chances proved costly in the forty first minute when a solo run by Burnicle ended with him shooting into the left hand corner of the net to make it 1-0 to Willington. The Stan renewed the pressure on the home goal almost immediately when the keeper ran to the right side of his box to stop a Burns cross which went to Walton who hit the bar of the empty net. It was a good effort though given the quick response required. A minute later and there was another great chance when a Burns cross resulted in a glancing header by Yates that went just wide. There was yet another Stan attack before the whistle went for half time.
Willington started the second half on the offensive with a couple of attacks followed by three Stan moves which included Burns heading over. In the fifty second minute though an error of judgement by Rule led to him coming out of his box to block a shot by Burnicle but the Willington forward scored with the rebound to make it 2-0. Four minutes later and Willington hit the side netting. The Stan then put the pressure back on but just when it looked too late for the Stan to take anything from the match, Thompson and Walker showed their tactical genius by putting on forwards Rowntree and Watson. Stoddart and Burns both had chances before the Stan got a goal back in the seventy second minute. Watson passed to Rowntree in the box and although initially bloked by a defender, he got the ball again and finished well to make it 2-1. A minute later and a Deagle cross resulted in bailey shooting just over. There were then attacks at both ends before in the seventy eighth minute Telford shot at the keeper when he should have passed. Telford made up for this five minutes later when his cross into the box was put away by Watson who had come flying in. At 2-2 and with Willington only just hanging on, the Stan went all out for the winner. Rowntree, twisting and turning in the box, shot just wide a minute later. Three minutes later and he set up Burns who hit the keeper. In the eighty eighth minute, the home keeper made a great save from a Bailey effort. There was time for further efforts by Rowntree and Wear but the match ended 2-2.
Manager Derek Thompson, although disappointed that the players had not put away the numerous first half opportunities, stated that the squad showed character by fighting back from 2-0 down and that it was not because he had threatened to withhold their Easter eggs!
Stan Team: Rule; Stoddart; Deagle; Ray; Wear; Bailey; Telford; Walton; Yates (Watson); Hoggins (Rowntree); Burns. Subs Unused: Cairns; Carr.