Heaton Stannington 3-1 Alnwick Town
Monday 31 August 2015
Despite the early 11am kick off and heavy rain, this bank holiday Monday fixture was well attended. There were 6 changes from Saturday as the Stan aimed to extend their unbeaten run which stretches back to January. The Stan started on the attack and in 3 minutes Wright was fouled as he rushed down the right wing. The second of two corners in the 3rd minute saw a poor clearance out to Deagle on the edge of the box and his curled left shot hit the bar. Alnwick then had their first 2 attacks. Hayton then blasted a Dodsworth corner over at the other end. This was followed by a poor clearance by the Alnwick keeper in the 8th minute and Wright then got the ball and headed back to goal but was brought down by the keeper Brooks coming out towards him. The keeper was sent off and Wright made no mistake blasting the penalty into the right hand corner to make it 1-0. There were then attacks at either end, although slightly more from the Stan with Wright especially keen to get another goal. In the 28th minute, a ball through to Hayton saw him nudged by a defender and he shot just wide from the resulting free kick. Three minutes later and a visiting forward had a great run beating everyone and ending up 1 on 1 with Rule but instead of chipping him tried to go round and put the ball out. The Stan were slightly on top but Alnwick were battling. In the 43rd minute, an Alnwick free kick was cleared in front of the Stan goal by Bailey. The resulting Stan counter attack saw Hayton fouled and Deagle’s long free kick was dropped by the keeper who caught it again. The last attack of the half saw Wright shoot wide from a corner.
Watson replaced the injured Bailey at half time and Alnwick introduced their third keeper of the match. It was also the third Stan league match in a row where a keeper had been sent off. The half started with the Stan heading a corner wide. In the 50th minute a Watson corner was missed by everyone and the keeper just got to it but dropped it then cleared it. Great tackling by Scott then stopped an Alnwick attack followed by Watson shooting just wide through a crowded box. A Wright run led to a wasted corner but then the Alnwick defence had to head the ball out of the box twice. Ray then trapped the ball to stop the counter attack followed by a good shot by Watson being blocked. It was mainly all Stan pressure but often through the use of ineffective long balls. Poor refereeing decisions also did not help. In the 55th minute, Hayton sent a ball across the box to Wright who was blocked by the keeper for a corner which was then headed over. Four minutes later and Rule caught a rare Alnwick shot. The Stan then attacked again but when Wright was pushed in the box nothing was givenIn the 62nd minute, Quine sent a ball in from the left and Johnson, who was running in on the right, stretched up and out to get it and was unlucky to see his effort go just over. The Stan’s failure to put away their opportunities was punished in the 67th minute when Alnwick equalised. A ball went into the box from the left which Rule saved but Miller scored from the rebound. Alnwick then had 2 more attacks with a Wright run into their box blocked in between. Deagle and Hayton then had shots before the visitors shot over in the 75th minute. As with the match at Billingham, the Stan were finding playing against 10 men difficult but this changed when Watson had the Stan’s best move of the half in the 78th minute. He ran in and held off defenders to blast the ball from the right hand edge of the box to make it 2-1. Three minutes later and Wear headed over from a corner. The Stan were now looking more confident although Alnwick did have 2 more attacks. In the last minute, the Stan win was assured when Wright ran in down the middle and chipped over the keeper to make it 3-1. Wright kept attacking until the final whistle went for a 3-1 Stan victory.
Stan Team: Rule; Scott; Deagle; Ray; Wear; Bailey (Watson); Dodsworth; Johnson, L; Wright; Hayton; Quine. Subs unused: Burns; Rowntree; Laws; Axon.