Alnwick Town 0-4 Heaton Stannington
Tuesday 29 December 2015
The Stan saw out the year with a return to winning ways and also a clean sheet. As well as taking on each other, both teams also had the wind as opposition although overall the Stan dealt with it more effectively. There were 3 changes from the last match and only 2 fit players on the bench including physio Peter Ward. The match was preceded by a minute’s silence for Pavel Srnicek who had died earlier in the day.
The Stan played the first half with the wind against them although Alnwick failed to take advantage of this starting in the 3rd minute when a wind assisted shot from a corner landed on the roof of the net. In the 8th minute a Burns cross was caught by the home keeper which was followed by a Stan corner that was eventually cleared. The Stan’s best chance of the first half came in 13 minutes when Imray passed to Yates who, from the middle of the park, crossed to Burns running in on the left who should have scored but instead hit the side netting. 2 minutes later Smith, as with his previous performances, was on good form and caught an Alnwick attempt from a free kick. 2 minutes after that an Alnwick shot hit off a Stan defender and hit the bar. The Stan were defending well, especially through Stoddart, although a free kick in 18 minutes saw a home player head over. As the half went on, the wind was getting up and the fouls by the home side went unnoticed by the referee and it was the Stan’s Scott who was undeservedly booked after being fouled himself in 32 minutes. Alnwick saw a wind assisted effort go just wide although this was followed by 2 Stan attempts in 36 minutes that were both ruled offside. The wind continued to make play and possession difficult. The last move of the half saw Smith dive and get his hands to an Alnwick shot.
With the wind now behind them, the Stan put the pressure on the home defence from the start of the 2nd half. In the 51st minute, a Johnson shot from outside the box went just over the bar. In the 55th minute, a Stoddart run on the left saw him cross to Ray on the edge of the box. The ball was blocked and went back to Stoddart who then crossed to Johnson who, from just outside the box, blasted the ball through a number of players and into the net to make it 1-0 to the Stan. A minute later Johnson was brought down and his resulting free kick went just over. In 58 minutes, Hayton ran down the left wing and his cross come shot went, to his surprise, over the Alnwick keeper and into the net. The Stan’s confidence continued to increase and they kept attacking. There were rare Alnwick attacks in the 65th and 68th minutes. Stoddart was hacked down when clear on goal in the 70th minute. The resultant free kick from Dodsworth, although taken from nearer the half way than the Alnwick goal, sailed over everyone and was punched out by the keeper. The ball from the corner eventually went out to Scott on the edge of the box who blasted it into the roof of the net to make it 3-0 in 72 minutes. 5 minutes later and Hayton, running down the left, received the ball which he sent sideways to Stoddart who was running into the box and he calmly put the ball away to make it 4-0. 2 more Stan attacks both nearly beat the last man and, in 83 minutes after a good team build up, sub and physio Ward blasted his shot wide. 2 minutes later Johnson passed to Ward in the box who put his shot wide when he should have beat the keeper and scored. A minute later a Johnson free kick from 30 yards out was saved by the home keeper. The Stan searched for more goals but the match ended with a still good 4-0 win and a delighted management team now not worrying as much about facing Billingham Synthonia on Saturday with a Hogmanay hangover.
Stan Team: Smith; Wear; Stoddart; Ray; Scott, P; Imray; Bailey; Johnson, L; Yates (Ward); Hayton; Burns (Dodsworth). Sub unused: Watson.