Heaton Stannington 3-2 South Shields
Wednesday 30 March 2016
Just like the recent Blyth match, this match against the league leaders had been eagerly anticipated for a long time. On a cold and dry evening, 426 fans turned up to watch what turned out to be the match of the season at Grounsell Park There were 3 changes from Saturday’s line up and the match was refereed by Derek Thompson, no relation to the Stan manager or the mayor of London. South Shields’ expensively assembled squad included ex Sunderland Juilo Arca.
The visitors kicked off and created the first real chance after 5 minutes when good work by Coleman down the right saw him pull the ball back to Briggs who shot just wide. In 8 minutes there was great delivery by Phillipson, and poor defending by Shields, as his free kick was buried by a Ben Telford header which put the Stan 1-0 up. 4 minutes later the visitors went up the pitch and Smith’s cross come shot beat everyone and just cleared the bar. In 15 minutes there was more good pressure by Shields which resulted in Scroggin’s volley from the edge of the box just clearing the bar. 2 minutes later a visiting player was brought down in a dangerous position just outside the D. Up steps Julio Arca who’s free kick bounces awkwardly in front of Smith who fumbles and Coleman makes no mistake, gobbling up the rebound to put the visitors deservedly level. In the 20th minute there was another excellent attack by Shields as Foley breached the Stan defence and pulled the ball back for Scroggins but he could not get on the end of it. The Stan were not doing much attacking but when they did, they looked dangerous as in the 30th minute when Bailey shot just wide and 8 minutes later when Phillipson’s free kick went over the bar. 5 minutes before half time the Stan’s lead was restored when, after a great build up, Ryan Bailey slipped the ball effortlessly past Richardson. Half time and a breath- taking first half saw Shields with much of the possession but the Stan looked dangerous every time they attacked.
The Stan kicked off the second half but the visitors attacked first when Briggs sent a great ball to the back post for Foley to volley just wide. In the 52nd minute the second of 2 corners resulted in the visitors’ Riding heading just over. 4 minutes later and another dangerous attack from the Stan on the break resulted in Scott’s header seemingly crossing the line but a great piece of defending by Riding and the ref says no goal. In the 60th minute a corner for Shields resulted in Coleman smashing the ball in but the referee ruled an infringement in the box. After substitutions on either side, including the departure of Arca, there was a good chance for the Stan in the 78th minute but Grieveson was closed down well. Shields immediately counter attacked and Briggs volleyed just wide. In the 84th minute a tremendous run from Bailey down the left led to him making a perfect cross to Steven McCabe who volleyed home to put the Stan Army in Heaven and the team 3-1 up. This prompted a mass exodus from the visiting fans just when their team needed them. Shields pulled a goal back with 3 minutes to go when a corner was head in by Riding. The last few minutes saw almost relentless pressure from Shields as they tried to get an equaliser but the Stan defence held strong. Although the atmosphere was already electric, Grounsell Park was rocking when the final whistle was blown and remained so until closing time. Despite having a depleted team and players playing out of position, the Stan showed great heart and determination to record this famous victory and ensure that there would be no dancing on the beaches of South Shields tonight.
Stan Team: Smith; Imray; Philipson; Stoddart; Scott; Fulcher; Telford (McCabe); Bailey; Hayton; Grieveson; Burns. Unused subs: Jones; Dixon; Ray. Yellow card: Imray/Hayton.