Northallerton Town 0 – 1 Heaton Stannington
Wednesday 24 August 2016
With the Stan’s 1st 7 league games being away from home, you would have thought that the Stan Army might be depleted on a midweek trip to Yorkshire-wrong! A magnificent following of 20 travelling fans witnessed a battling, committed performance that saw them rewarded with a fine 1 0 win. The performance was built on hard work with spirited displays all over the field and with the back 5 immense, especially Scott and Leighton. There were 3 changes from Saturday’s win at Bedlington and it was especially pleasing to see George Philipson back so quickly after his injury at Billingham. With the pitch looking in excellent nick, it was Northallerton who soon forced the first corner of the game which Smith claimed confidently. The Stan had to wait until the 11th minute for their 1st corner which the home keeper fumbled but no one was on hand to capitalise and 2 minutes later another Anthony corner found Leighton whose free header went over the top. The first chant of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ from the home fans was heard in the 17th minute as Town forced a corner and our own Yorkshire keeper didn’t let them down by punching clear. The game had settled down into a scrappy affair with both defences on top although a good run by Robinson on 29 minutes resulted in a shot straight at the keeper. Northallerton forced there 3rd and 4th corners which Smith and Leighton dealt with. The half ended with a superb ball releasing Phillipson on the left but the full back’s finish was straight at the keeper.
The 2nd half continued in much the same fashion as the 1st with each side cancelling the other out although Atkinson missed a good chance for the home side on 48 minutes when he shot inches wide and Bailey got on the end of a Robinson cross at the other end but his volley lacked power and direction. Bailey and Dixon were both cautioned for kicking the ball away as was Antony for a 2 footed tackle, and they were joined by Owen for dissent for Town as the game was in desperate need of an injection of class. This came on 66 minutes when Dan Robinson raced onto a through ball and held off a defender before shooting across the keeper Guthrie and in off the far post for his 4th goal in 3 games. Town responded with a chip over the bar from Whensley but it was the Stan who came closest to scoring again after a corner wasn’t cleared with the ball falling to Robinson who volleyed over, and again when Sub Jones had a 2 on 1 break but shot narrowly wide. The Stan continued to frustrate the home side, who had now thrown centre half Dan Jones upfront leaving gaps at the back which Shane Jones twice couldn’t take advantage of after Phillipson’s passes when he was 1 on 1 were over hit. The Stan’s spirit was epitomised on 89 minutes when Bailey blocked a fine effort from Owen with his chest and Town’s frustration grew on 93 minutes when a free kick was awarded for a foul on Smith who was taken out by his own defender, Peter Scott. The whistle blew on 95 minutes and it was a cracking win for the Stan who had stood firm throughout. The drama wasn’t quite over as Town’s skipper Owen, who had continued to abuse the Ref and young linesman for the last 5 minutes, was finally sent off after the final whistle. The win lifts the Stan up to 12th in the League and extends the unbeaten run to 3 games. The Stan Army celebrated in the smart clubhouse although ex-assistant manager Geoff Walker had a slight turn due to the price of cider.
Stan Team: Smith; McCabe; Philipson; Leighton; Scott; Anthony (Y); Bailey (Y); Imray; Robinson; Walton (Jones); Dixon (Y). Unused subs: Walker; Johnson; Bynoe; Yates.