Heaton Stannington 0-3 Team Northumbria
Saturday 3 September 2016
The Stan’s first home league match of the season saw a top of the table clash with local rivals and league leaders North. There were 3 changes from Monday’s team including a first start for former player Paul Blackett. Both teams started positively with Blackett shooting at North keeper Mundy after 4 minutes. The visitor’s 3rd attack saw a player break free but he shot wide under pressure. In the 12th minute though a ball in from the right, into a crowded box, was flicked into the net by Kevin Carr. From the restart Dixon broke free for the Stan but Mundy blocked him. In the 17th minute, a long ball from Dixon for Robinson saw Mundy get to it first. Blackett then shot wide before Smith had to make 2 catches at the other end. In the 26th minute, Bailey shot from a tight angle across goal but his effort went just wide followed by a corner which resulted in Mundy catching a Blackett effort. Soon after, Blackett had a speculative long shot which went wide, followed by 2 other Stan attacks. In the 33rd minute though Ryan Redford left Antony in the centre circle and ran down the middle. He passed the ball out to the right with it being quickly passed back into the box for the incoming Dan Taggart to slot past Smith. There had been nothing much between the 2 teams, even when it was 1-0, but the 2nd goal now looked 1 too many for the Stan to overcome. They continued to pressurise but most of their attacks broke down. At the other end, Smith made a great save from a long shot in 39 minutes followed quickly by another save and then a catch. 3 minutes before half time Bailey passed to the incoming Blackett who was blocked by Mundy. Robinson got a rebound shot but he was unlucky to see it also blocked. The Stan defence were again under pressure and Smith had to make 2 catches.
With the midfield battle being lost as the first half went on, Stan manager Derek Thompson decided to boldly use all has subs by replacing 3 midfielders at half time. It appeared to be working as the Stan began to regain control of the game. They shot wide from a free kick in 51 minutes and McCabe sent a good long ball to Jones but he was unable to get his shot in. There was then a good ball in by North but they shot wide and did the same 3 minutes later. The Stan were getting much of the possession and there was a rare North attack in 62 minutes which Smith caught. The Stan pressure, including good work by Dixon, was resulting in few shots although Johnson was unlucky in 67 minutes when Mundy got to his sliding effort. 4 minutes later and there was again frustration when there was no one in the box to meet a good cross from Robinson after a great run. The Stan continued to keep North mainly in their own half but the attacks were coming to nothing. Against the run of play, in 79 minutes, a North shot hit the Stan post. North sensed victory and one of their players was booked for time wasting. In 84 minutes, Blackett ran into the box but Mundy got a hand to his shot. The resulting corner saw Blackett blocked before he could shoot. The visitors then forced 2 saves from Smith. The Stan continued to push forward, although Dixon looked drained, and Jones tried a solo effort in the 91st minute. North then counter attacked against a tired defence and Taggart shot passed Smith to get his side an undeserved 3rd goal. Ironically all 3 goals were scored by former Stan players. The Stan put up a good fight and had most of the possession in the 2nd half but without taking advantage of it and were therefore unable to beat their bogie team who were more clinical and fitter. One fan compared them to efficient German engineering so let’s hope that taking on the Darlo railway men on Tuesday night is not as much of a challenge.
Stan Team: Smith; McCabe; Stoddart; Scott; Williams; Antony (Fulcher); Bailey (Johnson); Imray (Jones); Robinson; Blackett; Dixon. Unused subs: Yates; Walker.