Whickham 0-2 Heaton Stannington
Saturday 1 October 2016
The Stan got back to winning ways with a dominant display at highflying Whickham with 2 fine finishes from Dan Robinson giving the Stan their first win at the Glebe since returning to the northern league. Although the game lacked quality, the Stan were always on top with the returning Fulcher outstanding and he was ably supported by the rest who put in a solid shift. After the disappointing showing at Stockton in midweek, manager Derek Thompson made 4 changes and he reverted back to 4-4-2. The hosts, who sat in 2nd place before kick-off, got the game under way in blustery conditions and quickly settled into a pattern of launching as many high balls towards the Stan goal as possible. Smith’s handling was impressive throughout and he was ably supported by his back four as the Stan easily dealt with the aerial bombardment. At the other end chances were hard to come by and although Robinson’s pace was always a worry for the Whickham defence, the Stan comfortably matched Whickham in creating absolutely nothing in the first 44 minutes. Whickham suffered a blow as half time approached when top scorer Mole, who had angered the Stan Army by going to ground a little too easy, turned his ankle and had to be replaced. It was during added on time for his injury that the ball finally met the grass and Stoddart, after winning a tackle, fed Blackett who in turn released Robinson who raced clear to finish past Posslethwaite. So after a dire 1st half where the ball had been kicked black and blue, the Stan led thanks to one single piece of quality.
The Stan started the 2nd half on the front foot and, after Robinson had been tripped, Williams almost got on the end of McCabe’s free kick at the back post. Brown was cautioned for bringing down Blackett, who had easily outpaced him again, and from this free kick young Paul shot wide. Whickham finally got going and after a scramble in the Stan 6 yard box, Brown headed over from a corner and Broadhead shot wide but it was the Stan who were on top and it was no surprise that Robinson made it 2 – 0 on 70 minutes. James started the move with a ball from right back which Blackett flicked on for Robinson to chase. There seemed far too much for him to do as he collected just inside the bye-line but from the tightest of angles he slid a superb finish past the keeper and into the far corner for his 9th goal of the season. Robinson fancied a hat-trick and fired wide on 73 minutes, drove a free kick wide on 81 minutes and then headed wide when well-placed 2 minutes later. A great run from Johnson, who had replaced Walton, created another chance which was hacked clear for a corner and in stoppage time Robinson robbed the keeper and set up Blackett for what would have been a well-deserved goal but he blazed over the top of the open goal. It had not been pretty, games at Whickham never are, but the Stan were good value for the points that moved them back into the top 6. Now just for that elusive home win!
Stan Team: Smith; Stoddart; James; Williams; Wear; Fulcher; Imray; McCabe; Robinson; Blackett; Walton (Johnson). Subs unused: Yates; Walker.