Brandon United 0-2 Heaton Stannington
Saturday 15 October 2016
The Stan travelled south and uphill to picturesque but autumnal Welfare Park. There were 4 changes from Tuesday’s cup match as the Stan, although making heavy work of it, notched up their 3rd league win in a row. Brandon’s team featured ex-Stan player Dan Quine. The 1st 10 minutes was dominated by the Stan but without them getting as far as the home side’s penalty box due to some good defending. Imray did have a long shot easily caught by the keeper in the 8th minute and Brandon had a solitary shot a minute later which went wide. The Stan were not helped by the officials including when Robinson was flagged offside when he clearly was not. In the 11th minute a cross to the advancing Blackett saw him beat a defender and hit the post with his good effort. 4 minutes later there was a lovely ball from Stoddart across the pitch to Blackett who did a 1-2 with Walton but then shot wide across the goal.
The Stan continued to put the pressure on Brandon and in 21 minutes a ball into the crowded box was headed wide then cleared followed by a home counter attack being cleared. The Stan kept attacking and it paid off in the 29th minute when a Lee Johnson corner was headed in by Paul Blackett. 2 minutes later Smith had to make a great full length save after the defence had failed to clear. A minute later, Robinson ran into the box but could not get a clean touch. Soon after he made a good run and cross to Blackett but his good effort was blocked by a defender and the 2nd attack was put out for a corner. 2 minutes later Walton shot wide and this was followed by a couple of minutes of Brandon pressure when they nearly scored. This included an attack which saw Smith’s save go off the bar followed by 2 rebound shots with one hitting the post and the other hitting and coming down off the bar. The half-finished with Fulcher and Smith clearing a home attack followed by a Stan counter that saw Robinson cross into the box but Blackett could not get on the end of it. The Stan were 1-0 up but should have had the match comfortably won by half time.
Brandon had the first proper chance of the 2nd half when an attack was cleared and the follow-up shot went well high. 4 minutes later, a home player side shot just wide. Soon after Smith made a catch at the 2nd attempt. In 55 minutes, a Stan ball into the box was easily caught by the keeper as the team continued to try to get the ball to Robinson. In 57 minutes, Johnson shot just wide and a minute later he was in on goal again but his shot was blocked. Brandon were getting more physical although there were few opportunities at either end except a Smith catch after 61 minutes and 2 Blackett attacks being blocked. In the 70th minute, a Brandon free kick went just wide and 2 minutes later Walton shot just over. In 75 minutes, a home player headed clear for a corner and then attacks by Bailey, Robinson and Johnson were all blocked. It was mainly all Stan now but Brandon were trying to counter when they had the opportunity. The last 10 minutes saw both teams trying to attack without much to show for it until the last 2 minutes when Brandon started to push for an equaliser. As the match entered injury time, Blackett ran and shot with 2 defenders on him but the keeper caught his effort. A Brandon corner was then headed wide and a 2nd was blocked. Johnson then counter attacked and was brought down with Blackett firing the resulting free kick straight at the keeper. It was a long last few minutes for the Stan as they tried to hold onto their slender lead but in the 95th minute they could relax a bit when they got a long awaited 2nd goal. After a clearance, Johnson sent a long ball up in front of the sprinting Paul Blackett. The ball bounced between him and the keeper with Paul connecting with it and the keeper missing it and he kept running to score into an empty goal. All’s well that ends well and the Stan now look forward to a cup tie at Blyth Town on Wednesday night.
Stan Team: Smith; Stoddart; James; Leighton; Williams; Fulcher (Bailey); Imray; Walton; (Jones); Robinson; Blackett; Johnson Unused sub: Dixon.