Heaton Stannington 1-3 Crook Town
Saturday 22 October 2016
After another fine away win at Blyth Town in the Ernest Armstrong Cup on Wednesday, hopes were high that the Stan would continue their impressive run at home to struggling Crook Town. But on a day when nothing went right for the Stan they turned in their worst performance of the season and were comfortably beaten 1-3. After giving young squad players a chance at Blyth, manager Derek Thompson relied on a more experienced line up with James, Imray, Walton and Robinson returning. The visitors included ex-Bishop Auckland pair Wood and Grant and handed a debut to ex-Ryhope youngster Mann.
It was the Stan who got the game under way but the visitors who settled first. Although Robinson’s pace occasionally worried the Crook back four, most of the play was in the Stan’s half in the opening quarter and the visitors should have been awarded a penalty on 15 minutes after a blatant foul. Both Leighton and Stoddart were cautioned, Ali’s being a case of mistaken identity after referee Cairns played an advantage and forgot it was Williams who had committed the foul. The Stan thought they had taken the lead on 34 minutes when Sam Walton looked to have forced the ball over the line but the goal was not given and they deservedly fell behind 5 minutes later when Leighton tripped Reaks in the box and Megran sent Smith the wrong way from the spot. Smith kept the Stan in it with a couple of great saves and at least they went in at half time only one goal down.
Paul Blackettt replaced Lee Johnson at the break but any comeback was hindered on 51 minutes when Leighton was shown a second yellow for another foul and from the resulting free kick Dan Smith was allowed the freedom of NE7 to fire past Matt Smith for 0-2. It should have got worse for the Stan on 55 minutes when Williams fouled the impressive Reaks in the box but this time Mattie guessed right and made a fine save from Megran’s penalty. The Stan took a lift from this and were awarded a penalty of their own when Paul Blackett was brought down by Madison and he blasted home the penalty on 61 minutes. Despite both Robinson and Blackett having good efforts deflected for corners and Imray heading over it was the visitors who continued to impress and after being denied another penalty, Reaks sealed the win with a close range finish after being set up by Mann in the 87th minute. There was still enough time left for Williams and Robinson to pick up yellow cards as did Crook’s Wood as the game threatened to boil over in stoppage time.
All in all it was a game to forget for the Stan who dropped down to 9th in the table with only Matt Smith performing anywhere near the standard that the Stan have set so far this season and an improvement will be expected at Alnwick in the Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Team: Smith, Stoddart (Y), James, Williams, Leighton (Y&Y), Bailey (C), Johnson (Blackett 45), Imray, Robinson, Walton (Y) (Yates 59), Dixon (Deagle 64(Y)). Subs (unused): McCabe, Jones