Hebburn Town 1-0 Heaton Stannington
Saturday 5 November 2016
The Stan made the short trip across the Tyne for an intriguing clash with the 2nd division’s form team. The Stan were looking to improve on their impressive 8 away wins from 12 league games but knew it would be tough against a side with 6 straight league wins behind them. Manager Derek Thompson made 2 changes from the rout over Ryton with Wear and Fulcher replacing McCabe and Johnson. Walton returned to bench but there was no place for the suspended Leighton. The hosts were without regular scorer Channon North but included on the bench former Mansfield and Rochdale midfielder Adam Rundle who signed from West Auckland. Hebburn, looking to avenge one goal defeats in the last two corresponding fixtures, kicked off in the rain on a decent looking pitch that was sure to cut up. Both sides took a while to get to grips with the wet conditions with Hebburn’s Blackburn caught offside 3 times before Feasey shot wide for the hosts from 20 yards. On 12 minutes the Stan forced a corner and after the keeper fumbled, Blackett had a shot blocked on the line. They then went even closer to breaking the deadlock when Wear released Deagle down the left and his superb strike crashed against the inside of the post and into the arms of the keeper. The Stan’s good spell of pressure continued and on 20 minutes Robinson robbed the keeper but his shot from a tight angle was easily cleared off the line, Hebburn responded with a Free Kick from 25 yards which Smith fumbled but retrieved on the goal line. As the half progressed the hosts got the upper hand but Wiliams and Wear stood firm at the centre of the Stan defence with Smith claiming everything crossed into the box and making a fine block with his right foot as the half came to a close.
Hebburn were the quickest to settle as the 2nd half started with the rain getting heavier and Davidson had a great chance to break the deadlock on 47 minutes when he was through 1 on 1 with Smith but shot tamely wide. The Stan responded with Deagle having an effort saved and then Robinson breaking free but the keeper was out smartly to block. Smith then produced the save of the game to deny Blackburn on 57 minutes as the game started to open up and Robinson’s pace got him in down the right at the other end but there was no one on the end of his ball across the 6 yard box. As the pitch got heavier Hebburn utilised all 3 subs and Walton replaced Bailey for the Stan. On 83 minutes Robinson and Imray combined well down the right but the cross was blocked as Stan bodies arrived in the box. Just as it looked as the though the spoils would be shared, Hebburn took the lead on 87 minutes after Walton lost out in midfield and Hargrave spun Wear to shoot past Smith who got a strong hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out. Heaton looked to force an equaliser and from a corner in stoppage time the keeper seemed to catch Blackett with an elbow but nothing was given and Hebburn scrambled the ball to safety.
It had been smiles all round at Hebburn last season when makeshift forward Peter Scott had lobbed a 93rd minute winner but the disappointment for all connected with the Stan was hard to take as a hard earned point slipped away in the mud and rain. The Stan might not have done enough to win the game but they certainly didn’t deserve to lose it, a fact not overlooked by the sporting Hebburn fans who agreed a draw would have been a fair result. The Stan back 5 had been solid throughout and were ably supported by the hardworking midfield but the front two got little change out of a well organised Hebburn. Dean Deagle, who’s had his share of injuries recently, stood out for the Stan and came oh so close to breaking the deadlock with a fine left footed strike.
Smith; Stoddart; Dixon; Wear; Williams; Fulcher; Imray; Bailey (Walton); Robinson; Blackett; Deagle. Unused subs: McCabe; Jones; Johnson; Yates.