Norton and Stockton Ancients 1-3 Heaton Stannington
Sat 19th November 2016
The Stan Army braved the freezing conditions for the trip to Norton and were rewarded with a fine 3 – 1 win although it was to be a sad day for Norton and not just because of the result. The win, which was the 9th from 14 away league games, was well deserved but hard fought as a spirited Norton pinned the Stan back for long periods in the final quarter. The Stan lined up in their Orange shirts with four changes from the previous defeat at Hebburn with James, Errington, Johnson and Walton replacing Dixon, Williams, Bailey and Blackett. Jack Errington was making his debut for the Stan after signing from Newcastle Benfield and the former Burnley centre half stepped straight into the side as Graham Williams was suspended.
The Stan kicked off on a heavy pitch and quickly forced a corner after a neat one two between Deagle and Walton. They stayed on the offensive and forced another 3 corners in the opening 10 minutes but other than Robinson having a shot saved at the near post they didn’t look like breaking the deadlock. An overhit cross from Johnson on 13 minutes almost gave the Stan a fortunate lead but it bounced off the far post with the keeper beaten. This seemed to stir the home side and after Browne headed wide when well placed, Caley had the ball in the net but was rightly flagged for offside. Norton continued to press with Mitchell shooting wide and they won 3 corners of their own but the Stan always looked dangerous on the break and Johnson lifted the ball over the advancing keeper on 37 but his effort drifted wide. The half ended with Deagle robbing Marley 25 yards out but his shot was high and wide.
Heaton were first to threaten in the 2nd half with Robinson breaking clear but shooting wide from a tight angle, and their 5th corner of the game was eventually scrambled clear. The pressure paid off in the 50th minute when Imray sent Robinson away down the left and although Dan was only 10 yards inside the Norton half with two defenders in front of him he quickly burst clear and sidefooted past the keeper and in off the far post. Norton responded with a great ball across the 6 yard box but no one was there to turn it in and the Stan punished them on 58 minutes when Robinson turned provider. After breaking free down the right he picked out Walton unmarked in the box and Sam had a touch before shooting past the keeper to make it 2 – 0. The hosts bounced straight back from the kick off as Young broke down the right and his cross was headed home by Browne. The Stan replaced Johnson with McCabe and were indebted to Smith for a great block as Norton looked for an equaliser. Walton had a good chance for the Stan on 70 minutes after being set up again by Robinson who was then booked for a rash challenge on the keeper. The Norton bench were so incensed with the challenge that their Assistant Manager was sent off after continually abusing the Referee. Yates came on for James as Norton pinned the Stan back but other than a shot over the top and another good ball across the 6 yard line they created little. It was the Stan who were to finish the scoring on 93 minutes when Robinson again got free down the right and although the keeper made a fine block Dan was on hand to bury the rebound for his 13th goal of the season.
The Stan had defended solidly with Errington looking comfortable att he back but it was Dan Robinson, who’s pace was a constant threat, who warmed the cockles of the Stan Army with two good finishes and an assist. Norton’s excellent catering team warmed everything else up with Jacket Potatoes and chilli con carne. Unfortunately, due mainly to financial reasons, Norton resigned from the league 2 days later and this was therefore their last match.
Team (4-4-2): Smith, Stoddart, James (Yates 73), Wear (C), Errington, Fulcher, Johnson (McCabe 65), Imray, Robinson, Walton, Deagle.