Heaton Stannington 1-0 Alnwick Town
Saturday 26 December 2016
On a cold and windy, but sunny boxing day morning a crowd of 135 turned out to see the Stan end 2016 with a home win. There were few Xmas jumpers on show but lots of new club hats as the Stan fielded an unchanged side from the one that thumped Darlington RA 8-0 last Saturday.
The Stan started on the offensive with the best early effort coming after 6 minutes when a ball over to Holland on the right saw him shimmy into the box and pass to Yates whose header was caught by McMahon in the Alnwick goal. The 1st Alnwick attack did not come until the 12th minute when it was deflected for a corner. The Stan continued to attack and in the 21st minute a header from a throw in was caught by McMahon. Holland was looking dangerous on the wing and was just beaten to the ball by McMahon 4 minutes later when running in. In 27 minutes, a long free kick into the visitor’s box was passed towards Yates who slid in but could not direct his effort into the net. There was then a great diagonal ball up and across the pitch to the advancing Holland whose cross come shot went just wide. Up until now it had mainly been the Stan in terms of both pressure and possession but there was no end product so far. This changed in the 32nd minutes after birthday boy Dean Deagle had won the ball leading to efforts by Yates and Jones being blocked but resulting in a corner. The corner ball was headed by Wear and deflected out for another corner. The next corner was initially cleared but knocked back in by Wear and headed into the net by legend Gary Yates. 2 minutes later and a ball from a Stan corner went along the goal line but then went out. 3 minutes after that and a good knock down by Yates saw Jones shoot over. Alnwick’s number 8 then broke through on the left and, on the edge of the 6-yard box, shot just wide when he should have equalised. The half ended more quietly although the Stan should have gone into the interval more than 1-0 up.
After the restart, and assisted by the wind which had died down compared to the 1st half, Alnwick had all the early chances including shooting just wide in 50 minutes. They then shot wide again and shot over twice. In the 57th minute, with good input by Holland, the Stan began to click again when they got there 1st clear attack of the half which involved 4 clearances by Alnwick. Smith cleared in the 60th minute before a Jones free kick went wide. Alnwick had their best chance of the half after 63 minutes when one of their players went running forward with the ball unmarked but was caught by Wear after Joe had got to the ball 1st. The resulting free kick was chipped over the bar. At the other end, a Deagle free kick was headed over by Wear. In the 71st minute, a good shot by Alnwick went just wide. The final part of the match was relatively even with both teams trying to score and the Stan battling against the wind. In 75 minutes, a great counter attack by Jones saw him fouled but nothing given. Alnwick then shot over and in 80 minutes they sent a ball across the home goal line that no one could connect with. 3 minutes to go and an Alnwick free kick was caught by Smith and soon after Wear cleared another effort. The visitors were seeking an equaliser but the Stan were defending and counter attacking well. From half way a solo run by Jones on the left saw him cut into the box and from the right, under pressure, he shot just wide. A run by Holland saw him pass to Johnson who ran into the box but his shot was blocked. The match ended after a Wear header was cleared and the Stan had won more comfortably than the score-line suggested. Next up on 7 January is the Coach Lane derby match with Team North where hopefully the Stan revival can continue.
Stan: Smith, Stoddart, James, Wear (Y), Errington, Fulcher, Holland, Imray, Yates (Johnson), Jones, Deagle (Dixon). Unused sub: Robinson.