Cullercoats Reserves 1-0 Heaton Stan A – Match Report

Cullercoats Reserves 1-0 Heaton Stannington A

Northern Alliance Neville Cowey Cup Group One

Saturday 24 April 2021

Their penultimate fixture in the group stage saw the Stan travel to the seaside with a record of 4 wins from 4.  There were 3 changes from Wednesday’s comeback with Harris, Jones and Bruce replacing Dunne, Walker and Da Costa. There was a lot at stake as the Stan could qualify for the semis today with a draw while Cullercoats had to win to definitely have at least a slight chance of doing so.

The Stan immediately put pressure on the home defence who dealt with it well. Although a competitive game, it was the Stan who again had a chance when the home keeper had to save a Westphal effort after some a good build up by Bruce and Harper. A great through ball by Jones to Doyle saw him put pressure on the home defence but in 22 minutes Ripken had to make 2 good saves at the other end. In 29 minutes, a corner by Westphal saw Harris’s headed effort saved by the home keeper. The Stan had started well but the home side were better in the last 20 minutes of the 1st half and as a result a draw was probably a fair score at half time.

Both teams started the 2nd half knowing the match was winnable, but it was the Stan’s Riley who shot just wide in 47 minutes. 5 minutes later and Harris made a good clearance under pressure. In 58 minutes, Harper broke free but the keeper was out of his box to clear. A Munir ball to Bruce saw his gliding header under pressure go just wide then the home keeper had to punch clear. In 65 minutes, Cullercoats had their best chance so far when a defensive error saw them shoot just wide with only Ripken to beat when they should have scored. The Stan attack was helped by the arrival of Kevin Carr on 65 minutes. 2 Stan free kicks were cleared by the keeper with a Ripken save from a counterattack in-between them.

The Stan continued to put pressure on the home defence, mainly through Carr’s hard work and skills, In 77 minutes, the home keeper dropped a high ball in the box but a foul is awarded. Its mainly all Stan until in the 81st minute Harris is booked for halting a home attack. There is then some home pressure, but the Stan defence eventually clear the ball. In 85 minutes, great joined up work led to Poole advancing down the left, but he is shoved off the ball and nothing is given. The tension was building as the match entered stoppage time and a ball from a Stan corner was cleared off the line.

In the 93rd minute, the youth player at Number 11 for the home side was shown a straight red card for dissent to the referee. In 94 minutes, latest Stan sub Joe Wear gave away a foul from a handball. The Stan defend it in a crowded penalty box but the ball goes back to a home player outside the box who blasted it into the left hand corner of the net. The home dug out then unceremoniously invade the pitch. The Stan try to seek the required equaliser although the match ends with a Stan corner being headed just wide. This close game therefore ended 1-0 to the home side with both sides now needing to get something from their last group match.

Given that Morpeth FC lost, a win would have won seen the Stan win their group although they still lead it by 2 points. To qualify for the semi-final, given their superior goal difference over Cullercoats and Newbiggin, a draw should be enough although a win against Morpeth would see them win their group.

Stan: Ripken; Doyle (Dunne 48); Forster; Westphal; Harris (Y); Riley; Jones (Carr 65); Poole (Wear 93); Harper; Bruce (Walker 82); Munir (Da Costa 90).

Kevin Mochrie