|6 October 2023
|Northern League Division One
There were plenty of goals, fans, excitement & enormous amounts of rain as the Stan drew 4-4 with local rivals Benfield. In monsoon conditions for the whole match, an amazing crowd of 744 watched the Stan come back from 4-1 down to earn a point in a 4-4 draw. There was only 1 change from last Saturday’s great win over Bishop Auckland with Mark Turnbull replacing Craig Scott. Ex-Stan Jake Turnbull started for Benfield.
The Stan showed they meant business when a great cross to Anderson saw him hit the bar after 3 minutes. Both teams were trying to attack but the next clear attack came on 10 minutes when a great mazy run by Lamb saw him pass 3 players but was hacked down just on the very edge of the box & he put the resulting free kick just over the bar. Lamb’s curling shot in 17 minutes saw the ball going over the bar. 2 minutes later, & Benfield’s 1st clear shot, from a long-range effort, went over.
The Stan shot wide again & in 25 minutes a Hopper cross into the box was blocked. Benfield countered with their 1st effort blocked & the rebound shot forcing a great save from Brass. The ball from the resulting corner was headed clear & the follow up shot went wide. The Stan attacked again twice including through a wasted free kick after Stephenson was badly tackled.
It was the visitors though who took the lead in 32 minutes, when Brass saved, the rebound shot hit the bar and the 2nd rebound shot was put in the net. In 42 minutes, Benfield were 2-0 up when, from a corner, Brass saved a headed effort, but the rebound shot was put in the net.
The Stan attacked immediately & it ended with a Stephenson long range rebound shot hitting the post. In 46 minutes, there was a bad tackle on the advancing Hopper just outside the Benfield box. Stephenson took the resulting free kick which he curled into the box for Hopper to head into the net in 47 minutes. The Stan attacked again but the half ended up with everyone very wet & Benfield leading by a goal.
Things got worse for the Stan early in the 2nd half when in the 49th minute a Benfield attack saw Brass beaten to restore the visitor’s 2 goal lead. 3 minutes later & Grainger in the Benfield goal had to get down to catch. A joined-up Stan attack in 55 minutes eventually saw the ball cleared from the goal line.
In 58 minutes, a speculative but great Lamb long range effort sailed into the far top corner of the net to make it 2-3. Soon after, Lamb shot just wide. In 62 minutes, a 2 footed tackle saw Benfield’s Knight sent off with a straight red. The Stan took immediate advantage of the red knight & started putting pressure on. In 72 minutes, Reid shot just wide & in 79 minutes a Stephenson free kick saw the ball across the visitor’s goal followed by Slaughter’s rebound shot going well over.
In 81 minutes, a quick throw in caught out the Stan with a Benfield player breaking into the box & beating Brass to make it 2-4. The Stan didn’t give up though & in 86 minutes, Hopper was brought down in the box. He scored from the resulting penalty sending Grainger the wrong way.
The Stan Army were roaring their soaked team on & the equaliser came in 88 minutes when Lamb forced a corner, from which Mark Turnbull headed the ball into the Benfield net to make it 4-4. Sparky’s goal sparked jubilation among the Stan Army. Both teams were trying to go for a 5th goal but time ran out, despite 5 added minutes, & the match ended 4-4.
It was a great a night of football despite the rain & the overall performance of the Stan was a fitting way to remember Brian Lisle who sadly passed away suddenly on Wednesday. A minute’s silence was held for Brian whose life was intertwined with grassroots football, including being a long term supporter of Heaton Stannington, although he would have been more pleased by the roars of the supporters & the dramatic late equaliser.
The Stan are now unbeaten in 6 games & remain 5th in the league.