|14 October 2023
|Northern League Division One
|West Allotment Celtic
The short trip to local rivals West Allotment Celtic in East Palmersville saw the Stan leave with an important 3 points which sees them remain 5th in the league with games in hand over some of the teams above them.
There was not much between the 2 teams, but the Stan did enough to eventually score in 73 minutes & then hold onto their slender lead to win. There were 3 changes from the team that drew 0-0 at Boro Rangers on Wednesday night with Flynn, Shepherd & Sayer replacing Brass, Hornsby & Anderson.
On a cold, blustery but sunny afternoon there was a slow start to the match although WAC had to replace an injured player, ex-Stan Jack Errington, in the 3rd minute. The home keeper was forced to catch at the 2nd attempt in 7 minutes, but nothing much else happened until the 12th minute when Shepherd supplied the advancing Hopper & he forced a corner from which Sayer headed over.
WACs 1st clear attack was blocked in 15 minutes which then saw Hopper counter attack but, from a tight angle & under pressure in the box, he put the ball onto the top of the net. Both teams then had attacks cleared. In 22 minutes, Hopper was brought down 40 yards out but Stephenson sent the ball from the resulting free kick into orbit.
WAC had a corner in 27 minutes after great defensive work from Turnbull but it was cleared. At the other end, both Turnbull & Hopper had consecutive shots blocked. WAC countered & the ball went high across the Stan goal but the resulting shot was cleared. It was then the Stan who countered but the keeper got to the ball before Lamb.
There was more action now & the WAC keeper had to get out again to clear in front of an advancing Lamb. In 38 minutes, Sayer headed clear from a WAC corner followed by Lamb, who noticed the WAC keeper off his line, trying a speculative long shot but it went wide.
WAC had the best opportunity of the match so far in 43 minutes when a player broke forward & Flynn had to make a great save. A minute later, & Lamb had a shot blocked. Hopper crossed the ball back into box which the keeper blocked & Reid put his rebound shot over the bar. The half ended 0-0 & it had been a relatively even & quiet affair.
The 2nd half also had a quiet start apart from in 49 minutes when WAC won a corner. It was followed by Sayer making a run up to the other end, but he put his shot over the bar. There was then another quiet period until Flynn punched the ball away from a WAC corner in 55 minutes which led to a joined up Stan counter attack which eventually was blocked.
Nothing much else happened until the WAC keeper easily caught a Stephenson free kick in 65 minutes then a WAC attack was eventually cleared for a corner. From it, Flynn got down to save.
Both teams were trying to attack but with no end result although this was to change in the 73rd minute. Stephenson’s corner ball was cleared to the edge of the penalty box allowing Slaughter to shoot through a busy box with the keeper parrying his effort which allowed Marriott to put the rebound into the net.
The match livened up after this as the Stan knew they had made the crucial breakthrough & were determined to hold onto their lead while WAC knew that at least a draw was still possible. As a result, WAC headed just over in 75 minutes & 2 minutes later Flynn had to punch away the ball from a corner. The Stan then pressurised the WAC defence but in 80 minutes, WAC had a good effort that went just wide.
Hopper was trying to advance with the ball whenever he could & in 84 minutes shot wide under pressure from a tight angle. Doyle then cleared from a WAC corner as the home team kept the pressure on. In 89 minutes, Flynn came out to the edge of his box to clear but an advancing forward collided with him. Both were on the ground for a number of minutes which led to a lengthy period of added time.
After a tense 8 added minutes & 2 clearances for the Stan Army, but with no serious threat from the frantic home team, the match ended with the Stan on the attack & with 3 precious points to take home.
The Stan Army were delighted with this important if narrow win which sees the Stan still only having being beaten once in their 11 league matches this season & that was on the opening day. The Stan have another very short journey on Tuesday night when they visit Benfield in the Northumberland Senior Cup.