|20 January 2024
|Northern League Division One
The Stan defeated the weather to play their 1st home match since 23rd December last year & then also defeated Northallerton to achieve a hard-fought victory in front of a bumper crowd of 439. On a blustery but sunny afternoon, the Stan started on top but as the 1st half went on, Northallerton got more into the game & sneaked a goal just before half time. 2 quick early 2nd half goals saw the Stan equalise then take the lead which they held onto to take all 3 points. There were 3 changes from last Saturday’s defeat at Penrith with Evans, Stephenson & Lashley replacing Scott, Sayer & Anderson. Northallerton had a number of new signings in the squad for the 1st time.
The Stan attacked from the start & had all the early pressure. In 4 minutes, a ball into the box to Lashley was headed clear before he could make contact. 3 minutes later & he was on a twisting run but was blocked but the Stan kept attacking & eventually won a free kick at the edge of the Northallerton box. From it, Stephenson sent the ball into the box & Reid got down low to head the ball, but the keeper got his hands on it. Soon after, as the one-way traffic continued, Hornsby sent the ball into the box towards Hopper, but he couldn’t get his head to it. The 1st Northallerton attack did not come until the 13th minute from which Marriott headed out for a corner. 3 minutes later & the visitors attacked again but their effort went wide under pressure in a busy box. In 20 minutes, Lashley broke free & past another player but shot under pressure at the keeper who caught the ball. 2 minutes later & Northallerton shot wide. In 24 minutes, a Stephenson free kick was cleared by a defender just in front of the keeper on his line. The game was more even now and more end to end with both teams trying to attack. In 31 minutes, a Stan counterattack was blocked in the box & eventually cleared. Slaughter then sent a diagonal ball across to the advancing Hopper, but he could not get on the end of it. In 35 minutes, Evans forced a corner from which Marriott got up but headed wide. 3 minutes later & a Northallerton corner was cleared followed by a Stephenson free kick being cleared. In 41 minutes, Northallerton went surprisingly into the lead when, from a corner, a header at the far post was cleared but the follow up shot was blasted into the net from close range. In 44 minutes, Hopper sliced an effort & 3 minutes later a Northallerton corner was cleared & the half ended with the visitors retaining their late slender lead.
Again, the Stan started the 2nd half on the attack & the early pressure was to pay off. In 47 minutes, Lashley was brought down as he entered the Northallerton box & Hopper comfortably scored from the resulting penalty to bring the Stan level in 48 minutes. The Stan were in the lead in 2 minutes later when a Stan attack into the Northallerton box saw efforts by both Hopper & Lashley blocked before Turnbull finished the job by slotting the all into the net at the far post. In 52 minutes, Hopper broke but, under pressure on the edge of the box, he had no one to pass to. The Stan then had a corner which Reid got up for but headed over. There was more Stan pressure until in 58 minutes a rare effort by Northallerton from long range was easily caught by Brass. 5 minutes later & a Lashley long range shot saw the visiting keeper get down to save it. In 67 minutes a Stephenson shot was also caught by the home keeper. 3 minutes later & Stephenson attacked down the right & his under pressure shot saw the keeper get a hand to it before it went off the post with Carr sliding in to try to get a rebound shot but collided with the keeper who then cleared the ball. Carr ended up injured & had to be replaced by Anderson. After a quieter period, there was a great combined move by Stephenson & Lashley, after Reid had won & passed the ball, & it ended with Lashley’s curling shot hitting the post. It was all mainly pressure from the Stan until Brass had to catch a Northallerton effort in 86 minutes. In 90 minutes, a long ball to advancing sub Sayer saw him put the ball just over the bar after a great run. In 91 minutes, a Reid shot was blocked as the Stan tried to get a 3rd goal to kill the match off. In 93 minutes, a Northallerton attack was blocked by Evans. From the resulting corner, the Stan defended well & although the visitors eventually got a shot in, it went wide under pressure.
The Stan worked hard to achieve a deserved win & have now gone back up to 6th in the table with games in hand. Special mention must go to the effort of Evans & Slaughter. Although dependent on the weather the Stan will be travelling on Tuesday to Tow Law & hopefully a snow plough won’t be required for the Stan Army to get there.