Competition: Friendly

Whitley Bay v Heaton Stannington

An evenly-matched contest at Hillheads saw both Whitley Bay and Heaton Stannington struggle with more than just the stuffy temperature.

Jordan Lashley had the first effort on target inside the first two minutes, receiving a pass 25 yards out with his back to goal, then turning, creating space for himself and shooting low, but the Whitley Bay keeper wasn’t troubled too much.

The two teams spent the opening stages feeling each other out and each having good spells of possession. The home side’s first opportunity came on 14 minutes as their number 7 picked up a loose ball following a Stan charge-down, lined up a shot on the edge of the area and forced goalkeeper Callum Corkhill down to his near post to push the attempt wide.

The Whitley woodwork was rattled two minutes later. Joe Shepherd played a diagonal ball forward from deep, which was defended, but fell to Konner Lamb, whose flick on found Lashley’s perfectly timed run from wide. Nobody could quite believe how much time and space Lashley found himself in on the edge of the area, with just the keeper to beat, but he was thwarted by the crossbar.

Just as they did at Seaham earlier in the week, the Stan drew a foul close to the half way line in the closing stages of the first half. Tuesday’s free kick from Stephenson led to a Connor Walker goal, but Friday’s did not, and Konner Lamb may wonder how his header from close range didn’t hit the target.

Having missed a good chance, moments later the Stan were carved open at the back and probably should’ve gone behind. A neat one-two bypassed the back line, but under the pressure of defenders Shepherd and Turnbull hot on the striker’s heels and Corkhill in goal charging towards him, his shot couldn’t have the kind of force he would’ve wanted, and a little dink ended up trickling harmlessly wide.

With a few minutes of the half remaining, Kane Evans tried to pick out Dan Stephenson’s run into the box with a long diagonal ball from the Stan half. The punt was slightly too long, but Stephenson’s pressure on the keeper caused Whitley Bay’s pink-clad custodian to swipe at the ball with his feet. With the keeper off his line, Lashley seized upon the loose ball and fired it straight back towards goal, but if he’d afforded himself a second to steady himself, the shot may have been more accurate than his wild wallop.

Just as they did the first, the Stan started brightest in the second half and could’ve found themselves ahead on 48 minutes. Evans received a long ball in a good crossing position, floated in a cross but Lamb was unable to connect with it in the six yard box.

Whitley Bay clearly took some inspiration from that long ball to the wide player ten minutes later, as an identical ball from their left back found a right winger, but rather than cross, he took the ball onto his left, cut into the box, pulled back for a right-footed shot, but under pressure he wasn’t able to steady himself for anything other than a swing – no danger for Corkhill.

Up at the other end, the Whitley Bay defence gifted the Stan possession parallel to the 18 yard line. A heavy touch from the recipient of a throw allowed Evans to steal the ball from in front of him – he moved it onto Lamb, who cleverly halted and dragged the ball from his left to right foot, but his eventual shot was narrowly high and wide.

After a quiet spell, Whitley Bay created a good opening on 65 minutes. The home side’s keeper launched a long ball forward – it was dealt with by Alfie Marriott, but the second ball dropped into the Whitley Bay midfield and another excellent one-two allowed them to unleash a powerful first time shot which swerved, but Corkhill dived to his left, got his body behind it and took the sting out of it before collecting calmly at his feet.

As the minutes ticked away, the score-less outcome was looking more and more likely. Both sides were showing real fight and endeavour, but neither side were having much luck in front of goal. Whitley Bay proved this twice in the same minute with 13 to play, stealing possession and charging towards goal on both occasions, but each attempt missed the target.

The Stan had a wasted opportunity of their own three minutes later. Evans was involved in the build-up again, this time sending a ball low into the box, flicked on beautifully by James Harper to the arriving Danny Sayer, who should’ve hit the target but fired over.

The final word goes to the home side, who elicited the biggest gasp of the night on 81 minutes. Their corner caused chaos, eventually dropping close to the penalty spot for a Whitley Bay man. He had a lot of bodies in front of him, so he opted to bend it over everyone, but like Lashley in the first half, he had to watch in agony as his shot crashed against the crossbar.

No goals in the end, but no lack of excitement as both sides can rue big opportunities that went amiss. Certainly not a wasted evening, as the players got a good workout and more minutes in the tank, and the supporters enjoyed some beers in a rare bit of summer evening sunshine.

Callum Corkhill; Kane Evans, Mark Turnbull (Alfie Marriott 46), Joe Shepherd, Jay Hornsby; Marc Ellison (Trialist 46), Dan Stephenson, Connor Walker (Daniel Sayer 46); Jordan Lashley (Liam Doyle 46), Leighton Hopper (James Harper 58), Konner Lamb

Liam Milburn

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Seaham Red Star v Heaton Stannington

The 2nd of 5 away pre-season friendlies in a row saw the Stan travel to former Northern League Division 1 rivals Seaham Red Star. It was a good work out for both squads but although the 1st half was relatively lively there was not much in the 2nd half for the small crowd to write home about.

A wet 1st half started with Turnbull heading over the home bar after 3 minutes. 2 minutes later & a sustained Stan attack ended with Sayer shooting over the bar. In 10 minutes, Walker won the ball from a defender but shot just wide. In 14 minutes, from a corner, the home keeper got down to save a shot by Evans. After a lively start by the Stan, Red Star finally attacked through a counter attacking move, but Corkhill got to the ball 1st to clear it. It was still mainly pressure from the Stan with Hopper especially looking lively. In 19 minutes, Lamb flicked the ball over the home keeper, but a defender cleared it off the line. From the resulting corner, Sayer headed over the bar under pressure. It was still mainly 1 way traffic until a home free kick in 25 minutes went wide. Red Star then had a sustained attack but eventually shot wide. Both sides were now trying to attack & Red Star had a shot which went high & wide in 35 minutes after a ball had gone across the Stan goal missing everyone. Red Star had some more pressure, but it was the Stan who got a goal in 37 minutes. A Stephenson free kick into the box saw the ball initially blocked but it came back to Walker on the edge of the box who blasted it into the net for his 1st Stan goal. Almost immediately it was nearly 2-0 to the Stan when Lamb advanced on the home goal & shot just wide under pressure.

The Stan started the 2nd half lively with Shepherd heading just wide from a corner in the 49th minute. Both teams were trying to get forward but were on most occasions being cancelled out by the opposing defences. In 54 minutes, Red Star put some pressure on the Stan goal & Corkhill had to palm the ball away from a corner ball. Both teams remained positive, but any efforts went well wide or high. In 68 minutes, sub Lashley’s deflected shot was saved by the keeper. 3 minutes later & a Red Star speculative long-range effort into a busy Stan box saw Corkhill getting down to get a hand to the ball & put it out for a corner. The resulting corner ball was missed by everyone. After a quieter spell the sub Seaham keeper made a great save in 79 minutes when Sayer supplied Lamb & he blasted the ball from 30 yards. From the resulting corner, Walker put a rebound shot well over the bar. The Stan kept the pressure on & in the 90th minute a Sayer speculative long-range shot forced a great save from the home sub keeper. From the resulting corner, Lamb shot well over. The match ended with a speculative long range home effort which went just wide. So, after a relatively uneventful 2nd half, the match ended lively but with no more goals.

Stan Team: Corkhill; Evans; Sayer (Hornsby 46); Turnbull (Marriott 57); Stephenson (Sayer 62); Shepherd; Lamb (Lashley 46); Palmer (Ellison 46); Anderson (Harper 57); Walker; Hopper (Lamb 72).

Kevin Mochrie

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Carlisle City v Heaton Stannington

Jordan Lashley and Danny Sayer were on target for The Stan as they fought back from behind twice to secure a draw in their fourth friendly of the new season.

The 60-mile journey from Grounsell Park to Gillford Park was the longest we’ve faced so far in 2024-25, but pales in comparison to the anticipated trips to the likes of Yorkshire and the Midlands which will be common place in the campaign ahead.

The first chance of the game went to the home side on 3 minutes, as an inviting ball from the Carlisle right back was headed wide at the near post. Moments later, the Stan had a similar opportunity, but Evans’ cross deflected on its way into the area and was dealt with by the keeper.

Carlisle took the lead on 11 minutes. Leighton Hopper picked up on a loose ball just inside the Stan half, but was charged down, allowing the Cumbrians to break. A hopeful lump forward deflected off both Jay Hornsby and Marc Ellison, falling to a Carlisle forward who was able to cut onto his left and hang a ball up for Riley Boertien who leapt higher than Kane Evans at the back post. Goalkeeper Lewis Brass met the effort on goal but could only push it high into the net.

A committed start to the game from both sides stepped up a notch a couple of minutes later, as Hopper was fouled by Carlisle’s no.7, who swiped for the ball but completely missed and kicked the Stan striker across his shins. This would set the tone for what was a feisty friendly fixture.

The Stan’s best chance so far followed shortly after, as Hopper seized possession on the edge of the Carlisle box, whipped a ball to Andy Burn at the far post, but the no.10 couldn’t keep his header on target.

Midway through the first half, the Stan found their equaliser, but it was only possible because of some quick reactions from goalkeeper Lewis Brass at the other end first, who had to palm a close range header from a corner against his own crossbar. Once the Stan dealt with the danger, Brass was able to launch a ball forward which was knocked down by Daniel Sayer into the path of Jordan Lashley, who received the ball on his right foot, cut back to send his marker scrambling before firing low into the bottom corner with his favoured left.

Buoyed by their leveller, it was the Stan who did most of the pushing for the next 20 minutes, with a Marc Ellison header from a corner saved well by the Carlisle keeper on the half hour mark.

But it was the home side who went into the break ahead, with a brilliant passing sequence from front-to-back – not unlike the Stan’s style of play – rewarded with a suitably brilliant goal. Ellison dealt with a searching cross from Carlisle’s no.2, but it was smashed in on the volley just inside the D by Callum Birdsall with some venom.

Carlisle’s lead was short-lived. The Stan were on the front foot from the second half restart and forced a corner after an overload. Danny Sayer lurked at the back post in a packed six yard box and was the grateful recipient of an excellent deep in-swinging cross by David Palmer to level the game again on 47 minutes.

The Stan arguably had the best chances to win the game in an otherwise less eventful second half. On 55 minutes, a scramble from a wide Lashley free kick saw Carlisle clear off their line twice in the space of five seconds – first from Sayer and then from Alfie Marriott.

A mazy run from Leighton Hopper 15 minutes later was just lacking a crucial finish, but did win the Stan a corner, which pinballed around the six yard box with some menace without troubling the Carlisle keeper.

The closing stages of the game are mostly notable for the emergence of goalkeeper Callum Corkhill from the bench sporting the bright yellow outfield kit adorned with the number 12. Corkhill replaced Sayer – who finally succumbed to the constant physical harassment of the home side – with a minute of normal time remaining, but the back-up custodian’s assistance up front did not return a winning goal.

The trip to Carlisle City was a friendly in name, but these two sides battled as if points or cup progression were on the line. The game was rather stop-start with the number of fouls racking up very quickly, and both sides finding it difficult to get into much of a rhythm as a result. The scoreline reflected the evenly-matched nature of the contest, and there can be no doubt that both teams got a good workout at Gillford Park on that drizzly Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Brass; Kane Evans, Marc Ellison, Alfie Marriott, Jay Hornsby; David Palmer, Andy Burn, Danny Sayer (Callum Corkhill 89); Jordan Lashley, Louis Anderson, Leighton Hopper

Liam Milburn

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Heaton Stannington v Jarrow

The Stan were again in pre-season friendly action on the astro pitch at Coach Lane & this time the opponents were old friends Jarrow from Northern League Division 2. After being 2-0 down at half time, the Stan put on a good 2nd half show for the fans by winning 5-2 which included some great goals. There was a 2nd start & 3rd appearance for a trialist up front while 3 players who were subbed later came back on.

The Stan started positively with some pressure but with no end product. After 5 minutes, Marriott made a great tackle to stop a Jarrow attack. 3 minutes later & Brass easily caught from a Jarrow corner. Jarrow then shot wide. Both teams were trying to attack & in 17 minutes the Stan had their 1st clear effort, & it was one of note as Doyle sent a cross into the Jarrow box but Hopper’s header went just wide. Jarrow then shot across the Stan goal but the ball went wide. Burn then sent a ball from a free kick just over the Jarrow bar. It was Jarrow though who took the lead in 21 minutes when a good turn allowed one of their players to beat the defence & slot the ball past Brass at the far post. In 24 minutes, Hopper sent a high ball into the box but the Jarrow keeper got up top catch it just before Anderson could make contact. 3 minutes later & Brass made 2 blocks before a Doyle free kick at the other end was headed just wide by Hopper. In 37 minutes, a poor Stan clearance allowed the ball to bounce to a Jarrow player who only had Brass to beat & his shot went into the Stan net for 2-0 to Jarrow. Lashley then had a shot blocked followed by Brass catching at the other end. In 41 minutes, Evans forced a corner that was taken by Lashley. From it, the ball was headed at the far post by Turnbull back along the goal line but Anderson couldn’t force it into the net & the ball was cleared. Both teams ended the half trying to attack but it remained 2-0 to Jarrow.

Although the 2nd half started with a Jarrow corner, the Stan then had the 1st clear effort of the half when a joined up attack ended with the sub trialist shooting just wide. A 30-yard Jarrow free kick the went just over the Stan bar. The Stan got a goal back in 52 minutes when a Slaughter free kick into the box was, via Lashley & the trialist, blasted into the net by Foster for his 1st Stan goal. The Stan were level on 62 minutes when the ball from a Stan attack went back to Slaughter 30 yards out & he blasted the ball past a number of players & into the net. The Stan kept the pressure on & Slaughter shot again in 65 minutes but his effort this time went well wide. In 74 minutes, Slaughter passed to Foster who supplied the advancing Anderson & although the Jarrow keeper made himself big to block the shot, Foster scored from the rebound & put the Stan ahead. In 77 minutes, a speculative long-range effort from Jarrow went just over the Stan bar. In 79 minutes, a Hopper long ball into the box bounced once allowing Harper to then put it past the Jarrow keeper & into the net. In 86 minutes, a speculative long-range effort was caught by the Jarrow keeper. 3 minutes later & sub Corkhill had to catch from a Jarrow effort. The Stan ended the match in style in the 90th minute when a joined up attack, started by Harper, saw the ball eventually go back to the edge of the box allowing Evans to blast it into the net for 5-2.

Stan Team: Brass (Corkhill 53); Doyle (Evans 40); Hornsby (Sayer 46); Slaughter; Turnbull (Marriott 81); Marriott (Shepherd 46); Burn (Foster 46); Ellison (Burn 70); Anderson; (Trialist 46 (Anderson 68)); Lashley (Harper 58); Hopper.

Kevin Mochrie 

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Heaton Stannington v Whickham

The Stan’s 1st official pre-season friendly was played at Coach Lane. Thanks must go to opponents & last season’s rivals Whickham who stepped in at short notice to take the place of Darlington Town. There was a start for new signing Marc Ellison while Heaton Stannington A keeper Zamo Khalil went in goals at short notice for Whickham & played the whole match. The Stan 1st half trialist was the same one who played in the 2nd half of the Jimmy Rowe cup.

The Stan took an early lead when Slaughter scored through a great shot taken from the edge of the box after the Whickham defence had only partially cleared a Stan cross into the box. After a couple of attacks by Whickham, they had a shot in 21 minutes which Brass had to get down to save. 2 minutes later & Brass made a great full size save. After another 2 minutes, a ball from a Whickham corner went across the Stan goal but was missed by everyone. In 28 minutes, there was another great save from Brass from a corner. Whickham finally got a goal in 33 minutes but in relatively controversial circumstances. The scorer appeared off-side but, after some discussion, the referee awarded the goal. There was a quieter end to the 1st half though a Stan free kick was cleared in 42 minutes.

The Stan made 4 half time substitutions & 3 more after 58 minutes. Whickham started the half positively & had most of the early possession. They took advantage of this in 52 minutes when a defensive mix-up allowed a Whickham player to tap the ball into the Stan net for 1-2. In 60 minutes, a long ball to Lamb saw him slip but he was still able under pressure to shoot just wide. Despite the torrential rain that had started, the Stan were exerting more pressure on the Whickham defence now as they sought an equaliser. This included through sub Hopper. In 74 minutes, it was a Whickham player though who shot just wide from just outside the Stan box. In 79 minutes, Hopper forced a diving save from Khalil in the Whickham goal. From the resulting header Hopper headed sideways & the ball was then cleared. In 87 minutes, a speculative long range effort by sub Hornsby was caught by Khalil. There was a quieter end to the match as the sun returned although the Stan continued to seek an equaliser.

Kevin Mochrie

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Newcastle Benfield v Heaton Stannington

The Stan retained the Jimmy Rowe Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over local rivals Benfield. Due to close season work on the Grounsell Park pitch, the match was switched to Benfield’s Sam Smith Park although the crowd contained a good number of the Stan Army including the Junior Ultras and a Far Corner following which included new member Peter Beardsley. There was a start for new signing Matt Foster & there were 2nd half appearances up front for a trialist & James Harper. The Stan took the lead through Lamb in 14 minutes. 2 minutes into the 2nd half and the Stan doubled their lead when, from a corner, there was a scramble in the Benfield box before Turnbull forced the ball into the net. The rest of the match was mainly played in the Benfield half, but the score remained 2-0. The Stan have now won the cup on all 4 occasions that it has been contested.

Kevin Mochrie

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