Competition: Northern League Division One

Newcastle Benfield vs Heaton Stannington

The final Coast Road Clasico of the season at Sam Smiths stadium, saw the Stan win the 3 points. Although there was only 1 goal in it, which came after 4 minutes, the Stan got a deserved victory in the end and revenge for the undeserved Senior Cup defeat earlier in the season. There was 1 change from Saturday’s win over Redcar Athletic with Stephenson replacing Slaughter.

The 1st clear attack of the match was for the Stan in 4 minutes when Reid passed to Doyle, on the right side, who passed across to Lashley who blasted the ball into the net from the edge of the box. Before Benfield could get over the shock of going 1-0 down, Hornsby raced towards their box but put the ball well wide. The Stan had a joined-up attack 2 minutes later which was eventually blocked. Benfield got a corner in 9 minutes, but Brass got down to catch. Both teams were trying to attack but both defences were managing to deal with any threats. The Stan had to head clear in 14 minutes followed by Burn sending a ball into the home box which was cleared. In 20 minutes, a Stan counter attack saw Reid supply Anderson who was blocked for a throw in. From it, the ball was sent into the box to Reid but he was blocked &the ball was eventually cleared. Benfield broke in 24 minutes but shot high & wide. A minute later & Hornsby supplied Doyle who sent the ball into the box resulting in Reid heading towards goal, but the home keeper managed to make a greats save to prevent another goal. This was the 2nd best chance of the match after the goal. Kane, Scott & Hornsby had to clear Benfield attacks but there were no real attacks again in the 1st half except in the last few minutes. A Stan attack was cleared & Benfield countered with Brass having to catch in a busy box. The half finished with a through ball to the advancing Lashley but the home keeper came out of his box to just get there 1st.

Hopper replaced Anderson at half time & the Stan immediately attacked through him. A Benfield attack was then headed clear. A minute later, & a home free kick just outside the box was missed by everyone & went wide. The ball was sent back into the Stan box & was deflected just wide for a corner from which the ball was headed clear. Both teams were trying to attack although not much was happening. In 56 minutes, Doyle supplied Hopper who advanced into the box & passed to Burn but his close range shot was blocked. Soon after, Benfield shot over. Brass easily caught a long-range effort in 59 minutes. Benfield then attacked again but Brass easily collected the ball. Benfield then had a good chance to score from close range but shot over the bar. In 63 minutes, Lashley won the ball just outside the home box & passed to Reid, but the keeper got down in front of him to get to the ball 1st. In 65 minutes, Benfield shot over. Both teams continued trying to attack & in 69 minutes a long ball to Lashley saw him avoid a tackle but the keeper easily saved his shot. There was a continued few minutes of Stan pressure but it came to nothing. In 82 minutes, Kane intercepted the ball & supplied the advancing Hopper who shot just over. In 84 minutes, a ball from a Stan corner was cleared & the ball went back in & was cleared again. It was mainly pressure from the Stan now, but Benfield were not giving up. In 88 minutes, a Benfield attack was blocked 3 times. Soon after, Doyle crossed to Hopper who advanced into the box but the ball was cleared. Benfield then shot well over. Into 5 minutes of added time & Hopper advanced into the home box & was brought down but nothing was given. Benfield then had s shot blocked with the rebound effort going well over. The last action of the match saw the Stan defence stop a home attack. Hopper then attacked but was brought down although the 3 points were now guaranteed for the Stan.

The win moves the Stan up to joint 4th (5th on goal difference) & only 3 points off 3rd place with 4 games in hand. The team worked hard especially at the back, although Brass was rarely tested. Special mention should also be given to Doyle in midfield who lifted the man of the match award. The next challenge for the Stan comes on Saturday when they host 2nd place Shildon for the 1st time in the league since 23 February 1952.

Kevin Mochrie

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Heaton Stannington vs Redcar Athletic

Heaton Stannington were without the injured Carr, Hopper and Lamb, and Stephenson was not available, Stan in their previous seven NL 1 matches had conceded the first goal, and went on to win 3, draw 1 and lose the other three.

However they broke that bad pattern, getting an early goal, conceded an equaliser five minutes from half time but were still able to go to the changing rooms a goal up at the interval. The second half Stan were far more able to control the game and scored another goal and run out worthy winners, and rise up two places in the table. Warm applause at the end from most of the 361 attenders.

The match opened explosively with Stan scoring on 2 minutes, with a throw in from Kane Evans to Louis Anderson, back to Evans, then back to Anderson who played the ball inside for Andy Burn, just on the edge of the area, central, one touch to control before hitting a low shot into the bottom far corner. 1-0

Stan had a shout for a penalty three minutes later when Anderson was tackled in the area. Ref said play on.

Redcar responded with Mark Anderson having a low shot straight to Lewis Brass.

Jordan Lashley just failed to get on the end of a through ball, then Sean Reid hit a free kick over the bar.

Brass came to the rescue on 20 minutes as Curtis Round chased a ball into the area, but he came and caught the ball to deny the visitors any opportunity. Nine minutes later Brass came out of his area to head the ball away as Adam Boyes attacked, straight to Anderson who volleyed high over the bar.

Richie Slaughter was having a magisterial match, strong and resilient, leading his team in the battle. Alfie Marriott and Craig Scott were kept busy, and battled away strongly.

Scott headed behind to concede a corner as the Cleveland side were pushing for an equaliser.

On 35 minutes a good build up play, Anderson to Reid, with his goal bound shot pushed away for a corner,

A couple of minutes later the experienced Kevin Burgess brought down Lashley in the area. This time it was a penalty, with Burgess getting booked. Reid’s low spot kick was saved by Lee Roberts.

Redcar equalised on 40 minutes with the move starting on their left, just inside their own area by Boyes, he surged to the back post as Andersons shot was pushed away by Brass, with Boyes swooping to net from close range. 1-1

Two minutes added on when Reid fed Lashley to Anderson, with a defender intercepting but his pass went to Evans, who played a simple ball forward for Burns, one touch to set himself, then the ball went up and over Roberts. Home fans ecstatic. 2-1

HT 2-1

Stan did much better in the second half, contained and controlled Redcar’s threat. Stan were much hungrier to get into the Redcar box and score, whereas Brass was hardly troubled.

On 49 minutes Anderson to Reid to Lashley with his fierce shot finger tipped over the bar.

Brass made just one notable save in the second half, on 53 minutes with a cross to the back post for Jack Blackford to volley, ball stopped by keepers legs to concede a corner.

Just past the hour Burn to Anderson, his cross cut out, with Reid waiting, expectantly for that cross to get on scoring sheet.

Liam Doyle ran from his own half to the edge of the Redcar box, with a lovely pass to Reid, but his weak low shot was easily saved.

Danny Sayer replaced Lashley on 73 minutes, and was immediately in the action. A long throw from Jay Hornsby, headed forward by Reid to Sayer, with the ball to Burn whose wonderful low shot nestled in the bottom corner of the net. 3-1 A wonderful hat trick!

Five minutes of added on time, but no danger to Stan and they were warmly applauded at the final whistle.

To get a double over such a decent side speaks volumes of Stan’s determination to climb the table.

FT 3-1

Dean said after the match, “It was a real real decent job by every single player that took part, and thoroughly deserved. Everyone was excellent, you have be to beat a side like that. We were excellent second half, dominant, catching them on the break a lot, created a lot of chances.”

Stan are away on Wednesday night at Benfield, and then on Saturday welcome second placed Shildon to Grounsell Park.

Brian Pratt

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Heaton Stannington vs Whitley Bay

A healthy mid-week crowd of 413 witnessed only the Stan’s 3rd home match of 2024 as they sought revenge for last month’s unlucky 1-0 defeat at promotion rivals Whitley Bay. The match looked early on as if it would be a goalless stalemate although both teams eventually managed to score once but neither team seemed to reach their expected potential on the park compared to most previous recent encounters. The Stan worked hard, including through Slaughter & Hopper, & there was a classic equaliser from Nick ‘Predator’ Cassidy. There were 3 changes from Saturday’s defeat at Bishop Auckland with Marriott, Lashley & Sayer replacing Turnbull, Shepherd & Stephenson.

The match started with both teams trying to attack but they were wiping out each other’s threats up front & as a result the 1st clear effort wasn’t until 6 minutes when Bay shot wide. The Stan shot wide in 12 minutes, followed by the Bay doing the same, but neither team really threatened until 22 minutes. A Hornsby ball to Hopper on the edge of a busy Bay box saw his shot deflected over the bar for a corner which was eventually cleared. Unexpectantly, the visitors took the lead in 28 minutes when they had a shot blocked by Brass but a rebound shot from close range saw the ball forced into the net. The Stan didn’t sit back & in 29 minutes, after Hopper had won the ball & forced a corner, Lashley shot high & wide from outside the box. In 31 minutes, there was pressure from Bay as twice they shot across the Stan goal from a tight angle & both times the ball went just wide of the far post. From a resulting corner, a Bay player headed just wide. Although there was a quieter spell, in 35 minutes a joined up Stan attack ended with Sayer shooting wide. In 42 minutes, Hopper’s solo effort unluckily hit the post & this was followed by a bay counterattack which was stopped by Marriott. The half ended though with Whitley Bay leading 1-0.

The Stan started the 2nd half positively with Hopper in the 48th minute dribbling into the visitor’s box but shooting just over under pressure. In 53 minutes, a Stan free kick on the edge of the Bay box was cleared followed by Evans dealing well to stop the counter attack. Both teams were trying to attack but both defences were working well to prevent any real threats. In 65 minutes, the Stan were back on level terms when a ball from a Stan corner was cleared in front of goal & the ball went out of the box to Cassidy on the left who sent it back into the box over everyone & into the far top corner of the net. What a goal, especially given that he had only been on the pitch for 3 minutes. The Stan now started showing more confidence as they knew the match could be won & sub Doyle had a great opportunity in front of goal in 67 minutes but blasted the ball over the bar. There was a quieter 10 minutes as both teams still tried to attack but without making any real threats. The Stan had some sustained pressure in 79 minutes but the Bay keeper & his defence worked hard to deal with it. The last 7 minutes of normal time saw mainly pressure from the Stan as they sought a wining goal. In 86 minutes, Hopper entered into the box but, under pressure, he turned & shot just over. Into 4 minutes of added time & Whitley Bay finally attacked again but shot well over when they had a good opportunity in front of goal to score. In 91 minutes, Shepherd won the ball & passed to Lashley but he couldn’t supply the advancing Hopper. A minute later after a Bay advance, Hopper sent a long ball up to the advancing Lashley but he was wrongly deemed off side. Hopper then made a great run but couldn’t get a shot in & both teams had to settle for a draw.

Although either team could have snatched a victory, a draw seemed a fair result on a night with relatively limited chances for both teams. Next up is the NE6-NE7 derby as the Stan make the short journey to Sam’s Smith Park to take on Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday evening.

Kevin Mochrie

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Bishop Auckland vs Heaton Stannington

Heaton faced off against league leading Bishop Auckland on a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Vest Construction Stadium in front of 398 spectators and, as expected, the hosts provided a strong test for the Stan. The Bishops started the day eight points clear at the top of the table and 22 points above Heaton, though Heaton have five games in hand.

Though the game was predicted to be a tight affair, both teams had great opportunities in the opening quarter of an hour. Louis Johnson demonstrated his pace for the hosts early though was unable to get a shot through on goal thanks to strong blocks by the Heaton defense. Hopper had Heaton’s first chance of the game after just six minutes, taking on and beating a couple of Bishops defenders and forcing a great reaction save from Catterick in the home goal.  Brass demonstrated his shot stopping ability on 13 minutes, getting down sharply to his left to deny the hosts a headed goal and bravely blocking the follow up attempt for a double save.

Johnson continued to trouble the Heaton back line, linking up with Thexton and Bartliff on a couple of occasions but all of Bishop’s shots missed the target. The Stan found it difficult to maintain possession or fashion any real chances. A 40th minute corner from Dan Stephenson was headed wide and after the hosts broke and again failed to trouble Brass the sides ultimately went into the halftime break level at 0-0.

Just like the first half, the second began with a flurry of activity. Scott stooped to head back to Brass from a Bishops cross, the home fans behind the goal briefly excited by the prospect of an own goal but Brass held on. Heaton looked to attack on the break and a promising move between Hopper and Stephenson broke down at the edge of the box. The hosts were quickly back on the attack themselves and managed to break the deadlock on 54 minutes. Johnson again using his pace to get to a ball knocked into space before crossing invitingly to Thexton. Brass got a hand to the powerful header but was unable to stop it from hitting the back of the net. Heaton responded immediately with a substitution and change of shape, Evans withdrawn for Lashley.

Johnson was played in again minutes later but a last-ditch tackle forced him to turn back and his shot was eventually blocked. There were appeals from the crowd for a penalty but credit to Johnson for staying on his feet and trying to finish the chance. Heaton had a chance to equalize on 61 minutes through Lashleybut his shot was tipped just wide of the post. Burn came on for Reid in midfield after 62 minutes played. Disaster struck for the Stan on 70 minutes as Brass misplayed the ball after receiving a back pass and Thexton pounced to smash the ball into the net for his second goal of the day. Heaton again responded, this time with a double substitution with Doyle replacing Turnbull and Sayer coming on for Anderson.

Bishops put the game beyond doubt on 82 minutes after Thexton controlled a great ball over the top on the run and slotted the ball neatly past Brass to earn his hat-trick. Heaton continued to push forward however and Sayer had a fantastic opportunity on 85 minutes. This time the Bishops keeper misplayed the ball and Sayer’s attempted lob just clipped the crossbar. Heaton finally found the back of the net on 89 minutes as Lashley picked up the ball and curled beautifully into the bottom corner. A final chance fell to Sayer but he was unable to direct the ball into the net and the match finished 3-1 to the hosts. The Stan will look to move on quickly when they face Whitley Bay at home midweek.

Sam Henderson

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Birtley Town vs Heaton Stannington

The Stan made the relatively short midweek trip just south of the Tyne to take on high flying Birtley Town. The hosts have been enjoying a successful first season in Division One and looked set to provide a tough test for Heaton.

From the very start of the match, Birtley looked to impose a physical and direct style of play. The opening ten minutes saw the Stan defending a couple of good long throws and two corners. It was from the second of these corners that the hosts took the lead on 12 minutes. The initial cross was cleared by Burn but the ball fell to former Heaton Player Matty Ward whose powerful shot flew into the top right corner of Brass’s goal.

Birtley’s aerial attack continued to cause Heaton problems and Brass saved twice in the following minutes, albeit one from a chance ruled offside by the referee’s assistant. Heaton started to grow into the game and fashioned a couple of chances with Reid and then Hopper both firing warning shots over the Birtley bar. Heading into the final minutes of the first half Stan continued building pressure, Dan Stephenson saw a corner ball recycled back out to him and a scrambled clearance resulted in Burn shooting wide. Burn almost made it to the end of a neat through ball shortly after but Birtley’s keeper was alert to the danger and collected the ball.

The Stan’s breakthrough came in first half stoppage time. While Birtley protested the award of a throw-in to Heaton, Hornsby found himself with time and space down the left to fire in a low ball which was tucked in by Reid at the back post. The Birtley protests continued after the referee blew for half-time but the two sides headed into the break even at 1-1.

Heaton made two changes before play resumed in the second half with Burn and Reid replaced by Anderson and Lashley. It was the hosts that had the first chance in the second half, with Brass saving well from Birtley’s Heslop before a couple of promising Heaton attacks were also repelled. Birtley continued to trouble the Stan defence with long balls, corners and throws, however, on 63 minutes, a sharp break down the wing from Lashley saw him thread a pass to Hopper who managed to poke the ball just beyond the Birtley keeper and into the back of the net. Lashley himself had a chance to put the game out of reach just ten minutes later but saw his long range effort crash back off the post.

Birtley continued to push for an equaliser but Heaton’s defence held firm, Brass in particular making several important saves in a man of the match performance. Hopper and Lashley continued to stretch the Birtley defence on the break, with Hopper being cynically brought down resulting in a Birtley booking heading into the final ten minutes. Hopper was once again fouled deep into stoppage time, this time resulting in a red card for the Birtley defender as the last man. Lashley was unable to convert the resulting free kick but Heaton saw off the remainder of the time to secure a very hard fought three points. The result sees Heaton sitting in 7th place in the league with at least three games in hand on the teams around them. A break in competitive fixtures for the Stan sees them take on Temecula FC from the USA in a mid season friendly on Friday night before Boro Rangers visit Heaton next week.

Sam Henderson

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Heaton Stannington vs West Auckland Town

In a cracking match, Heaton Stannington came from behind, after conceding an early goal, to win with a very late goal, to give them the double over third placed West Auckland.

Joe Shepherd returned to the first team, with Kane Evans making his 50th start for the Stan.

A fine day, generally dull but a bit of sunshine crept in, but not for long, as it remained cold.

Stan started well and had a couple of attacking moves down the left flank, with shots not testing keeper Piotr Banda. And one long range shot from Sean Reid, Banda saved comfortably.

But it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 5 minutes, when a clearance from Lewis Brass hit the back of Joshua Scott, deflected up into the air and towards goal with Scott getting to it first and heading into the net. 0-1 His 18th league goal of the season.

Stan reacted well with some good inter passing, Mark Turnbull finding Jordan Lashley but he couldn’t find space for a shot, but on 18 minutes a superb volley from Dan Stephenson which just went inches wide of the upright.

The moves from Stan kept coming, Richie Slaughter and Stephenson instigators of most flowing moves forward, but Stan found it difficult to finish off their moves.

Turnbull to Reid who found Stephenson who gave the ball out wide to Leighton Hopper, but his cross was deflected behind for a corner. Andy Burn to Stephenson and again to Hopper, who was a handful. A lot of possession, good passing, but that final touch was not working.

On 36 minutes a Burn effort was turned aside by Banda for a corner.

Burn to Reid back to Burn out to Hopper but again his shot went wide.

But the equaliser came on 41 minutes, Burn to Stephenson, to Lashley and across to Hopper, whose shot from outside the area, took a slight deflection and went into the top far corner of the net. 1-1 A well deserved equaliser.

HT 1-1

West Auckland raised their game but they met a stubborn home defence which stood strong with all that was thrown at them. On 50 minutes James Harrison just outside the area but his shot flew over the Stan bar.

Three minutes later Oscar Fletcher headed wide when he should have done better.

Mark Turnbull was yellow carded for a foul on Corey Nicholson. From the free kick Scott headed over the bar.

On 57 minutes Lashley shot low, Banda fumbled the ball to Hopper, 4 yards out, but amazingly, he hit the chest of the keeper.

Turnbull was impressive in getting in a tackle to turn the ball out of play, denying West Auckland a goal scoring opportunity.

Brass was at his best with a marvellous save on 59 minutes when Lee Hulme, 22 yards out was denied by a truly great save.

Strange moment just past the hour when VAR visited Grounsel. (without camera or dodgy white line) Asst referee raised his flag, was it for offside or a foul? Ref told him to put his flag down and play went on. Brass walked out of the way (why risk injury) as Scott netted. Quite a hold up as who knows what was said. Stan were awarded a free kick where the assistant had raised his flag.

On 68 minutes Reid seemed to be fouled as he passed to Hopper, but he dinked the ball on to top of bar and over.

Then Nicholson hit the base of the post from outside the area from a breakaway. Action from end to end as each side wanted a win.

Magic from Hopper on 76 minutes, having beaten a couple of defenders he squared the ball for Burn, many who saw that Barnoldswick blockbuster of a winner, thought here we go again, but he smashed the ball over the bar.

83 minutes Mark Turnbull was injured in another of his tackles and was replaced by Alfie Marriott.

Evans rescued Stan, when conceding a corner as Brass raced a long way out. Evans needed treatment. From the resultant corner substitute Danny Sayer headed away.

4 minutes of added on time.

Another world class save from Brass when Scott hit a goal bound shot but was denied by the flying keeper.

Last minute, and what an outstanding pass from Slaughter, through the middle for Hopper to run onto with Liam Potter taking Hopper out. Penalty given.

Game held up while Ben Dale was given a yellow card then another yellow as he kept on at the ref.

Ice man Hopper nonchalantly put the spot kick away to steal a win for Stan.

That’s half the league games now completed for Stan.

FT 2-1

Dean said after the match, “The equaliser was coming eventually. We were happy with 99% of it, but it was just that last cross, shot or whatever it was, that last pass, it was just letting us down. It was tough. We defended really well. Do not lose the game was the order, but we took all 6 points against them, was unbelievable.”

Brian Pratt

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Whitley Bay vs Heaton Stannington

On a bitterly cold but dry winter’s afternoon, both teams had to deal with a cut up pitch and windy conditions although it was the home side who sealed the 3 points, just, & late on in the match through a penalty. Although Whitley Bay had more opportunities to score, the Stan nearly sneaked a draw and could have even snatched a victory. There were 2 changes from last Saturday’s win against Northallerton with Anderson and Greenwood replacing Carr and Lashley. It was Dan Stephenson’s 100th and Richie Slaughter’s 50th starts for the Stan.

Whitley Bay had the 1st 2 attacks in the 3rd minute but these came to nothing. The Stan then advanced before another Bay attack. Hopper then advanced & sent the ball to Reid & although the ball was cleared, Reid won it back although the move eventually ended in a Bay throw in. Both teams were now trying to advance up the pitch when they could although the resulting attacks were easily dealt with at both ends. The home side shot well wide after 10 minutes & they had another attack blocked 2 minutes later. This resulted in a corner which led to Brass making a great save before Bay eventually got another shot which went well wide. It was mainly home pressure now but the Stan were still trying to attack. The most dangerous Bay attack so far came in 15 minutes when Evans & Turnbull both had to make clearances. 3 Stan advances then came to nothing. In 19 minutes, Brass received a groin strain but soldiered on in the absence of a sub keeper.  In 22 minutes, Reid advanced into the home box but his close range shot hit off the keeper. Bay then had 3 attacks with the 3rd headed out by Turnbull for a corner from which Hopper headed clear. The ball came back in & Evans headed out for another corner from which the ball was cleared twice on the Stan goal line. It resulted in another corner from which Brass easily caught the ball. In 29 minutes, there was more Bay pressure & Stephenson had to slide the ball out for another corner. The Stan were living dangerously as Bay kept attacking. The Stan started to revive in 34 minutes & 2 minutes later Anderson was upended just outside the home box. Stephenson’s resulting free kick was only stopped by a great save from the home keeper. Anderson was then brought down again. In 39 minutes. Stephenson took the free kick & although the ball was initially cleared it remined in the box near Reid who was pushed in the back but nothing was given despite the calls from the Stan Army for a penalty. There was more pressure from Bay although in injury time Hopper sent a long ball to Anderson but he was off side. The half ended with Brass getting up to save although a Stan free kick was given as he was fouled while doing so.

Bay attacked from the start of the 2nd half although the Stan defence blocked their initial chance to score & the follow up shot was blasted over the bar. Both teams were trying to attack & in 53 minutes, after a foul on Reid just outside the Bay D which resulted in a yellow card, Stephenson sent his free kick over the bar. Brass had to make a save in 55 minutes & 2 minutes later the advancing Hopper was brought down. Stephenson’s resulting free kick was sent straight at the home keeper. Lashley replaced Greenwood in 59 minutes to freshen up the Stan attack although it was Brass who had to catch a headed Bay effort next. As the wind got up, there was more Bay pressure. In 65 minutes though, Brass sent a long ball up to Lashley who was brought down 30 yards out. Stephenson sent the resulting free kick round the wall & the home keeper had to dive full length to put his effort out for a corner. The ball from the corner was missed by everyone & the same thing then happened at the other end. In 70 minutes, Evans cleared followed by Lashley counter attacking but was offside. Soon after, Evans cleared a Bay corner before Brass caught from a home free kick. Both teams were trying to attack & in 77 minutes Evans cleared again followed by a Stan shot being blocked & a rebound shot was blasted off the underside of the home bar although an offside flag was raised. In 81 minutes, Day went down just inside the Stan box after Doyle’s foot had made contact & a penalty was awarded. Holmes took it &, although Brass went the correct way, he blasted the ball into the back of the Stan net to make it 1-0 to Whitley Bay in the 82nd minute. Both teams were still trying to attack. In 89 minutes, a Lashley shot from the edge of the box was blocked by the home keeper & the rebound shot was blasted just wide by sub Burn. In the 91st minute, the advancing Hopper was brought down but the referee decided that he was not in the box. The resulting free kick on the penalty box line was taken by Burn but his effort was blocked. Bay countered but Brass got to the ball &, wind assisted, sent it back up but the home keeper got it under pressure as he collided with Hopper who was booked. In 95 minutes, a Stephenson effort from the edge of the box was blocked. The last Stan attack resulted in Bay counter attacking & although 2 defenders & a diving Brass were beaten the attacking home player’s shot went just wide at the far post & the final whistle was blown soon after.

So it was to be nil points for the Stan as Whitley Bay got a late winner although the Stan also came close to also getting a 2nd half goal. The Stan now host Crook Town on Wednesday evening.

Kevin Mochrie

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Heaton Stannington vs Northallerton Town

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.

Kevin Mochrie

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Carlisle City vs Heaton Stannington

On Saturday 13th January, the Stan travelled to Carlisle City for their third consecutive away game of the new year. A crowd of 145, including a strong contingent of travelling Stan fans, watched a game of few quality chances, somewhat hampered by the effects of recent weather on the Carlisle pitch.

The opening quarter of an hour saw each team receive promising free kick opportunities with Reid firing over for Heaton and Marriott blocking a shot from Carlisle’s Jordan Palmer. Both teams struggled to link passes together or create any real goalscoring opportunities until Reid again shot over the Carlisle crossbar on 28 minutes. Shortly after the Stan were awarded another freekick on the edge of the box. Sayer whipped in a dangerous looking cross and shouts for a foul on Reid in the penalty area were waved away by the referee.

The deciding moment in the match came just 10 minutes later when a neat ball over the top found a Carlisle forward behind the Heaton’s defence. Brass came out quickly to close down the ensuing shot but a scrambled clearance fell straight to Birdsall. His follow up was again turned away by Brass but Jordan Holt was on hand to tap in for Carlisle.

A late corner from Hopper found Reid but he was unable to get the necessary power on his header to trouble Carlisle’s keeper and Sayer was unable to find the target with an effort in 1st half stoppage time. The hosts went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

The second half produced more clear chances for both sides. On 49 minutes Hopper’s cross was punched clear with a strong hand from Carlisle’s keeper before a scramble in the area led to Carlisle firing against Heaton’s bar. Hopper caused more problems for the Carlisle defence, beating a couple of players before shooting high and wide.

The 65th minute saw Lashley subbed on for Sayer and he almost immediately had an opportunity to shoot from distance. Once again, however, the Carlilse keeper wasn’t forced into action. Carr played in Lashley again minutes later, this time resulting in a corner but the Carlisle defence stood firm.

On 80 minutes Holt played in McCartney for Carlisle but Brass was once again on hand to keep the difference to one goal. The Stan managed to work a chance of their own a few minutes later from a throw in. Nice play between Greenwood and Reid resulted in a shooting opportunity for Greenwood but the keeper was equal to the task. Greenwood had another chance from a freekick in the dying minutes of the match but sent the ball into the stands. Despite a large amount of stoppage time due to an earlier injury to Carlisle’s Kirkup, the Stan were unable to rescue a point and had a frustrated Burn sin binned to round off the match.

It just wasn’t to be for Heaton today with strong defensive performances from both teams largely cancelling each other out. Weather permitting, Heaton go again on Wednesday night when they face Guisborough Town who currently sit just one point behind them in the table.

Sam Henderson

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North Shields vs Heaton Stannington

It was an important night for North Shields as they played their 1st match since 11 November & their 1st home one since 18 October & in doing so overcame not just the weather but also financial issues which saw the loss of their former manager & his entire playing squad. It was the Stan though who collected 3 points after a 4-0 win. There were 5 changes from Friday’s win at Seaham with Corkhill, Reid, Scott, Lamb & Lashley being replaced by Brass, Hornsby, Marriott, Stephenson & Anderson. Former Stan player Dean Holmes started for North Shields.

The Stan attack from the kick off & although Hopper won a corner, a goal kick was awarded. It was only 2 more minutes though until the Stan scored in a joined-up move involving Slaughter crossing to Hornsby who sent the ball back to the advancing Slaughter who supplied Sayer who crossed the ball into the box &, after Hopper had been blocked twice, Carr put the ball in the net. It was still mainly Stan & the home side did not get a clear attack until the 7th minute. In 8 minutes the Stan were 2-0 up when a great run by Hopper, after being supplied by Stephenson, saw him get past 2 defenders on the edge of the box then scored past the keeper from a tight angle for his 50th competitive Stan goal. There was then a great ball in by Hornsby but it was cleared &3 minutes later a Stepehson free kick was cleared. Anderson then had a shot deflected for a corner from which a Stan shot was blocked ion the goal line for another corner. From it, Sayer eventually shot well over. It was one way traffic as the Stan kept attacking & the expected 3rd goal came in 23 minutes when Sayer supplied Stephenson who was advancing down the middle of the pitch & unmarked comfortably slotted the ball past the home keeper for his 20th Stan goal & what a goal it was. North Shields then got out of their own half for the 1st time in 17 minutes. The Stan continued to look good & win most loose balls. In 37 minutes, North Shields had a rare attack which was blocked. When called on though, The Stan defence worked well & it wasn’t until 39 minutes when the home side had their 1st shot of the match which went wide. 3 minutes later they had a 2nd effort, from a free kick, which went wide. In 45 minutes, Slaughter slid in towards the ball & the goal line but was blocked followed by Hopper also being blocked.

The Stan started the 2nd half with an attack & a Stephenson free kick was cleared in the home box. North Shields though, unlike in the 1st half, quickly got into the game & started to prove more of a challenge to their opponents. As a result, the 1st 8 minutes saw mainly home pressure before a more even period of play. In 62 minutes, Slaughter senta long diagonal ball to Anderson in the home box but he was blocked & soon after he received the ball in front of goal but a poor connection allowed the home keeper to easily save his effort. 2 minutes later & Brass easily saved. North Shields then had another 2 shots cleared in front of the Stan goal. In 69 minutes though, & against the overall 2nd half so far run of play, the Stan were 4-0 up when Hornsby sent a diagonal ball into the box which Anderson headed down allowing Sayer to shoot into the home net. Despite the scoreline, both teams continued to try to attack & the rest of the 2nd half saw the Stan stepping up a gear again. In 76 minutes, sub Burn shot over. A long ball to sub Greenwood in the box some him turn a dfender but the keeper blocked his shot & also his rebound shot. A Stan long range effort in 83 minutes was deflected over the bar by the home keeper for a corner. A rare attack by North Shields in 90 minutes resulted ina  corner from which the ball was easily caufght by Brass. The match ended with the Stan attacking again.

Although the 2nd half was a more even affair than the 1st, the Stan had a comfortable win in front of the Daren Persson Stadium’s biggest crowd of the season (537). They adapted their tactics well to take account of the bumpy pitch & as a result continue to march up the table having won their last 3 games & with games in hand. The Stan, & a coach load of the Stan Army, travel on Saturday to Cumbria to take on Carlisle City.

Kevin Mochrie

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