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.