The Stan earned a deserved win against a hard-working University team at Kimberley Park, Prudhoe. There was 2 changes from the win against Easington last Saturday with Hall replacing Watson and Burn replacing Esdaille.
On a hot & sunny afternoon, it was made clear to the Stan in 3 minutes that they would need to work for the required victory when Regan was forced to make a great save with the resulting corner being cleared. Hopper then had a shot blocked for a corner &, after much battling between the 2 teams, he saw a headed effort from a free kick put out for another corner by Dekanski the home keeper. From the corner, a curving effort by McBryde went just over. 2 minutes later and Proctor made a great run passing to Holmes whose effort was blocked for a corner. From the resulting 3 corners, Dekanski & his defence had to work hard to clear.In 14 minutes, Stephenson’s free kick into the box saw McBryde shoot just wide. It was then mainly Stan pressure until the next Uni attack in 19 minutes. Both teams were trying to attack although the next dangerous effort didn’t come until 26 minutes when the home sides’ No5 made a solo run and shot just over. Soon after the Uni shot over again. There was a lot of battling in the middle of the pitch although the Stan were quieter until 36 minutes when both teams had a couple of attacks. The last 5 minutes of the 1st half saw some more Stan pressure with Dekanski having to clear a Proctor header in 42 minutes. Stepehnsonthen sent a ball up to Proctor who put it wide when he had a good chance to score. The Uni remained a threat though with the battling continuing. The half finished with a speculative Uni long range effort that went just wide followed by a sustained Stan attack where no one could get a clear shot until McBryde put the ball just wide.
The Stan started the 2nd half positively despite the pressure on them to score after a blank 1st half. It was the Uni though who had the 1st clear effort of the half in 52 minutes when Regan had to make a great full stretch save. The much needed 1st goal eventually came in 56 minutes with the Stan’s 1stclear effort of the half when Luke won the ball & passed to Proctor who supplied the advancing Holmes who comfortably shot into the net under pressure. Proctor had to be replaced by Walsh 2 minutes later due to injury. The Stan kept the pressure on until the 66th minute when the Uni had another attack although the Stan counter through Walsh came to nothing. In 69 minutes, the Stan Army’s nerves were tested when a deflected home shot saw Regan’s great save hit the post before he pushed the ball wide. Well done Dan. In 70minutes, a Stephenson free kick was sent into the crowded home box but McBryde put it wide & over. The Stan kept the pressure on & Holmes shot just wide from a Stephenson cross. 2 minutes later though the Uni did have an attack & a resulting corner cleared & they shot wide 3 minutes later. The Uni were looking more dangerous now although the much needed 2nd Stan goal came in 79 minutes & what a goal it was! Holmes won a corner & Walsh sent a perfect corner ball into the the box which saw Hopper confidently head over everyone into the back of the net. Dean reinforced the team with 2 more subs but neither team stopped trying to attack but without any more clearefforts.
A huge Stan Army following were present to witness Dean Nicholson and his squad achieve this important win. In fact, the crowd of 191 more than trebled the Uni’s highest home gate so far this season before today of 58. With Easington losing but Carlisle wining, the Stan now have to keep an eye on both team’s 3 games in hand (starting with the match between them on Monday) to see if they do not have to wait to their 1 remaining league match, in 2 weeks time away to Easington, to secure the league title.
Credit: Joe Street
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