Heaton Stann began the game top of Division 2 but slipped to fourth following this draw at the Welfare Ground, Boldon, with a fine two goal start but managed to slip behind and then rescue a point and had a winner chalked off in the dying moment of the game with a controversial decision.
Heaton Stannington were without Liam McBride, Dan Stephenson and James Proctor.
In the very first minute Connor Campbell played a pass for Dean Holmes, but it was just a little behind Holmes and keeper Andy Hunter saved comfortably. But three minutes later they did open the scoring when Kevin Carr played the ball over the home defence for Leighton Hopper and he lifted it up and over the advancing keeper, but John Hall rescued the South Tyneside outfit by scrambling the ball for a corner on the right. From it, a pass to Holmes who moved inside and curled a shot into the top far corner of the net. What a great finish. 0-1
Ryan Bailey put a good ball through for Jay Hornsby who swept forward down the left flank, but shot wide. Lee McAndrew put a great ball across from the right which Campbell headed goalwards which Hunter superbly tipped over the bar.
Stann added a second goal on 11 minutes, following a short corner by McAndrew, Holmes crossed to the far post for Laquan Esdaille to tap in. 0-2. Were the hosts on the ropes?
No, for they pulled one back a minute later, Oscar Taylor on the right, crossed, and the ball went into the top far corner of the net. A fluke, but it gave Bolden confidence!
Campbell and Andy Burns had chances but on 22 minutes Levi Collins hit the post with a low shot from the edge of the area.
Stann centre back Michael Hall went to ground on 24 minutes, and need treatment. In the hot baking sun, the rest of the players took a needy water break. Hall was substituted with a hamstring problem, replaced by Kyle Dobson
On 31 minutes a cross from Collins on the right and Taylor got the equaliser, a low shot that beat Dan Regan, for his eighth league goal of the season.
Boldon were now in the ascendancy in this pulsating match. Collins with a clever shot clipped the bar and over. He was then fouled, the free kick 30 yards out, hit Ryan Bailey, in the wall, in the face, and more treatment needed.
Taylor tried a bicycle kick which hit the inside of the post and rolled back to safety.
In the fourth added on minute at the end of the half, Stephen Graham put in a very good curling cross from a free kick on the left, and Hall netted. 2-2 What a turnaround! Boldon had wondered what had hit them, but then the fluke game changer, and as they grew in confidence they began to dominate, deserving their slender lead.
I wonder what the Stann manager said to his team in the interval? On 51 minutes Alexander McBeth got in a timely tackle to deny Campbell having a shot, when he looked likely to score.
Two minutes later Collins had the ball in the net, but it was ruled offside.
Stann equalised on 58 minutes, a Hopper shot was deflected for a corner. McAndrew took the corner, to the far post for Esdaille to head back into the middle for Hopper’s overhead kick to fly into the net. 3-3
On 67 minutes Dobson was booked for a foul on Collins, just outside of the area, and from it, Collins hit the crossbar.
A good save by Hunter to deny Holmes, and Stann made a double substitution, bringing on Kye Waters for Carr, and Joe Blackbourne on forDobson.
Then came the dramatic end to the game. In the fourth minute of added on time, Hopper played the ball out left and forwards for Hornsby to run onto and get to the byline, crossed well into a crowded area, the ball ending up in the net. The officials were confused, for one said Hornsby was offside, whilst another said a Stann foot was just offside.
Though the decision was controversial, the result was fair on Boldon, who had played their part in a game that could easily have ended five each, or more.