Heaton Stannington set off strongly against 7th placed Boldon, with good play and control of the game, and opened the scoring in the first half, only to have heartache in conceding an 88th minute winner, with a tap in from top NL2 goalscorer Levi Collins, to give the visitors a 3-2 win and move them up to 4th in the table..
Dean Holmes great run leaving 3 or 4 defenders in his wake, but his cross was cleared. Collins had a tame shot to Regan. From a corner Liam McBryde headed just wide on 4 minutes.
Rhys Groves put in an impeccable tackle a minute later, to deny Collins a shot.
A good move with an Evan Howard shot just past the post on 11 mins. Five minutes later, following good passing from Stan, Howard played the ball back to Stephenson who from around 25 yards hit a fierce drive which was only inches over the bar. Jay Hornsby, back in the team, and doing well, set up McBryde to volley low from a tight angle, which Andrew Hunter saved.
Andrew Burn was also playing well, he robbed Collins in midfield and drove the Stan forward, more good passing between the home players.
It was no surprise that the hosts opened the scoring on 28 mins from a short corner by Stephenson to David Luke, a great cross to far post for McBryde to head in 1-0,
All going well for the league leaders. Michael Hall doing well at the back, Hornsby back to his best, Burn, Stephenson and McBryde very good.
But on 41 mins Regan came out of his area to challenge Charlie Walker, both went over, but ref allowed play to go on, as Collins in and an empty net, but surprisingly, he hit the side netting. Regan booked. Stan could have been down to 10 men.
One minute later Boldon equalised from Daniel Hopper, his first shot blocked but he hit rebound into top of the net 1-1.
Just on the stroke of the interval, Stephenson hit a goal bound shot which Hunter dived full length to push away to McBryde who netted, but was flagged up for offside.
I wonder what the Half time team talk was in both dressing rooms?
Boldon playing well, on 57 minutes Collins in on 1 on 1 with Regan, poked his shot past the keeper, but it hit the post. What a let off for Stan. On the hour David Luke fired over the bar.
Stan getting better and on 66 minutes 3 great chances. Hunter made 2 saves, 1st from McBryde, 2nd from Holmes was unbelievable, and finally McBryde shot wide.
Collins was booked, having kicked the ball away when penalised. Did he say too much to the referee?
72 Minutes Mix up between Hall and Regan, tap in for Levi Collins, 1-2
With 10 minutes remaining Kevin Car and James Proctor replaced Stephenson and Holmes.
With seven minutes remaining Collins missed another chance in 1 on 1 with Regan, who got his hand on his shot with Hall clearing up field.
84 minutes Esdaille on for Groves
On 87 minutes Stan equalised with a precise through ball by Esdaille for McBryde, and he made no mistake.2-2 His 28th league goal. Strong emotional response from home fans in a crowd of 307.
But from elation to consternation, dismay as mix up 2 occurred. Regan and Hall, header to a keeper who was not where he thought he might be, and another tap in for Collins. 39 league goals.
I felt very sorry for a traumatised Hall with the mix ups.
6th defeat this season.
Dean said to me, “We started the game really well and created plenty chances. Probably we could have been a goal up before we did score. But you can’t give goals away at this level.
We have given them goals. We win together and lose together so no problems. We all stick together and go again Friday against Durham. 8 games to go.”
Credit: Joe Street