They say that bad things come in threes and tonight was the just that for the Stan in their first match of the new pre-season and also their first one post covid lockdown- The weather was miserable, there were no fans as matches currently have to be played behind closed doors and they got beat by FA Vase semi-finalists. Although Hebburn were the better side, the Stan tried to play and there were lots of optimistic signs for future matches especially with a larger and more match fit squad. There was some good news as, the day before, the Stan had been drawn to appear in the 20-21 FA Cup. This will be 100 years on from their first appearance.
On an almost perfect pitch, Hebburn started on the attack and immediately shot over the bar. Hebburn continued to have most of the ball and shot wide from a corner after 4 minutes. The Stan’s 1st attack in 7 minutes saw Campbell blocked before he could shoot and a minute later the Stan shot wide. Hebburn took the lead after 10 minutes when, from a corner, Ball punched the ball towards his own net and a high foot from Stoddart helped it over the line. The Stan didn’t give up and Paterson made a run but in 14 minutes Hoggins, who was playing in defence, headed towards his own goal from a Hebburn corner but Ball managed to clear. The Stan attacked again, initially through Campbell, and an Imray free kick through a crowded box was dropped by Foden in the Hebburn goal but Blackbourne couldn’t get a rebound shot in. There was then 5 minutes of sustained Hebburn pressure culminating in a 2nd goal for the visitors after 22 minutes. A corner ball into the box was hit against the bar and then was headed into the net by Graeme Armstrong. It was mainly Hebburn for the next few minutes as they came close to scoring again twice. The Stan got an attack in 32 minutes but Deagle was blocked. This was followed by Hebburn attacking and Blackbourne slipping when trying to clear but Ball blocked with his feet. He then saved from a corner. Another poor clearance saw Hebburn shoot over. The Stan then got forward again but Campbell was blocked. In 40 minutes, Hebburn hit the bar from a free kick on the edge of the box and Ball made a great save punching away the rebound header. The half finished with another Hebburn attack but Ball did well to block the ball from the resulting corner.
All 4 Stan subs, as Lee Johnson was unavailable due to work commitments, came on at half time. As the 2nd half went on some more switching took place between the outfield players with Hebburn doing likewise. Overall, the 2nd half was quieter but Hebburn had most of the early procession. The 1st clear attack of the 2nd half though came for the Stan after 50 minutes when Fodden had to clear. The Stan got their 1st corner 3 minutes later but it was easily cleared. A Hebburn shot was then blocked by Bailey and the ball from the resulting corner was blocked by Ball. The Stan countered through Robinson but he was blocked and he then crossed. In 56 minutes, Ball caught a free kick. The visitors then shot from within the box but it was deflected for a corner from which Town eventually shot over. Campbell then shot wide. In 63 minutes another Hebburn corner was cleared off the line. Almost immediately, a great long shot from Ollie Martin on the left went straight into the top right hand corner for 0-3. Hebburn had another long shot from a free kick 3 minutes later but it went wide. There was a rare Stan attack in 75 minutes and 2 minutes later Hebburn shot over. 2 minutes after that and Ball made a fantastic double save. He then blocked again soon after. In 83 minutes Robinson was brought down just outside the box but his free kick went well over the wall and bar. Foden had to clear a Stan shot soon after before Ball had to save at the other end. Robinson then headed wide from a Canham cross before Ball had to save again. The Stan attacked again but in 88 minutes Hebburn had the ball in the net although it was offside.
– Kevin Mochrie