A pattern is emerging as Stann cannot win two games in succession, but rather win one lose one. Hopefully that pattern will remain for Wednesday evenings FA Cup Extra Prelim. Round match against West Auckland. It was the turn of the visitors to raise their game, and after a fairly even, but scrappy first half, Star ran out worthy winners, with their striker Callum Johnson scoring two outstanding goals, to run out winners by three goals to nil.
The match was prefaced by the ceremony in which the NL presented former Stann Secretary, Ken Rodger, with the Arthur Clark trophy for his outstanding 60 years service to grassroots football.
Newcastle Blue Star kicked off on a cold, windy afternoon, but it remained dry for the game. A lively outset to the game. On 4 minutes Joe Blackbourne took a free kick on the right just inside his own half, which Richie Hoggins rose to and headed back across the goal but Conor Grant collected. The visitors also created a couple of chances. The game went from end to end, with neither side creating openings, and chances were few. However, on 25 minutes, David Mason weaved an opening for Darryl Basham, but having a chance to shoot he overdid the play and missed out on a golden opportunity. 4 minutes later, the visitors went ahead with a tremendous 25 yard shot which screamed into the top of the net giving Dan Regan no chance at all of saving. Afterwards, Steve Preen, Blue Star manager was purring about that goal, and placed it already as “their goal of the season.” Just past the half hour mark and Regan denied Liam Anderson to concede a corner, which came to nothing. However on 40 minutes a break away from Blue Star left Ben Pentland in but he blazed his effort well over the bar. Back came Stann, with 3 minutes remaining of the half, with Basham getting down the right flank, near to byline, and crossed only for both Hoggins and Mason to miss the ball and a goal went begging.
Views expressed to me about the first half were: “lively, scrappy, a game of few chances, and a chess-like match with not much to excite.” All that at the same game?
Blue Star were on the front foot from the restart, and looked eager to add to their one goal lead. But it was the home side which almost got back on level terms on 54 minutes when a David Mason shot hit the post and Basham following up fired over the bar. Stann substituted Josh Allan and Lee Johnson with Ryan Bailey and Dean Imray. At the other end Josh Scott hit a fierce shot which Regan put over the bar. Dean Deagle then replaced Gary Dixon. Star striker Andrew Bulford replaced Liam Anderson. On 65 minutes Joe Mole fed Sam Norris who was left with a one on one with Regan, who once again denied the visitors. Three minutes on and Basham’s inswinging corner was tipped over the bar by Grant, and then Imray was inches wide with a low drive. However, Blue Star struck again, with a second goal, on 73 minutes when Johnson ran through the middle of Stann’s defence and wonderfully clipped the ball over Regan. Mason smashed the ball over the bar after good work by Hoggins who played the ball back to him. Regan then denied Johnson his hat trick in another one on one. A Hoggins shot was saved by Grant, and a minute from time Mole chipped the ball over Regan to make it 0-3.
Much for Stann to think about following this performance. It is obvious that Connor Campbell is vital up front, and though understandably rested today in preference for Wednesday night, both he and Michael Hall are sure starters when fit, and the team need Paterson on the flank to provide some quality wing play and hopefully Joe Kerridge and Lewis Burns to get back soon. Maybe another quality player to be signed on as well. Roll on Wednesday evening.