The Stan’s 1st league match of the 20-21 season saw them host Carlisle City. There were 2 changes from the undeserved defeat in the FA Cup on Wednesday night with Dixon and Miller replacing Simpson and Stoddart. Luckily there was also a change in the weather with sunshine replacing Wednesday’s torrential rain which had been so bad that Thursday’s reserve match had to be postponed. The Stan dominated the 1st half and should have had the match sewn up by half time but failure to convert the chances, and a more even 2nd half, resulted in a draw.
The Stan started on the offensive and were in the lead after 5 minutes when Paterson got the ball on the edge of the box and shot low into the back of the net. A poor Carlisle pass back after 9 minutes saw Proctor nearly get in, but the ball was just cleared in time for a corner. Campbell broke through 3 minutes later but the keeper got to his shot. A free kick after 15 minutes saw Hoggins head wide. In the 19th minute, the Carlisle keeper made a fantastic double save blocking efforts by Hoggins and Campbell. After a quieter period, Miller tackled well to stop a Carlisle player before another headed wide. In 32 minutes, a Paterson counter-attack saw him run almost the full length of the pitch but his shot was blocked and Imray could not get the rebound effort in. In 41 minutes, the visiting keeper made a full length save from a Hall long shot and also had to clear 2 minutes later. The half finished with a Stan free kick going just over. They were in the lead but only by 1 goal when it should have been by at least 3.
Almost immediately in the 2nd half, the Stan were to regret not converting more of their chances when in the 47th minute a Carlisle cross resulted in the ball being headed into the Stan net by McCartney for 1-1. In 51 minutes, from a corner, the Carlisle keeper made a great full stretch save to prevent Bailey’s shot going into the net. It led to a Dixon free kick just outside the box which the keeper fingered over the bar. The ball from the resulting corner hit the far post and was put out for another corner. Regan had to clear after 54 minutes, and the ball from the resulting corner was headed wide. The Stan kept trying to attack although the next clear chance didn’t come to 73 minutes when sub Wright was brought down when advancing but Bailey’s header in the box from Wright’s free kick was caught by the keeper. In 78 minutes, Carlisle hit the post then Regan blocked a shot. Wright had another free kick in 80 minutes but this time he hit the wall. 2 minutes later and Hall had to clear a Carlisle effort. The Stan had 2 more chances to score, starting with Campbell putting a ball from a corner just wide with 5 minutes to go. A minute later and Wright sped down the right and crossed to the advancing Paterson in the box who had an open net but instead kicked the ball upwards and it was eventually cleared for a throw-in. In the 90th minute Carlisle shot wide followed by a Dixon ball being cleared at the other end. In the 94th and last minute, luck was with the Stan when a Carlisle corner was initially cleared but the ball went to one of their players in the 6-yard box and he somehow shot wide when he had an open goal. So luckily the Stan’s failure to convert more of their 1st half chances did not come back to haunt them and they can now look forward to a trip to take on Ryton and Crawcrook on Wednesday night.