With a wipe out of all NL games it was a simple choice to go to Cochrane Park to see the Reeves Investment Services George Dobbins League Cup. A big gap between the 2 sides, Newcastle Blue Star top of the Bay Plastics Premier Division, against Heaton Stannington A, 14th in the Team Valley Carpets 2nd Division.
A spirited and gutsy performance from Stan A, who took the lead early on, competed well but conceded an equaliser with 15 minutes to go, and then lose in the penalty shoot out by 5 -3.
As early as 2 minutes Stan showed some of their quality with new player Daniel Morton showing excellent skills, playing a lovely ball down the flank to win a throw in.
On 10 minutes Stan opened the scoring when a poor back pass was collected by Tom Boothroyd who rounded keeper Sean McCafferty and netted his 4th goal of the season. 0-1
Star had a lot of the ball but they found it hard against a resilient Stan defence. A golden chance fell for Star on 27 minutes with a good run by Sam Norris but keeper Aidan Ripken blocked his effort.
Norris did well with a surging run with his cross headed away by Tom Jenkins. Blocks, headers, tackling, even getting into opponents penalty area, Stan doing very well.
Star’s Cameron McHarg resorted to a 35 yard shot which flew high over the bar. Almost on half time a corner on the right with Star centre forward Nelson Ogbewe heading down and over the bar.
Star upped their game with Joe Walker’s low shot comfortably saved by Ripken. No complacency in Stan team as they sought to accomplish a shock result.
Stan captain Callum Harris received an elbow to his face, incredibly no card.
Then McCafferty strangely carried the ball out of his area, free kick to Stan. No card! Thomas Robson hit the free kick straight at McCafferty.
Around the hour 5 subs from Star: Owen Gourley, Gary Ormston, Dean Holmes, Craig McFarlane and Dan Lanning coming on, 3 of them FA Vase winners, as they realised they needed experienced reinforcements to help them get the better of Stan.
Lanning hit a wild shot high and wide.
Great opportunity on 70 minutes for Boothroyd, a good run advancing to edge of the box but unable to get a shot in.
Star got an equaliser on 75 minutes with good link up play with Lanning smashing the ball into the net. 1-1
The veteran Gary Ormston took out Boothroyd as he sought a way through the home defence. So deliberate and cynical! But no card given!
It was no surprise to see Ogbewe foul Boothroyd, again no card.
Physically demanding for Stan. But on 89 minutes Stan’s Charlie Nagel sent a good ball forward for Boothroyd to chase, but he was stumbling but still managed to put his shot inches wide of the far post.
Strangely and amazingly Stan got the only booking of the game, Tom Robson, for nothing like as serious foul play as had gone on before.
On to penalties
5 good ones from Ormston, Craig McFarlane, Dean Holmes, Ogbewe and Lanning to win 5-3. Thomas Robson, Nagel and Morton scoring Stan pens.
Russell Ward said after the game, “I am extremely proud of all the lads. If there was any kind of justice, you would think, for the effort they put in and to get so close, and even had chances at the end to win it. It’s cruel to lose in that way. It’s not right to single out any one of them today, because I could talk about every single one of them. Subs as well. Every single player gave everything, absolutely everything.”
Well done to all the players and management of the team, a wonderful effort, a tough test, but much admired by many Stan fans around the pitch, and from new admirers as well as respect from those supporting Star.
Stan: Ripken, Peters (Lansley), Morton, Anjos (Forster), Harris (c), Jenkins, T. Boothroyd (E. Robson), Watson (Reed-Embleton), T. Robson, Doyle, Nagel.
Unused sub: Matthew Fairhurst
SMOM: Tom Jenkins