North Shields vs Heaton Stannington

It was an important night for North Shields as they played their 1st match since 11 November & their 1st home one since 18 October & in doing so overcame not just the weather but also financial issues which saw the loss of their former manager & his entire playing squad. It was the Stan though who collected 3 points after a 4-0 win. There were 5 changes from Friday’s win at Seaham with Corkhill, Reid, Scott, Lamb & Lashley being replaced by Brass, Hornsby, Marriott, Stephenson & Anderson. Former Stan player Dean Holmes started for North Shields.

The Stan attack from the kick off & although Hopper won a corner, a goal kick was awarded. It was only 2 more minutes though until the Stan scored in a joined-up move involving Slaughter crossing to Hornsby who sent the ball back to the advancing Slaughter who supplied Sayer who crossed the ball into the box &, after Hopper had been blocked twice, Carr put the ball in the net. It was still mainly Stan & the home side did not get a clear attack until the 7th minute. In 8 minutes the Stan were 2-0 up when a great run by Hopper, after being supplied by Stephenson, saw him get past 2 defenders on the edge of the box then scored past the keeper from a tight angle for his 50th competitive Stan goal. There was then a great ball in by Hornsby but it was cleared &3 minutes later a Stepehson free kick was cleared. Anderson then had a shot deflected for a corner from which a Stan shot was blocked ion the goal line for another corner. From it, Sayer eventually shot well over. It was one way traffic as the Stan kept attacking & the expected 3rd goal came in 23 minutes when Sayer supplied Stephenson who was advancing down the middle of the pitch & unmarked comfortably slotted the ball past the home keeper for his 20th Stan goal & what a goal it was. North Shields then got out of their own half for the 1st time in 17 minutes. The Stan continued to look good & win most loose balls. In 37 minutes, North Shields had a rare attack which was blocked. When called on though, The Stan defence worked well & it wasn’t until 39 minutes when the home side had their 1st shot of the match which went wide. 3 minutes later they had a 2nd effort, from a free kick, which went wide. In 45 minutes, Slaughter slid in towards the ball & the goal line but was blocked followed by Hopper also being blocked.

The Stan started the 2nd half with an attack & a Stephenson free kick was cleared in the home box. North Shields though, unlike in the 1st half, quickly got into the game & started to prove more of a challenge to their opponents. As a result, the 1st 8 minutes saw mainly home pressure before a more even period of play. In 62 minutes, Slaughter senta long diagonal ball to Anderson in the home box but he was blocked & soon after he received the ball in front of goal but a poor connection allowed the home keeper to easily save his effort. 2 minutes later & Brass easily saved. North Shields then had another 2 shots cleared in front of the Stan goal. In 69 minutes though, & against the overall 2nd half so far run of play, the Stan were 4-0 up when Hornsby sent a diagonal ball into the box which Anderson headed down allowing Sayer to shoot into the home net. Despite the scoreline, both teams continued to try to attack & the rest of the 2nd half saw the Stan stepping up a gear again. In 76 minutes, sub Burn shot over. A long ball to sub Greenwood in the box some him turn a dfender but the keeper blocked his shot & also his rebound shot. A Stan long range effort in 83 minutes was deflected over the bar by the home keeper for a corner. A rare attack by North Shields in 90 minutes resulted ina  corner from which the ball was easily caufght by Brass. The match ended with the Stan attacking again.

Although the 2nd half was a more even affair than the 1st, the Stan had a comfortable win in front of the Daren Persson Stadium’s biggest crowd of the season (537). They adapted their tactics well to take account of the bumpy pitch & as a result continue to march up the table having won their last 3 games & with games in hand. The Stan, & a coach load of the Stan Army, travel on Saturday to Cumbria to take on Carlisle City.

Kevin Mochrie

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