Shildon vs Heaton Stannington

Due to this seasons fine English weather this was the first meeting of the season between the two clubs, it was also a big day for the hosts Billy Greulich‐ Smith who was playing his 400th game. It was also great to see Adam Lennox on the field for Stan after a long period of injury.

The Stan arrived at the game knowing it would be a difficult ask against a team second in the league and on a good run, however the Spring Sunshine and warm welcome gave cause for optimism. The opening exchanges were pretty even with both teams creating some half chances in the first 15 minutes of the game. The brightest moment of the game for Stan came in the 18th minute with a lovely goal, Jordan Lashley picking the ball up on the half way line and playing a long cross field pass to Andrew Burn who controlled it and drilled a low cross from the left edge of the box into Leighton Hopper who controlled it and volleyed home for a lovely opening goal. Sadly along with the Sunshine this was as bright as it got for the Stan as Shildon came back into the game with the Sun disappearing.

The next 10 minutes saw Shildon grow into the game and put Stan under increasing pressure, they got their rewards on 35 minutes when Billy Greulich-Smith got his first goal of the game heading past Callum following a cross from the left wing. Shildon continued to press, intent on using the wings with the industrious Kane Evans doing well to stop multiple attacks. On 40 minutes Shildon took the lead through a thunderous shot from the Shildon right back, he picked the ball up on the half way line ran into space and let a shot fly from 40 yards out the ball hitting the back of the net with Callum rooted to the spot. The sunshine had well and truly gone, replaced by light drizzle and Stan went into the break with it all to do second half.

Stan came out of the second half knowing they had to come out of the traps fast and get the next goal unfortunately Shildon got the third on 50 minutes. Conceding a soft third as Turnbull was beaten to a speculative ball into the box by Billy who took it down and bobbled the ball past a stranded Callum. On the 56th minute Dean and Andy made a double change trying to change the direction of the game with Stephenson and Palmer replaced with Sayer and Doyle. From this point the game became broken and scrappy with a number of stoppages for injury and more substitutions Lennox and Reid coming on for Burn and Lashley in the 64th minute, Jay for Leighton in the 80th minute.

Stan tried their best to push following Shildon’s third but not really threating the opposition goal with Shildon continuing to look dangerous. Shildon got their forth on 77 minutes as the Shildon winger cut through the back line, firing a shot at goal from the edge of the box that was saved by Callum, the ball rebounding off his legs straight back to the winger who made no mistake tucking into the top corner. On 87 minutes the Stan could have had a consolation with Lennox turning brightly in the box but firing wide with the goal at this mercy.

The Stan started brightly but ultimately Shildon ran out worthy winners, stifling our attack and being clinical at the other end of the pitch. We will meet again soon and look forward to welcoming Shildon to Grounsell Park in what is sure to be a good game. Special mention to Kane Evans who was voted MOM by the travelling Stan Army, solid throughout and never took a backward step.

Neil Drummond

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