Anchors carve out hard fought win over Stocksbridge Park Steels

Kev Hayes scored the game’s only goal as Stockton Town overcame Stocksbridge Park Steels at the MAP Group UK Stadium. 

Hayes, who started the game on the bench, came on and made an instant impact with a deft lob over the goalkeeper for what proved to be the winning goal.

Manager Michael Dunwell named a virtually unchanged starting XI from the one that beat Tadcaster Albion 5-0 with Mikey Roberts in for Hayes being the only change.

Stockton had the lion’s share of the early chances with an early mistake from the Stocksbridge defence leading to the first chance which Cameron Painter sent wide.

An excellent cross from M.Robert then found Matty Tymon with an acrobatic effort which narrowly missed the top corner.

M.Roberts again crossed to find Tymon but his off-balanced header went wide of the target.

Callum Roberts was called into his first action of the game as he pulled off an incredible save to tip a close-range header onto the crossbar.

He was called into action again on the half hour mark with a low save.

With ten minutes remaining till half-time, Stockton had an excellent opportunity when an inch-perfect cross from Lewis King evaded the goalkeeper but there was nobody to guide it over the line.

The last chance of the half came when Stephen Thompson had a thunderous effort which was a test for the Stocksbridge goalkeeper Ben Townsend.

Shortly after the hour mark, Stockton made the breakthrough when substitute Kev Hayes met a defence splitting ball through the middle and managed to lob the on-rushing Townsend.

Stocksbridge pressed for an equaliser with a dinked effort from Kurtis Turner almost too close for comfort for Stockton as it dipped just onto the roof the net.

The Anchors had chances to double their lead. A shot-cross from King found Tymon who saw his strike deflected wide.

Hayes typically cut in from the left but he his shot was over the bar.

C.Roberts was vital in preserving his third clean sheet in a row. A deep cross from the right was met by a Stocksbridge head but C.Roberts saved well, and again he was there to deny a close-range header from a corner.

The Anchors saw out the remaining minutes with some resolute defending to secure an important three points.

Stockton are back in action tomorrow when they make the trip to Consett.

Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, D.Mulligan, Coulthard, M.Roberts (Hayes 61), Butterworth, Tymon, Painter, Thompson (N.Mulligan 75)

Unused subs: Cooke, Bulmer, McDonald

Stocksbridge Park Steels: Townsend, Baker, Lemon, Townrow (Defalco 86), Oglesby, O’Connor, Turner, Wood (Bojang 72), Rawson, Macaskill, Ofoegbu

Unused subs: Tinker, Goodwin

Goals: 1-0, 62 min, Hayes.

Referee: Sam Parnaby

Attendance: 765

Photo: Harry Cook

Words: James Cartwright

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