Anchors close out league campaign with Brighouse victory

Stockton Town will play away to Cleethorpes Town in the Northern Premier League East Division play-off semi-final after the Anchors beat Brighouse Town 3-1 on the final day of the season.

Nathan Mulligan’s penalty put Stockton ahead at half-time, with Nathan Steel and Kev Hayes on target in the second-half as the Anchors recorded their 19th win of their maiden Northern Premier League campaign.

Michael Dunwell’s side now face a trip down to the East Lincolnshire coast for their first ever play-off semi-final on Tuesday 26th April.

The manager named one change to the side which drew 2-2 with Marske United, with Tom Portas entering the starting line-up in place of Jonathan Franks.

Stockton were almost off the perfect start when Hayes’ lobbed attempt was cleared off the line by the head of Sam Reed in just the second minute.

Just minutes later, Nathan Mulligan whipped in a corner to the near post, Mikey Roberts took the ball down and struck on the turn, his effort was saved by Brett Soutar.

Mikey Roberts did excellently to keep the ball in play on the byline, Liam Cooke capitalised on a mistake at the back to race through but his effort was wide of the target.

Cooke then hit the post after turning away from his defender and striking the base of the woodwork.

Cooke was once again involved in the action as his shot inside the penalty area was saved the goalkeeper’s legs and Steel’s glanced header.

The Anchors were then awarded a penalty when Cooke was fouled inside the box, Nathan Mulligan stepped up and rifled his spot kick into the corner.

Within 90 seconds of the second-half, Stockton doubled their lead as Hayes slipped through Mikey Roberts, the forward sliced his effort and Steel fired home on the turn.

Zander Edwards fired over the bar on the edge of the area, before Nathan Mulligan curled over the wall from a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Hayes fired in a third for Stockton from Nathan Mulligan’s terrific ball over the top, the forward struck into the far corner on his right foot.

Brighouse pulled a goal back through Laurence Sorhaindo’s penalty following a handball in the area.

Mikey Roberts was unlucky not to add a fourth for Stockton as his lashed effort on goal crashed against the crossbar and Brighouse cleared their lines.

The Anchors saw the game out to head into the play-off off the back of a win, and will travel to Cleethorpes on Tuesday night.

Brighouse Town: Souter, Ibrahim, Reed, Grant, Wilkinson, Beeden, Smith (Khan, 46), Harrison, Sorhaindo, Boyle (Thomas, 55), Edwards (Clark, 63)

Subs Not Used: Nebard, English

Stockton Town: McDonald, King, McWilliams, Portas, Hall, Coulthard (D.Mulligan, 65), Hayes, N.Mulligan (Franks, 64), Steel, Cooke (A.Conway, 63), M.Roberts 

Subs Not Used: Owens, Bulmer

Goals: 0-1, 32 min, N.Mulligan (Pen); 0-2, 47 min, Steel; 0-3, 64 min, Hayes; 1-3, 69 min, Sorhaindo (Pen)

Referee: Matthew Tyers

Assistants: Chris Rose and Drew Dutton

Attendance: 505

Words: Jamie Beattie

Photo: Harry Cook

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