A late blip, conceding 2 goals, failed to dampen the satisfaction of another encouraging display, especially in the first half, as the Anchors swept past Evostick side Pickering Town at Bishopton Road last night.
Michael Dunwell shuffled his pack again to try and look after some tired legs and after an even opening 10 minutes Stockton pretty much bossed the rest of the half and apart from a good block from Dan McWilliams and a half chance for the Pickering No 9, the first half was played mainly in the opposition half.
The only surprise was it took 28 minutes and a Penalty, after Woodhouse was fouled, to open the scoring. Nathan Mulligan converting in his typical assured thumping style. Before that Risbrough and Hayes had caused all sorts of problems and King and McWilliams were joining in to give Pickerings full backs a torrid time. Woodhouse even pulled out a couple of party tricks!
After the penalty, the anchors piled it on, Mulligan and Hayes both had good shooting chances on the end of sweeping moves but couldn’t find the target. 38 minutes saw the lead doubled when Mikey Roberts bundled the ball in from close range after another lovely passing move involving all the forwards saw the ball drop invitingly to Kev Hayes who crashed a left foot volley on target forcing a brilliant save from Pickerings Keeper only for him to see the Stockton Striker waiting to sweep up the rebound.
Tom Coulthard almost made it 3 just before half time when his header was inches from going in from McWilliams cross. Pickering looked happy to see the break.
Second half was a lot more even, the Anchors made several changes and they struggled to maintain the same rythym and Pickering found a lot more space and therefore possession in the midfield. Stockton were still dangerous and Kev Hayes, playing a central striker role, got the goal his performance deserved as he skilfully collected at the far post and slipped the ball past the keeper after more good work by James Risbrough, this time operating on the right side, .
Pickering to their credit continued to work hard and dragged themselves into the game scoring twice after 77 and 83 minutes with similar type finishes, taking advantage of Stockton being temporarily down to ten men.
However it was the Anchors who had the last word and trialist Wilson made it 4-2 with 4 minutes left with a nice finish.
A hugely encouraging display by the whole squad and the competition for places is plain to see. Lewis King stood out again at right back and has took the eye of the Anchor faithful already.
Mulligan and Robinson looked after the shop efficiently while Risbrough, Hayes, Woodhouse and Roberts were too hot to handle most of the time for the opposition defence. The lads get a little break now before taking on our old Wearside Adversaries Redcar Athletic, now a NL Div 2 team, on Wednesday 10th July.
Stockton Town FC – Starting XI
Callum Roberts, Lewis King, Dan McWilliams, Jordan Robinson, Adam Nicholson (C), Tom Coulthard, Nathan Mulligan, Kev Hayes, Mikey Roberts, Fred Woodhouse, James Risbrough
Subs: Alan Cossavella, Jimmy Ward, Tom Portas, Max Craggs, A Trialist, B Trialist