Stockton Town completed a perfect November run with a strong 3-1 victory at Brighouse Town.
Michael Fowler’s fourth goal in as many games gave the Anchors an early lead, which was followed up by an outstanding free-kick by Kevin Hayes later in the half.
Hayes added to his tally in the second half from inside the box, and the Anchors didn’t panic after a late Brighouse consolation goal.
Michael Dunwell named one change to the side which stunned Belper Town 7-1 last weekend, bringing Cameron Painter in for Shane Henry in the midfield.
Within the first four minutes, the Anchors were ahead. A long-ball down the right-wing unleashed Kevin Hayes whose right-footed cut-back into the danger area was bundled over the line by Michael Fowler, to further extend his impressive run of goals.
The Stockton lead was nearly doubled a mere two minutes later, when Kevin Hayes’ right-footed strike was very well stopped by a diving Jamie Hassall.
Stockton kept on the pressure after the early opener, and it was the woodwork that denied a second goal in the 19th minute when Stephen Thompson drilled a low shot from the edge of the area which bounced off the post before being cleared away from danger.
Three minutes later, it was the crossbar that kept Stockton out as Kevin Hayes’ powerful attempt rattled the woodwork and Cameron Painter’s rebound was denied by the goalkeeper.
Kevin Hayes couldn’t be kept out any longer, when in the 30th minute Stockon’s little magician curled an unstoppable free-kick straight into the top corner, out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
Brighouse had a few chances from distance before the break, the best of which in the 38th minute when a rocket from the edge of the box smashed the inside of the post and was met by a yellow shirt to clear.
Half-time: Brighouse Town 0-2 Stockton Town
In the first 60 seconds following the restart, it was nearly a third for the Anchors when Glen Butterworth was played through one-on-one, but Hassall in between the Brighouse sticks made himself big to keep his attempt out.
Michael Fowler was next to have a huge opportunity to extend Stockton’s advantage in the 54th minute, when he latched onto a long-ball and rounded the goalkeeper, but in doing so, closed down the angle to the goal. Despite some composure to try and open the angle, he couldn’t sneak the ball past the recovering defenders on the line.
After 71 minutes, the Anchors found their third of the day, when Kevin Hayes’ close-control inside the box led to a calm finish for his eighth goal in the four league games in November.
The hosts’ had some good opportunities in the second-half, and they found a goal in the 81st minute when Myron Gibbons poked home from inside the area after a goalmouth scramble.
Young substitute Jack Spears was inches away from his first senior goal in added time, but he saw his powerful half-volley tipped wide by the goalkeeper.
Full-time: Brighouse Town 1-2 Stockton Town
The result means Stockton remain at the top of the table ahead of Cleethorpes Town’s visit to the MAP Group UK Stadium next weekend.
Brighouse Town: Hassall, Smith, Webster, Phillipson (Grant 56’), Nebard, Dando, Bedford, Drake, Butterworth (Ceesay 56’), Normanton (Crook 63’), Gibbons
Unused Subs: Qasim, Helliwell
Stockton Town: C. Roberts, King, Coulthard, Nicholson, McWilliams, Butterworth, Painter, Fowler (Henry 63’), Thompson (Spears 86’), M. Roberts
Unused Subs: D. Mulligan, N. Mulligan
Photo: Harry Cook
Words: Jordan Clarke