Stockton finally won an FA Cup game at their 5th attempt and it was a pretty convincing result although Nostell played their part, especially early doors when they ruffled the Anchors feathers but the boys in yellow responded brilliantly to the delight of most of the 396 spectators. James Risbrough and Nathan Mulligan made their first starts of the season as Micky Dunwell, with an abundance of talent at his fingertips, shuffles his pack.
It was a bright start to the game and the early evening rain showers had made the already quick surface even more slick. Nostell had come to play tonight and were more positive than at the weekend and their intent surprised Stockton. That turned to shock as Nostell took the lead on 14 minutes Collier whipped in a free kick from the left, the ball evaded keeper Arthur and Danny EDWARDS headed home into an empty net at the far post. Silence fell on the Bishopton Road West ground but not for long, just a minute later a lovely probing ball down the left from Risbrough to Mulligan bursting into the box he found OWENS who produced an outstanding finish to dummy the defender turn and dink the onrushing Rusling from close range and make it 1-1.
Stockton were now in the mood and they pushed the Wakefield boys back. Pete Bulmer cut in from the right and with quick feet jinked around 3 defenders before side footing a shot low down that beat Rusling only for Kilburn to clear it off the line. The resulting corner found its way eventually to Nicholson at the far post 16 yards out, he worked the ball onto his favoured left foot and his powerful shot was beaten away by Rusling.
James Risbrough was involved in most of the good stuff, he fizzed a low cross in but Woodhouse couldn’t connect and then together with Dan McWiliams he worked a position wide and pulled the ball back to Owens who deceived the keeper by curling his shot instead of going for power but it was just wide
The Anchors took the lead 5 minutes before Half Time and it was a simple but technically brilliant goal. Tom Coulthards towering 50 yard cross field pass was superbly controlled on the run with his chest by Risbrough, he rounded Kilburn and pulled it back to Fred WOODHOUSE on the 18 yard line who finished right footed low into the corner (with the help of a little deflection) to take the Anchors into the break leading 2-1
Second half again saw a slightly sloppy start for the Anchors again and for 10 minutes the game went scrappy, the assuring presence of Coulthard, Nicholson and Robinson kept things tight however and the game turned on 56 minutes when Risbrough slipped the ball to OWENS who’s strength as he turned the defender found him the space to get off a powerful left foot shot from 12 yards which flew across Rusling into the far corner giving him no chance. The Anchors visibly relaxed after this and pretty much controlled the remaining 30 minutes carving out several chances although Nostell never backed off at any stage and ran their socks off for the cause.
Freshened up by a couple of Substitutions Stocktons pace and movement was stretching Nostells back line. Some nice movement and passing involving Woodhouse and Hayes set up Owens who was inches away from a hat trick with a bullet shot from 20 yards and another one into the side netting, then it was Hayes himself who linked with Mulligan before whipping a curling shot inches over the bar. On the other side Risbrough was causing all sorts of problems and he whipped in a cross after a move involving McWilliams and Robinson which Mulligan met with his head only to flick it agonisingly wide. Next it was Risbrough again who just had the ball nicked off his toe as he was about to finish a pull back from the bye line from sub Roberts.
Rusling was called into action now as he saved brilliantly from Mulligan as he burst past the Nostell back line to shoot from the edge of the box, the keeper getting down low to block it one handed.
Nostell were still trying hard and the Anchors needed to finish them off and it was the subs who came to the show, with Cieran JACKSON winning the ball in midfield and continuing his run into the 18 yard box to latch onto Roberts pass and finish really well for his first competitive goal for Stockton with 5 minutes left.
Then in the 90th minute Mikey ROBERTS scored a lovely individual goal taking the ball around the defender and shooting across Rusling into the far corner to complete a comprehensive victory for the Anchors . Full Time 5-1
Into the FA Cup Preliminary Round 1 for the very first time with a convincing win which will delight the management, a difficult game away at Northallerton is the reward. Another plus was a couple more players getting game time in a hugely competitive squad this season and with loads of games now piling up in September everyone will be called on at some point. Jamie Owens took the sponsor man of the match for two superb goals and its good to see him coming into match fitness, but Risbrough did well on his season debut, aided by McWilliams and was involved in lots of good stuff, Robinson was excellent as usual, sweeping up in front of the defence and the trusty backbone of Coulthard and Nicholson gave nothing away. Onto a tough run of games now which will test everyone but when doesn’t it in this relentless league.
Stockton Town: Arthur, Bulmer, Coulthard, Nicholson(c), McWilliams; Hayes(Jackson 75′), Robinson, Mulligan, Woodhouse(Portas 70′), Owens (M Roberts 70′), Risbrough.
Subs not used: Ward, Craggs, Wilson.
Goals: Owens 14′ & 56′; Woodhouse 40, Jackson 85′, M Roberts 90′.
Nostell MWC FC: Rusling, Kilburn, L Owen(Ball 87′), Cowgill, Meynell(c), Teasdale, Almond(Hawkhead 87′), Hayton(Horbury 64′), Edwards, Reece, Collier.
Subs not used: Brooke.
Goals: Edwards 13.
Words: Lee Nicholson
Highlights: James Cartwright
Photos: Harry Cook