Anchors reach Play-Off Final with victory over Carlton Town

Stockton Town advance to Pitching In Northern Premier League East Division Play-Off final with a hard fought victory over Carlton Town.

Michael Dunwell named an unchanged line-up from the side that topped Belper Town 4-0 on Saturday.

1637 spectators made their way into the ground on what was a lovely April evening; perfect for a football match.

After a high speed start from both sides, the Anchors had the best chance in the 11th minute when Mikey Roberts was fed through on goal inadvertently by a white shirt, his effort was well saved by Felix Annan and Glen Butterworth’s scuffed rebound was clawed away by the Ghanaian goalkeeper.

Carlton’s biggest opportunity of the first half followed in the 30th minute when a quick counter attack led to an open half-volley, forcing Nathan Harker into a strong save.

As it looked as though the sides were heading into the break level, good combination play from Josh Baggs and Cameron Painter on the left led to the latter putting a fine cross into the box which was bundled over the line by Glen Butterworth.

Half-time: Stockton Town 1-0 Carlton Town

The Anchors were fired up after the resumption of the game and had a flurry of chances to open the half but couldn’t find the back of the net with any of them.

Kevin Hayes had a good chance to give the Anchors a second goal when he was given tonnes of space on the right wing, he reached the byline but his cutback evaded everyone in a yellow shirt.

The visitors then called for the best out of Nathan Harker as a curled shot from the right was met by the Anchors’ number one at full stretch.

Mere minutes later, in the 68th minute, the lead was doubled when Kevin Hayes cut inside and drove a low shot towards goal which was parried by Felix Annan, only to the feet of Glen Butterworth who slotted home nicely to give Stockton that crucial two-goal cushion.

Carlton looked to have had a great opportunity to score as they broke into the box, through on goal, but a heroic, sliding challenge from Lewis King met the attacker before a shot headed goalwards.

The Anchors defended their lead with all their might, and helped by some fantastic stops by Nathan Harker, looked resilient as the game headed towards its final stages.

Full-time: Stockton Town 2-0 Carlton Town

The Anchors now head into their third successive Pla-Off final, where this time local rivals Dunston will visit the MAP Group UK Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Stockton Town: Harker, King, Coulthard, Nicholson, Baggs, Painter (Henry 77’), Portas, Hayes, Butterworth, Roberts (Beddow 71’), Fowler (Sweet 89’)

Unused Subs: McWilliams, D. Mulligan

Carlton Town: Annan, Adegbola, Durrow, Brown, Freeman, Tempest (Davie 54’), Manneh, Sargeant, Hardwick (Jebbison 64’), Howes, Hylton

Unused Subs: Liburd-Hines, Dearle, Bateman

Goals: 1-0, 41 min, Butterworth; 2-0, 68 min, Butterworth.

Attendance: 1637

Photo: Harry Cook

Words: Jordan Clarke


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