Five-Star Anchors get past Chester-Le-Street Town

Stockton Town scored five second half goals to cruise into the Second Round of the Durham Challenge Cup.

It took until the hour mark for the deadlock to be broken by Michael Sweet. The floodgates then opened as Adam Nicholson, Kev Hayes, Dale Mulligan and Johnny Haase netted to put Chester-Le-Street Town to the sword.

Manager Michael Dunwell named six changes to the side that beat Ashington 4-1 at the weekend. Notable ones included a second start of the season for goalkeeper Niall Frampton and a return to the starting line-up for Shane Henry since his injury.

Stockton had their first opportunity inside the opening minute when a cross from Lewis King found Mikey Roberts who saw his shot well blocked.

King and Roberts combined again as the latter narrowly missed the target after the former cut it across.

Just after the half hour mark, Chester-Le-Street had a rare go at goal when Tom McAloon sent a shot over the bar.

Following a quiet first half, Chester-Le-Street goalkeeper Ross Logan was tested for the first time when he kept Hayes effort from the edge of the box.

Logan was again equal when Hayes sent a thunderous strike at him minutes later.

Logan was having quite the spell as he pulled out a superb diving save to keep out a curling shot from Nathan Mulligan.

Eventually resistance was broken when Sweet pounced to fire into the bottom corner after a cross was headed out into his path. That made it three goals in as many games for the summer signing.

Two soon became three when a cross from the left was powered into the net by the head of Nicholson.

Logan continued to pull out the top saves as he did so again to deny a half-volley from Cameron Painter.

There was nothing he could do for Stockton’s third as Hayes caught Logan off his line and lobbed him with an effort from the halfway line.

With Stockton in control, a debut was handed to youngster Jack Spears. The Under-18 player had impressed during the FA Youth Cup run this season.

The goals continued to come as Stockton added a fourth goal when Dale Mulligan headed in from a corner.

The icing was put on the cake in the final moments when Haase scored his first for the club. The left-back found space down the left and unleashed a rocket into the near post.

That capped off a five-star performance from the Anchors.

Next up is home game against Grimsby Borough in the league.

Stockton Town: Frampton, King, Haase, Henry (Butterworth 56’), Nicholson (Bulmer 77’), D.Mulligan, Hayes, Painter, M.Roberts, N.Mulligan, Sweet (Spears 74’)

Unused subs: Thompson, Johnson

Chester-Le-Street Town: Logan, Grey, Atkinson, Pearson, Soulsby, Huddlestone, Brhane, Akai, Clarkson, Beattie, McAloon

Goals: 1-0, 61 min, Sweet; 2-0, 63 min, Sweet; 3-0, 73 min, Hayes; 4-0, 74 min, D.Mulligan; 5-0, 90 min, Haase

Attendance: 312

Words: James Cartwright

Photo: Harry Cook

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