STOCKTON TOWN VS STOCKSBRIDGE PARK STEELS
COMPETITION: Northern Premier League East Division
DATE: Saturday 12th August, 2023
ENTRY: £9 Adult, £7 Concession, £3 Child (tickets available online or at the gate)
GROUND: MAP Group UK Stadium, Bishopton Road West, Stockton-On-Tees, TS19 0QD
LIVE UPDATES: @stockton_townfc – Twitter
Stockton Town kick off their third season of Northern Premier League football at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels.
The Anchors have been out of action since the end of July due to last Saturday washout at Whitby which caused a postponement to their final Pre-Season outing.
That meant the Pre-Season campaign ended at Norton where new signing Michael Fowler bagged a brace in a 2-1 win.
Finally it is time for the real action. Last year the season started with a bang as Stockton secured a 2-1 win over would be champions Worksop Town in front of a four-figure crowd.
Stockton and Stocksbridge Park Steels have met five times in all competitions, with the first of those being a goalless draw in Stockton’s first ever game in the Northern Premier League East.
Here are the results from the previous matchups:
25 Apr 2023: Stockton Town 2-2 Stocksbridge Park Steels (4-3p)- Northern Premier League East Division Play-Off Semi-Final
8 Apr 2023: Stockton Town 1-0 Stocksbridge Park Steels – Northern Premier League East Division
27 Aug 2022: Stocksbridge Park Steels 1-2 Stockton Town – Northern Premier League East Division
18 Dec 2021: Stockton Town 3-2 Stocksbridge Park Steels – Northern Premier League East Division
14 Aug 2021: Stocksbridge Park Steels 0-0 Stockton Town – Northern Premier League East Division
Manager Ian Richards enters his second full season in charge at Stocksbridge aiming to build on last season’s qualification for the Play-Offs.
He has managed to retain much of last season’s squad and has made some additions. They have added striker Jack Watson from Rossington Main who was instrumental in a title-winning season. Luke Hogg adds more NPL experience following arrival from Ossett United. Goalkeeper Harry Hampshaw has came in from Sheffield United, he had a loan spell with Stocksbridge last season. Finally, they have added two young defenders from Chesterfield in Jack Dolman and Dan Grierson.
The Steels also enjoyed a near perfect Pre-Season campaign, winning all but two of their nine games. They picked up eye-catching victories over a Sheffield Wednesday XI winning 3-0 and a Chesterfield XI winning 2-0.
VIEW FROM THE OPPOSITION
Speaking after their final Pre-Season Friendly, Manager Ian Richards looked ahead to Stockton:
“Stockton will be one of the favourites for the league and rightly so.
“The three games we played against them we were really competitive and we did excellent against them. That Play-Off Semi-Final it was 2-2, extra-time we had a goal disallowed and we lost on penalties.
“Saturday it’s a start of a new season and they have recruited well particularly in attacking areas and kept the majority of their squad. We have recruited well and kept the majority of our squad.”
In his Programme Notes, Manager Michael Dunwell said:
“I am really excited to get started. It is a home game so hopefully a big crowd will be in attendance like last season.
“It is a tough start but we are at home so I expect us to be really positive and take the game to Stocksbridge who will again be one of the top teams in the league.”