Stockton Town FC v Marske United FC
Stockton were without skipper Coulthard and Dale Mulligan again for a game against one of the title contenders who included new signing from Whitby striker Mikey Roberts. With lots of connections between the two sides and lots of Stockton based players in Marskes line up a 'record' crowd(for a Stockton Town League game) poured into Bishopton Road West, despite the squally weather and it was looking like a proper Derby game.
The game started brightly with both teams trying to get onto the front foot, Stockton had the first effort with Owens turning and shooting over after a pass from Hayes. Marske's pacey forwards caused problems for Stockton in the 10th minute and the ball was worked into Roberts who curled it with the outside of his right foot into the far corner from 15 yards when Stockton thought they had it covered, to open his account for he seasiders . The game burst to life and Roberts had two good but off target efforts at goal either side of a long range shot from Woodhouse and it was Woodhouse on 30mins who's low drive could only be parried by Dean's finger tips for Coleman to clean up the rebound, unfortunately deemed offside. Marske were causing problems with their quick movement of the ball but Stocktons defence was standing strong. Mulligan finished the half with a great effort tipped around for a corner by Dean. HT 0-1
Second half saw Stockton start the brighter but Marske were busy and doubling up on Stockton's dangerous wide players. Stockton were pushing hard for an equaliser but this was leaving space and Marske exploited it freeing Roberts who cut in from the right and fired his second into the far corner beyond Arthur on 66. Owens almost got Stockton back into it 2 minutes leater with a cracking effort which brought a great save from Dean, unfortunately a poorly defended corner on 70 minutes allowed too much space for Butterworth to collect the ball and crash home a shot from just inside the box to punish Stockton once again and resign them to defeat. Craggs curled a fizzing strike just past the angle of the goal on 75 and Arthurs double save, at the feet of Bulmer and then getting up to brilliantly tip Butterworths 20yd effort over the bar got him the nod for LRN Design Ltd’s Man of the Match award. Final Score 0-3.
After a great 7 days for Stockton it was a disappointing but probably a correct result even though the score was a little harsh. Heart should be taken from the fact that this Marske side is full of quality, pace and experience and will certainly be in the mix for the title come next April. A bit of respite with a Vase game this weekend, however another tough fixture, which seems to be the norm at the moment.