Stockton Town FC v Consett AFC
Stockton welcomed back skipper Tom Coulthard but were without injured Paul Roddam and Dale Mulligan still on holiday for this tough FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round clash The League game a few weeks ago produced a 4-3 thriller with victory going to Consett, unbelievably this game surpassed that one for excitement and incident. Stockton certainly are giving spectators value for money atm.
Consett flew out of the blocks and caused problems down both flanks, Rogan skipped past Garbutt and his cross was c;leared only to the feet of Danny Craggs who lashed it past Arthur on 2 mins. Although Stockton were struggling to cope with Consett's quick tricky winger Elliot they were creating their own chances and after Arthur made a good save down to his left Stockton produced an equaliser when Garbutt found himself in space and crossed to the far post, Consett stood and watched as Carter made a great blind side run and headed home on 21. Minutes later a great ball from Mulligan found Carter in space down the right he pulled back for Woodhouse whos shot hit the post and the rebound was fired back in by Hayes and saved by the keeper. Just before the break 2 key moments, inexplicably the Referee gave a penalty to Consett after Arthur had done brilliantly to save at the feet of Consett's Hawkins. The decision was just as much a mystery to Consett as none of them appealed (check the video attached). Justice was done when Arthur produced his now trademark penalty save, diving to his right and holding on. Consett hit the bar in the dying seconds and everyone took a breath.
Second half was just as frantic and exciting. But despite Stockton being slightly the better side Consett took the lead on 74 with a cracking effort from Craggs, who was unmarked in a dangerous position and had time to pick his spot. Chris Stockton had replaced Garbutt and his first touch was to nip in between the hesitating Consett defence and nick it past the onrushing keeper to roll into the empty net on 77mins The final 15 mins was like defence versus attack end to end nail biting stuff with chances for both teams, great saves by both keepers and a brilliant goal line block by Tom Coulthard. FT 2-2
Extra TIme started just as normal time ended and it was Consett who restored their lead after just 2 minutes when Calvin Smith fired home from inside the box after another raid down the line. Sub Stockton was on hand again however on the stroke of ET half time to convert Colemans cross to make it 3-3, anybody's game now and the impressive fitness levels of both teams kept this match at a high tempo, as the game reached its conclusion Stockton seemed to take a grip, Coleman headed over a Craggs cross and a shot by Stockton was turned round for an injury time corner, Craggs delivered it and as it was cleared to the edge of the box, Super Sub Stockton muscled his way into a shooting opportunity and smashed it past the Consett keeper to make it 4-3. Cue pitch invasion by subs and wild celebrations. Consett only had time to kick off and the final whistle went.
A wonderful advert for local football, Consett will be disappointed especially after leading 3 times and missing a penalty but they cant deny Stocktons right to the victory, especially with some stunning individual performances from Arthur, Coulthard and of course hat trick hero Chris Stockton, who was on fire!!!
Name in the hat for 1st round proper and hopefully another attractive game in prospect