Penrith AFC v Stockton Town FC
The Anchors rounded off a successful 7 days with a routine victory away to relegation threatened Penrith. In a strange game lacking a little atmosphere and pace, goals from Max CRAGGS, from the penalty spot, after 5 minutes and a deflected Jimmy WARD shot from 25 yards after 9 minutes were enough to take all the points as Stockton utilised most of the squad and tried to conserve energy for what is now a busy season end with 5 (hopefully 6) games to play in a ridiculous 12 day period.
Tom Coulthard, Jamie Owens and Nathan Mulligan took their turn on the bench with Adam Nicholson, Alan Cossavella and Sonni Coleman starting the game as Michael Dunwell tried to keep all of his squad fit and fresh with games coming thick and fast after weeks of inactivity due to poor weather, lets hope the League thinks ahead next season and doesn't leave the Anchors high and dry with 8 consecutive away matches to finish off the season in the last 2 weeks. The small pitch and breezy conditions suited Penriths direct and robust style but they were rocked onto their heels by the Anchors fast start. It was all Stockton after that too as they threatened to overwhelm the Bonny Blues, Sonni Coleman heading just over from a Garbutt cross and Craggs and Woodhouse going close. A serious injury on 25 mins to Penrith player/manager Kyle May caused a long stoppage and afterwards the Anchors struggled to find the same rhythm. Nicholson and Mulligan had their hands full with Penriths physical strikers but coped and kept them at bay in a period littered with free kicks as the Bonny Blues tried to impose themselves on the game.
Second half was pretty innocuous tbh, Stockton looked the better football side and created 2 or 3 openings, doing enough to deserve the win by keeping the ball and working it down both lines but Penrith defended well and the final ball couldn't be found, Penrith pushed themselves into the game in the last 15 as Stockton eased off and although they didn't really look like scoring they did hit the bar and bring the save of the game from Arthur low down at the near post after a header from Adam Main in the last minute. Sonni Coleman's energy and effort edged him the man of the match over Woodhouse, although both full backs, Ward and Garbutt, were influential throughout and their quality shone through.
Micky Dunwell will be pleased with 3/3 wins on the road in 7 days and no injury scares as the Wembley arch looms on the horizon. Games on Tues/Thu/Sat this week again one of which is a League Cup Semi to negotiate and keep the players keen. However the prospect of playing Wed/Thu next week and then possibly a final 2 days later is totally unsatisfying but that's where we're at, I suppose its the drawback of success and the Beast from The East....
Penrith player/manager Kyle May's injury worryingly looked like a serious one and although detail was sketchy it appeared he had sustained a blow to the throat area which would require surgery later that evening. Thankfully following that procedure, reports say he is still poorly but doing well and expected to make a full recovery, albeit over a period of weeks. Everyone involved with Stockton Town FC sends their best wishes to Kyle and hopes for a speedy recovery