Stockton fell to back-to-back home league defeats with a disappointing 3-2 Boxing Day reverse against Guisborough Town.
A thrilling first half saw an abundance of goalmouth action and it was two Nathan Guru goals followed by a successfully converted spot kick by Mark Robinson that saw the visitors leave the Coverall Stadium with the points.
An end-to-end start saw both sides have chances to break the deadlock in the early going. The away side could have led inside two minutes when Danny Earl nodded a long ball into the path of strike partner Mason McNeill. He struck a left-footed effort at goal but cut across the ball and failed to test Josh Moody.
At the other end, an effort from nothing almost caught Guisborough off-guard. Shabs Mohammed hit a rasping effort from range that required Jordan Nixon to be at his best, the visiting captain pulling off a fantastic save to preserve parity.
The deadlock was broken on ten minutes when Guru met Joe Ferguson’s corner from the right, heading into the ground and into Moody’s net to seize the initiative for his side.
The lead was short lived as the Anchors rallied and hit back from a set piece of their own. Max Craggs curled in a free-kick from the left that looped over everyone but didn’t elude captain Adam Nicholson, who smuggled the ball home at the back post to drag his side back on terms.
A frantic first half continued and Stockton found themselves behind once again just seven minutes later. It would again come from a corner with Guru finding the net from Steven Roberts’ delivery on this occasion. The Anchors appealed for handball but the referee was unmoved and Stockton had conceded twice to set pieces inside the opening half an hour.
They were given a mountain to climb when Guisborough scored a third, seven minutes before the interval, after the referee had awarded them a penalty. Robsinson stepped up and coolly converted from the spot, sending Moody the wrong way.
It had been a difficult half for Stockton but they wrestled their way back into the game and finished the opening stanza with a flourish. On the stroke of half time, Mikey Roberts surged into the box and committed Nixon before pulling the ball back to Fred Woodhouse. He hammered the ball home and there was a different mood around the Coverall Stadium.
The Anchors could have gone in level when they were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position two minutes into first half injury time. The ever-deadly Craggs stepped up and struck a wonderful effort that beat the wall, dipped but cannoned back off the bar as the referee brought proceedings to a halt.
If the first half was full of attacking threat, the second was its opposite with the Priorymen keeping a tight shape that Stockton found difficult to break down.
It was the visitors that had the best two chances of the half as first, Brian Close was anything but with a fantastic chance to put the game out of sight. Then, Roberts was left ruing a similar chance gone begging.
Stockton’s best chance came in the final minute of the game when Woodhouse sent a head wide of Nixon’s goal.
It’s been a disappointing run over Christmas at home for the Anchors but they will be looking to turn it around when Ashington visit the Coverall Stadium on Saturday.