Stockton Town FC v Guisborough Town
The Anchors just keep winning games, today wasn't a classic, which was a shame in front of a large crowd, Guisborough worked hard to break the play up and there were a few niggly fouls in the early stages and this along with a strong blustery wind was enough to keep Stockton from getting any momentum going. The Priorymen had their moments though but aren't the first side recently to come up against a brick wall of a defence. A Kev Hayes stunner complete with a trademark backflip just before half time and a cracking first goal for the club from Tom Portas, deep into injury time were the two real pieces of quality in an otherwise 'tough watch'.
Michael Dunwell picked the same starting line up today with the only change being Pete Bulmer on the bench in place of Jamie Owens who wasnt available.
The Anchors started with the wind at their backs and they looked bright but a string of fouls and free kicks prevented them from getting a foothold and the only efforts of note in the first twenty minutes was a shot by Hayes which was well over and a Marshall free kick for the Priorymen which also cleared the bar safely.
Stockton were pushed back for a short while midway through the first half and the visitors applied some pressure forcing a string of corners and free kicks but the Anchors defence never really looked stretched and they dealt with everything in their usual assured way.
On 35 minutes Callum Roberts attempt to start a quick attack almost ended in disaster when his throw hit the back of a Guisborough player and lobbed up on the edge of the box to ex Stockton stalwart Jimmy Ward, he lobbed it towards the goal but Lewis King managed to clear the danger.
The Anchors burst back into life and it was the inimitable Kev HAYES who took over the ball after it was worked forward from the keeper involving several payers, Hayes stepped inside onto his left foot and skipped past 3 challenges and curled a left foot shot from the edge of the 'D' into the top corner, keeper Catterick could only watch it bounce back out of his goal.
Stockton were now in the ascendancy and suddenly fund some space to play in, good crosses from Franks and Woodhouse flashed across the box and caused panic in the defence. HT 1-0
Early stages of the second half were even more scrappy, Sonni Coleman headed over from a corner as the visitors came out determined to get back into the game and that was the only thing of note until after 62 minutes Hayes linked well with King again and the full back found himself in the box with the ball at his feet but his curling left foot effort was too high and sailed over the bar.
There wasnt much in the game at this point, both sides chances were limited, Nicholson almost converted from close range following a scramble after a corner but Catterick collected it on the line, then up the other end Steve Roberts had Guisborough's best chance when he headed wide a good searching cross from McNeill.
Catterick was in the action again, denying Woodhouse twice in quick succession, the second being a smart save to his right from a clattering shot by the Anchors striker.
But the best save of the game went to the Anchors stopper Callum Roberts who once again, after not having a great deal to do, produced another high quality stop low down to his right from Mason McNeill's side footed effort which came at him quickly through a bunch of players legs.
As the Priorymen tired from their efforts the Anchors took a little more control and the pace of Risbrough caused them problems as twice he raided down the line going past defenders and delivering a couple of good balls into the box, Marron scrambled one away and Cieran Jackson couldnt adjust his feet in time to convert and was closed down.
Somehow the ref found almost 8 minutes of injury time but it created a landmark for midfield maestro Tom PORTAS who scored his first goal for the Club on 96 mins, picking up a ball on the halfway line he looked up and burst into the space in front of him, the Guisborough defenders tried to converge and stop him but he kept going past them and on into the box and as Catterick went to ground he slid it into the bottom corner to seal the victory. FT 2-0
The Anchors just keep on producing whats necessary week in week out, adapting to conditions and the opposition, they didn't flow today but the wind and the opposition had a lot to do with that but they still looked more likely to score in the second half. Guisborough despite all their effort and endeavour only gave Roberts one real save to make and him and the Stockton defence just keep on dealing with practically everything thrown at it. Coulthard and Nicholson were excellent today, Hayes was lively when on the ball but sponsors MoM went to Jordan Robinson. Footnote... Amazingly everyone (including the keeper) has now scored at least one goal in the regular match day squad, pretty neat eh.
The unbeaten run in the League continues and is up to 19, including 10 straight victories with another clean sheet thrown in for good measure and although its repetitive, we have to keep mentioning it so these achievements can be rightly celebrated, having said that although its getting closer still a way to go. A week off again, chance to get the knocks cleared up and prepare for West Auckland next Saturday, the old one game at a time mantra serveing us well atm.
Guisborough Town: Catterick, McAvoy, Robinson (c), Thompson, Marron, Rowbotham, Ward, Marshall, Hutchinson, Coleman, McNeill.
Subs: Miller, Davis, Bailey, Young, Roberts
Words: Lee Nicholson
Photos: Harry Cook/Ray Sharpe
Highlights: James Cartwright