The under 16’s were on their travels again against another team with title ambitions. The conditions were terrible and Stockton chose to play into the wind and driving rain in the first half. Stockton put the home side under early pressure with good link up play down the right between Jack Massey and James Mahoney who released Will Mackie to fire in a cross which was well saved by the home keeper. Stockton were doing well down the flanks and created another chance when Sam Dawson played in Like Hallatt who crossed to Will Mackie, but the keeper made a fantastic block to deny him the opening goal. The under 16’s did take the lead when Dawson and Hallatt took a quick corner finding Dylon Marshall in the box who hammered the ball home. Marshall almost doubled his tally when he was sent clear by Sam Dawson but the home keeper did well to force him wide and he saw his shot drift across the face of goal to safety. Skelton relied on the long ball and a clearance from the keeper saw Stockton’s keeper, Charlie Bradley race off his line and upend the attacker to concede a penalty. Bradley showed true character to stand tall and made a fine save to protect the Stockton lead. Skelton almost scored when the home keeper launched a ball which took one bounce in the Stockton box before just clearing the cross bar. Stockton were having to work extra hard to combat the conditions which was evident when Jack Massey worked hard down the right to earn his team a corner. The corner was cleared and Skelton went straight on the attack, surging into the box and when the attacker took a tumble the home side had their second penalty of the game. Charlie Bradley did his best to make another save but the ball was rifled into the net to put the home side back on level terms. Skelton were getting a foot hold in the game but the midfield pairing of James Mahoney and Ethan Gage were denying them any time on the ball, winning tackle after tackle. As half time approached Skelton managed to drive through the away defence and finished well to grab an unlikely lead at the break.
Half time: Skelton 2-1 Stockton Town
The temperature dropped to minus 30 in the second half (according to our reporter, Wincy Willis at the ground) but Stockton were looking to turn up the heat on the opposition. The under 16’s were up to the task and went close when Luke Hallatt fizzed the ball across the face of goal but just evaded Dylon Marshall’s outstretched leg. The away side had a number of chances with Dylon Marshall, Ethan Gage and Rhys Berryman all seeing efforts go narrowly wide. The Stockton pressure was relentless due to high work rate throughout the team which reaped the benefit when Dylon Marshall won the ball on the edge of the home penalty area before finding Will Mackie who slid home the equaliser. Skelton were finding it difficult to get out of their own half but when they did they found Jack Daniel in fine form at the centre of the defence. Stockton came close when Luke Hallatt was fouled just outside the box and Sam Dawson’s shot was scrambled to safety. Skelton were starting to feel the pressure and might have fallen behind when Luke Hallatt hit a fine shot but it was tipped over by the keeper. Stockton finally made the breakthrough from the resulting corner which was fired in by Sam Dawson and headed home by Dylon Marshall for his 23rd goal of the season. The under 16’s were in control and almost went further ahead when Luke Hallatt floated a lovely ball over the defence but the ball wouldn’t fall for Dawson and was cleared by a last ditch tackle. As full time approached James Mahoney made a great run through the midfield playing in Dylon Marshall but he was once again denied by the impressive Skelton goalkeeper. As the rain /hail and sleet fell, Stockton’s spirits didn’t and they closed out the game to grab three well deserved points.
Full Time: Skelton 2-3 Stockton Town.
The lads were back to their best today playing some great football in some of the worst weather conditions they have had to face in a long time. Hopefully the players, coaches and supporters will have thawed out in time for next week. Well done lads!!!! Thanks to Yvonne for managing to write the notes today , in minus 51 temperatures!!!.
Man of the match: Dylon Marshall