Easington Colliery AFC v Stockton Town FC
We travelled to Easington CW for the Wearside League Cup Final knowing victory would put the Club in the history books having won all 4 available Trophy's. The obstacle in the way was our closest rivals in the League who had finished second to us Easington CW.
The irony and story of the game belonged to our Goalkeeper Michael Arthur who has been a spectator for most of the season, with 34 clean sheets out of the 52 games we have played this season. Arthur stepped up to the plate and was the hero saving 3 of the 5 penalty's in the penalty shoot out after the game had finished 1 1 after 120 minutes of action.
Stockton completed a Wearside League whitewash winning all 4 Wearside League Trophies. Stockton are the 4th team to complete this feat and the 5th time in Wearside History as Ryhope CW did it twice as well as Marske United and Blue Star who did it once.
Stockton were without several players for this final at Easington due to holidays and injury and the situation worsened after just 10 minutes when Tom Coulthard sustained a knee injury in a challenge. Struggling to continue Tom Coulthard showed the fighting spirit that is in the Stockton dressing room as he hobbled through most of the game plus extra time, but thankfully he did not have to take a penalty.
The game itself was a typically tense Cup Final with Stockton controlling the first 20 minutes before Easington got in to the game to stretch the Stockton defence on numerous occasions.
After 42 minutes referee Adam Herczeg awarded Easington a penalty, after Michael Arthur and Adam Drysdale both went for the ball, Drysdale sent the ball towards goal but Adam Nicholson covering round cleared, but to everyone's surprise the referee gave a penalty, but justice was done as Luke Page put the ball wide of the post.
The second half started brightly and Stockton took the lead after 47 minutes, the Easington goalkeeper Kyle Donaldson knocked the ball into the path of Kallum Hannah who fired the ball into the net.
Easington were now pressing for an equaliser and the scores were level again after 60 minutes when Kyle Morris managed to cross the ball to the far post were Nathan Graham turned the ball past Arthur.
Two tired teams battled out the last 30 minutes and then extra time, both not wanting to lose this game so the game went to a penalty shoot out.
Stockton went first when both players missed Hannah for Stockton and Chris Pearson for Easington, both the second penalty's were scored Matthew Garbutt and Michael Watson made it 1-1, Chris Stockton missed and Brett Gillatt scored to put Easington in front for the first time in the game at 2-1. Stockton turned the game back when Max Craggs scored and Arthur saved Karl Adams shot.
The scores were level again at 2-2, the final drama came with the 5th penalty, James Ward scored and Arthur again pulled off a fine save from David Paul, to scenes of utter joy from the Stockton players who mobbed our Goalkeeper after his super display.