Stockton Town FC v Sheffield FC
Shane Henry scored his first goal of the season, but the Anchors were held by Sheffield FC in a six-goal affair at the MAP Group UK Stadium.
Henry’s second-half strike restored Stockton’s advantage following an action-laden first period, with four goals scored in the space of seven minutes around the half-hour mark.
Mikey Roberts and Lewis King scored within the space of 60 seconds as the Anchors raced into a two goal lead, before Sheffield hit back through goals from Nathan Modest and Marc Newsham.
Stockton looked to be returning to winning ways until Ben Turner turned the ball home two minutes from time to rescue Sheffield a point late on.
Michael Dunwell named two changes to the team which was narrowly beaten at Dunston last Saturday, with Mikey Roberts and Nathan Steel returning to the starting line-up.
Kev Hayes forced the first save of the match with a fizzing effort which was saved by Ryan Musselwhite, before Newsham found Turner with a reverse pass, his shot was narrowly wide.
Hayes looked to be the dangerman early on, the winger going close on two occasions to finding the top corner, with his second attempt inadverteddly deflected over by Mikey Roberts.
Roberts did hand Stockton the lead midway through the first half, Hayes again involved in the action, he stood a ball up to the backpost which Roberts converted following a goalmouth scramble.
Just thirty seconds later, the Anchors doubled their lead, Liam Cooke with neat creative work inside the Sheffield penalty area, laying a ball across the face of goal which King slotted home from close range.
Stockton’s two goal advantage lasted less than a minute, Nathan Modeste responding with an effort from Callum Roberts’ initial save.
Sheffield equalised just five minutes later, Manassee Kianga found the head of Marc Newsham to cap off a frantic 10 minute spell.
The Anchors controlled the rest of the first-half, Henry and Coulthard seeing shots saved by Musselwhite.
Hayes almost restored the host’s lead on the stroke of half-time, his floated cross was inches away from looping over the Sheffield ‘keeper and into the top corner.
Stockton continued on top when the second-half resumed, Henry struck wide from distance and Hayes saw a shot claimed by Musselwhite inside the first 10 minutes of the second period.
“The Bull” restored the Anchors’ lead just before the hour mark, striking home as a corner fell to the midfielder’s path.
Jamie Owens almost made an immediate impact from the bench, forcing Musselwhite into a brilliant save from the outside of his left foot.
Stockton looked dangerous as they pushed a fourth goal late on, Owens volleyed just wide of the post and Hayes’ cross-come-shot agonisingly drifted past Nathan Mulligan.
Sheffield dealt a late sucker punch as Turner converted from a corner on the right-hand side.
The Anchors host title challengers Liversedge in their next game, on Saturday 5th March at the MAP Group UK Stadium.
Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, Nicholson, Coulthard, Hayes, Henry, Steel (Owens, 60), Cooke, M.Roberts (N.Mulligan, 72)
Subs Not Used: A.Conway, D.Mulligan, Franks
Sheffield FC: Musselwhite, Turner, Coleman, Birks (Mitchell, 64), Adelekan, Magee, Modest, Baxendale, Newsham, Ruthven (Rawson, 59), Kianga (O’Connor, 73)
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Yates
Goals: 1-0, 23 min, M.Roberts; 2-0, 24 min, King; 2-1, 25 min, Modest; 2-2, 30 min, Newsham; 3-2, 58 min, Henry; 3-3, 88 min, Turner.
Referee: Kirk Freeth
Assistants: Kevin McKitterick and Gary Hargrave
Words: Jamie Beattie
Photo: Harry Cook