Stockton Town FC v Marske United FC
Stockton Town were denied a league double over local rivals Marske United, who scored a late equaliser to snatch a point on Easter Monday.
Jason Kennedy handed the hosts an early lead, but the Anchors responded and drew level before half-time through Nathan Mulligan’s spectacular free-kick.
Nathan Steel steered home from close range before the hour mark, however, there was a twist late on when Kennedy scored in the 89th minute to deny the Anchors all three points.
Stockton will travel to Brighouse Town on the final day of the season with third place still up for grabs.
Manager Michael Dunwell made one change to the side that lost at Worksop Town on Saturday, with Mikey Roberts coming straight back into the team.
It was the hosts that settled quickly and had the first chance of the game on five minutes. Kev Hayes’ corner was headed on by M.Roberts and into the arms of Ryan Catterick.
With their first attack, Marske took the lead in the 13th minute. Connor Smith found Kennedy at the back post with a low cross and the striker tapped home from close range.
Stockton were almost level under a minute later, but Hayes’ left-footed strike hit the base of the post and went behind.
Liam Cooke tested Catterick from the edge of the area as the Anchors continued to provide a positive response to going behind.
Callum Roberts was called into action in the 21st minute, producing a double save to deny Adam Boyes and Kennedy.
The hosts started to turn the screw once more in the final 10 minutes of the first-half, and Catterick came to Marske’s rescue once more when he tipped M.Roberts’ effort around the post.
Four minutes before the break, the hosts drew level with a stunning effort. After Hayes was fouled on the edge of the area, Mulligan stepped up and curled the free-kick in off the post.
Stockton came out after half-time and picked up where they left off, and went ahead just before the hour mark.
A terrific ball from Cooke set Hayes through down the right, and the winger drove forward, crossed low into the box for Steel to tap home at the back post.
Despite controlling possession, it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes where the visitors started to threaten in the final third.
Substitute Stephen Thompson saw his effort tipped around the post by C.Roberts, and the Stockton shot-stopper was on hand to keep out Boyes’ header.
Marske equalised for the second time in the game, with Kennedy tapping home from close range – with the hosts adamant the striker was offside.
The hosts had a chance in additional time to snatch the three points, but M.Roberts was denied by the legs of Catterick.
Stockton are sitting in fourth place going into the last day of the season, three points behind third-place Cleethorpes Town.
Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King (Bulmer, 77), McWilliams, N.Mulligan (Portas, 87), Hall, Coulthard, Hayes, Franks, Steel, Cooke (A.Conway, 77), M.Roberts
Subs Not Used: D.Mulligan, Shobo
Marske United: Catterick, May, Round, Butterworth (Fairley, 72), Burgess (Blackford, 58), A.Wheatley, Smith, Gott, Boyes, Tymon (Thompson, 72), Kennedy
Subs Not Used: J.Wheatley, Hopson
Goals: 0-1, 13 min, Kennedy; 1-1, 41 min, N.Mulligan; 2-1, 59 min, Steel; 2-2, 89 min, Kennedy
Referee: Helen Conley
Assistants: Thomas James and Givi Todua
Words: Andrew McDonnell
Photo: Harry Cook