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Stockton Town FC v Stocksbridge Park Steels FC

  • Northern Premier League East Division

    Tue, Apr 25, 2023, Play-Off Semi-Final
    Stockton Town FC
    Stocksbridge Park Steels FC


Mikey Roberts scored the winning penalty as Stockton Town overcame Stocksbridge Park Steels to reach the Northern Premier League East Division Play-Off Final. 

Tom Coulthard’s opener followed by Cameron Painter’s goal made it 2-0 at half time to Stockton in a controlled first half.

However, two quickfire goals from Ross Goodwin and Ify Ofoegbu pulled Stocksbridge back level.

Both sides searched for a winner but were unable to find out and thus the game when to the dreaded penalties.

Callum Roberts made a huge impact with two penalties saves that helped guide Stockton through to the final.

After naming a much changed side at Sheffield FC, Manager Michael Dunwell restored his strongest team to the Starting XI for the biggest game since last season’s Play-Off Final at Marske United.

Stockton Town almost had the lead within three minutes as a Matty Tymon header forced the Stocksbridge goalkeeper Ben Townsend to claw it from his goal.

On the quarter hour mark, Stockton did have the lead when a free kick from Kev Hayes found Tymon who saw his effort saved before Coulthard fired in the rebound.

Four minutes later, Stocksbridge tested C.Roberts with a low shot that he was able to palm away.

A beautiful interchange of football from Stockton almost wielded the second but Stephen Thompson could only put wide after Tymon headed the ball into his path.

Stockton’s control was awarded with a second when Lewis King’s cross was met by the head of Painter who squeezed it in at a tight angle.

The Anchors really should have had a third before half time but Thompson could only blaze over from close range after he had broke through last line of defence.

Nine minutes into the second half, Stocksbridge were on the scoresheet when Goodwin was able to convert after the ball rebounded out to him.

That soon became an equaliser when Ofoegbu found the net after a slight mix-up in the Stockton defence. It was back to square one.

Stockton had a couple of half chances to restore their lead. First Dale Mulligan headed across goal but Tymon could not quite connect with a header.

Then Coulthard met substitute Nathan Mulligan’s corner with a fancy flick which was off target.

In the 78th minute, there was relief as Stocksbridge had a goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

Stockton continued to search for the lead in the final part of the 90. N.Mulligan sent a free kick straight into the arms of Townsend.

Then M.Roberts, shortly after coming on, received the ball from N.Mulligan on the overlap but struck his effort wide.

Finally, Hayes had a deflected strike that narrowly trickled wide. The game was headed to extra time.

Stockton did have the better of the extra time period with continued pressure on Stocksbridge but did not conjure up any major chances of note.

That meant it came down to penalties, the word in football the English dread. The whole fate of the season came down to this.

Both sides confidently converted their first penalties to make it 1-1.

Stockton then had the first advantage when C.Roberts saved from Kurtis Turner and the next penalty from Stockton was scored

Stocksbridge restored parity when they netted and Townsend saved from N.Mulligan.

Stockton then got a big save from C.Roberts who denied Ofoegbu. The advantage was restored as Hayes coolly slotted home.

The pressure was then on Stocksbridge goalkeeper Townsend who showed fine aptitude to score and keep the shootout going.

It then all came down to M.Roberts to win it and he did just that with a emphatic penalty that was out of the reach of Townesned.

That sparked scenes of mass celebration at the MAP Group UK Stadium as the players were mobbed by the fans.

It also booked Stockton Town’s place in the NPL East Play-Off Final for the second season running.


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