Stockton Town FC v Belper Town FC
Stockton Town completed a perfect week with an outstanding 7-1 victory over challengers Belper Town.
Michael Dunwell named one change to the side that topped Sheffield in the league last weekend, bringing Dan McWilliams back into the line-up for Jonny Haase.
It was Belper who started the game with some early pressure, and a couple of slight opportunities that failed to call Callum Roberts into action.
The on-form Michael Fowler had the first big opportunity of the afternoon when he was picked out in-behind the Belper back-line, but Jonathan Hedge in-between the sticks closed him down well to keep his shot out.
But you can’t keep Fowler away for long, and only with 15 minutes gone, a low cross by Lewis King was met by Stockton’s marksman who tapped in for goal number six of the league campaign.
The Anchors’ lead was doubled five minutes later after Glen Butterworth was played into space. When it appeared the opportunity had passed, the midfield-maestro worked his magic to play it across the box where Mikey Roberts was able to finish.
The Anchors were three to the good with only 28 minutes on the clock, when an in-swinging corner from Kevin Hayes caused confusion in the area and sneaked all the way into the near post.
Stockton weren’t done there for the first-half though. In the 38th minute the advantage was extended to four goals, when a number of Jonathan Hedge’s stops were not cleared by his defence, eventually leading to Stephen Thompson collecting and converting to give the Anchors a four goal advantage at the interval.
Half-time: Stockton Town 4-0 Belper Town
Michael Dunwell’s team-talk didn’t change anything for Stockton, as his side came out in the same way they did in the first, eager for more. They were nearly rewarded only three minutes after the restart when a Kevin Hayes cross narrowly sneaked past the boot of Michael Fowler who was lurking in the middle of the box.
But after 57 minutes, there was a fifth goal for the hosts. Mikey Roberts was unleashed down the left-wing and never looked back as he darted towards goal, eventually finishing past Hedge for his second of the afternoon.
Straight from the kick-off, Stockton were not letting Belper play. After winning the ball back quickly, Michael Fowler picked out the overlapping run of Kevin Hayes who powered into the bottom corner to make it six goals to the good.
Hayes wasn’t finished there, and he secured the match-ball when a loose ball fell to his feet on the edge of the area, before firing his shot goal-wards, past Hedge for goal number nine of the league campaign, moving him to second in the league’s goal-scoring standings.
Substitute Peter Bulmer was next to be played through on goal, but this time Hedge was equal to the winger’s right-footed attempt.
Belper did find a consolation goal in the 71st minute when a corner was lost inside the box, eventually being forced home by substitute Adam Bessadi.
Mikey Roberts very nearly became the second Stockton player to secure a hat-trick towards the end of the game, but he couldn’t keep a volley from the centre of the box low enough.
Full-time: Stockton Town 7-1 Belper Town