Stockton Town FC v Whickham
Stockton Town recorded a third win in four games, in this impressive start to life in the Northern League.
This victory sent Stockton back to the top of the league, having being pushed into second place, following Tow Law’s win at Thornaby on Tuesday night.
Stockton's Manager Michael Dunwell stuck to the same team that won 2-0 at Hebburn last Saturday, and again they were the dominant side.
Whickham were forced to use their first substitution after only 7 minutes Chad Collins pulled a muscle and had to leave the field to be replaced by Alexander Curran.
Fred Woodhouse should have put Stockton ahead, with a fierce shot that Louis Darwood in the Whickham goal did well to keep out.
Whickham played on the break and Kallum Broadhead sent a looping shot that Liam Jordan just managed to tip over the bar.
It fell to Captain Stephen Roberts to open the scoring, Matthew Garbutt sent a corner into the box, the ball finding Roberts free in front of goal, as he turned, his first effort was blocked before his second effort found its way past Darwell after 24 minutes.
Garbutt kept the pressure on the Whickham goal, with a shot that beat Darwell but the ball went just wide of the post.
Stockton went into the break 2-0 up, with a second goal after 36 minutes, Kallum Hannah’s shot was half saved by Darwell the ball running to Tom Coulthard to fire the ball into the net from close range, to send Stockton in 2 up at half time.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first when Garbutt again caused havoc in the Whickham area, with Hannah ready to pounce on Garbutt’s cross, the Whickham defender Jordan Fraser got to the ball before the striker, however Fraser's interception sent the ball towards his own goal the ball hit the crossbar and out for a corner with the keeper well beaten.
The cruical moment of the game came in the 68th minute, a cross from Whickhams left was brought down at the back post but Liam Jordan in Stockton's goal was out quickly to make a fantastic save and retain Stockton's two goal lead. After 69 minutes Chris Stockton replaced Tony Johnson, he was only on the field for 30 seconds when he raced after the ball winning the race with Ross Pearsth near the corner flag, Stockton sent the ball into the box, the ball deceiving Darwood and hitting the post behind the keeper and into the net, without another player touching the ball.
Stockton’s fourth goal came from the penalty spot, James Crossman raced into the box on to Chris Stockton's through ball, David Clasper sent Crossman flying and the referee had little option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Hannah to score despite Darwood diving the right way, but he could get nowhere near the ball.