Stockton Town FC v Northallerton Town
Stockton Town got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win over Northallerton Town, to consolidate second spot in the Northern League Division 2. This victory means that Stockton have claimed 34 of the last 36 points on offer to them in the race for promotion.
Stockton started brightly and had the best of the early play and went ahead after 13 minutes, Kevin Hayes broke down the left wing and his superb cross saw Max Craggs judge his run to perfection to head past Michael Thackeray in the Northallerton goal.
Northallerton had a great chance to level the scores within minutes and this came from a Stockton corner. Thackeray in the Northallerton goal collected the ball and his long clearance saw the Stockton defence fail to deal with the ball, allowing Nicholas Martin onto the ball and his high chip over Stockton goalkeeper Michael Arthur’s head hit the top of the bar and bounced clear. A warning for Stockton that Northallerton carried a threat.
Stockton were soon back on the front foot and both Kevin Hayes and Max Craggs saw inviting balls flash right across the face of goal without any Stockton player managing to get on the end of it. A fine save from the Northallerton keeper then denied Kallum Hannah, Joe Carter's volleyed cross found Hannah whose header was turned round for a corner.
Stockton continued to attack but found Northallerton a resolute unit with Thackeray in fine form in goal and they had to settle for a one goal half time lead.
The second half was all Stockton but only poor finishing and a great performance from Thackeray kept the score down.
Kallum Hannah fired over the bar, before Stockton scored a second goal in the 48th minute, they won a free kick out on the left, that was taken by Max Craggs whose inviting ball evaded all but Tom Coulthard at the back post who volleyed the ball into the net for two nil.
Thackeray then produced a succession of fine saves, Kevin Hayes excellent run and shot was turned round for a corner, then Fred Woodhouse's fierce drive save Thackeray produce another good save before Max Craggs fired a fierce shot that Thackeray turned around the post.
On a rare attack from Northallerton a corner from Stuart Owen was headed over the bar by Jack Proctor.
But it was Stockton who looked the most likely to score Hannah raced into the box with only Thackeray to beat but the keeper forced Hannah wide and he just couldn’t force the ball past the keeper. A fine Stockton move then released Hannah into the left channel but his effort only found the side netting.
The best of the remaining chances for Stockton fell to Sonni Coleman whose shot went over the bar. There was time towards the end when Michael Arthur in Stockton's goal showed his worth with a fine double save to maintain Stockton's lead .
A good performance that see's us maintain our position, second in the League. A huge thank you for all the support with another fantastic attendance of 170.