After two postponements Stockton got back to EBAC Northern League action, with a visit to bottom club Esh Winning. This was Stockton’s first visit to Esh Winning and after the demise of Norton & Stockton Ancients the top of the League Table saw 4 points covering the top four teams.
It was Esh that had the first real chance when Stockton goalkeeper Michael Arthur saved a fine shot from Scott McCardle in the opening exchanges. However as the opening enthusiasm faded it was Stockton that started to take control, Stockton did most of the attacking and Kallum Hannah brought a fine save from Mark Fish the Esh keeper, Max Craggs saw a shot charged down and Joe Carter flashed a cross across the face of goal.
The deadlock was finally broken after 27 minutes, Fred Woodhouse won the ball on the edge of the box and crossed the ball for Max Craggs to head the ball past Fish.
Stockton almost got a second goal when Alan Cossavella tried to beat Fish with a low shot, that almost sneaked in but the ball struck the post and went out for a goal kick.
In the 38th minute Stockton doubled their lead, a tremendous cross field ball from Tom Coulthard deceived goalkeeper Fish, who jumped for the ball but was nowhere near it as Craggs ran behind him to head the ball into the empty net.
Half Time Esh Winning 0 Stockton Town 2
The second half started with Stockton well on top, firstly Kev Hayes caused havoc down the left and his effort was cleared off the line. Kallum Hannah then saw a lobbed effort well saved by the Esh keeper.
Esh did a lot of defending in an effort to keep the score down, they held out until the 75th minute when Tom Coulthard stabbed the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble following a Stockton corner.
Esh were unable to stop Craggs, who completed a hat trick of headers in the 81st minute, a fantastic flowing move down Stockton’s right saw Garbutt delivering a croos for Craggs to send a fine header into the net that left Fish flat footed.
Esh had a great chance of a consolation goal right on time, substitute Alex Hird left the Stockton defence standing and was one on one with Arthur however Hird fired across the face of goal but the ball went the wrong side of the far post.
The victory saw us move to second in the League Table level on points with Team Northumbria. This sets Wednesdays game up when Team Northumbria are the visitors.