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Stockton edged out late on by Worksop Town

Stockton Town conceded a late winner against Worksop Town, which saw the Anchors miss a chance to go third in the Northern Premier League East Division. 

Steven McDonnell put the hosts ahead inside nine minutes before Nathan Steel and Liam Cooke hit the post in the first-half. 

Dale Mulligan struck home an equaliser in the second-half, but a late penalty from Liam Hardy snatched all three points for the hosts. 

The Anchors still have a chance of finishing third and earning a home play-off semi-final, and are back in action in under 48 hours as they host local rivals Marske United. 

Manager Michael Dunwell made four changes to the side that beat Bridlington Town last weekend, with Nathan Mulligan, Louie Hall, Jonathan Franks and Jamie Owens all starting. 

Kev Hayes went close inside the first four minutes of the game, forcing Seb Malkowski into making a finger-tip save. 

The hosts went ahead on nine minutes when a cross to the back post was headed home by McDonnell. 

Steel’s header hit the inside of the post before Malkowski scooped the ball away, with the striker adamant the ball had crossed the line. 

After a spell with the hosts on top, the Anchors settled and grew into the game, going close through Owens and Hayes. 

Stockton hit the post for the second time in the first-half, on 36 minutes, when Cooke came inside past two defenders and hit the post. 

The visitors had a big chance before half-time to draw level, but N.Mulligan’s delighteful cross couldn’t be turned home by Owens at the back post. 

There was time for one more chance before the break, but Callum Roberts thwarted Vaughan Redford and made a good save. 

After the two sides exchanged early chances in the second-half, the next opening came on 66 minutes when Cooke found Lewis King, who drove inside and drilled a shot over the bar. 

Stockton drew themselves level on 73 minutes when N.Mulligan’s free-kick into the area was powered home by D.Mulligan after the hosts failed to clear the ball. 

The home side countered quickly seven minutes from time, with Hardy knocking the ball past C.Roberts, who brought the Worksop substitute down after attempting to get a glove to the ball. 

Stockton were down to 10-men after the referee showed Roberts a straight red card, and Hardy fired home the penalty to put the hosts back ahead. 

Worksop had a man sent off themselves when Nathan Valentine was shown a red card for a late tackle just 30 seconds after coming on. 

The Anchors had one final chance, but with the final kick of the game, Hall snatched at his effort and fired wide of the target. 

Worksop Town: Malkowski, Watson, Williams, Cromack, Picton, Broadhead, Gooden (Sennett-Neilson, 63), Starcenko, McDonnell (Hardy, 79), Redford, Hall (Valentine, 88) 

Subs Not Used: Tomlinson, Atherton 

Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, N.Mulligan, Hall, Coulthard, Hayes, Franks, Owens (D.Mulligan, 68), Steel (Shobo, 81), Cooke (Bulmer, 78) 

Subs Not Used: McDonald 

Goals: 1-0, 9 min, McDonnell; 1-1, 73 min, D.Mulligan; 2-1, 83 min, Hardy (Pen) 

Referee: Ben Tomlinson 

Assistants: Connor Everard and Rob Rees 

Attendance: 372 

Words: Andrew McDonnell 

Photo: Harry Cook 

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