Ten-men Anchors progress in FA Trophy

Stockton Town advanced to the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round with victory over Pontefract Collieries despite playing the majority with ten men. 

The Anchors were reduced to ten when Michael Fowler saw red following an altercation with Jack Steers.

Stockton opened the scoring shortly before half time when Kev Hayes netted from the penalty spot after Elliott Beddow had been fouled in the area.

Stockton added a second in stoppage time through Michael Sweet’s first for the club before Pontefract set up a nervy finish when Adam Haw pulled one back from the penalty spot.

The nerves were dispelled when Mikey Roberts scored an empty net goal after goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson was caught out coming up for a corner.

Manager Michael Dunwell named one change from the side that exited the FA Cup with defeat at Warrington Rylands. Beddow came in and replaced Sweet on the left wing.

The first genuine chance fell Stockton’s way when Stephen Thompson was found in the box but his effort was blazed way over the bar.

A minute later and Pontefract missed the definition of a gilt-edged chance. Haw was played through on goal by a misplaced pass, he managed to round Callum Roberts but inexplicably sent his strike wide of the target.

On the quarter hour mark, Stockton went close again when Beddow found Fowler but he was unable to test Allinson.

Another good move presented a good opportunity for Stockton as a cross from the right ended with header from Cam Painter which bounced over the bar.

The afternoon took a twist on near the half hour mark when Fowler was sent off for an incident with defender Steers.

Pontefract immediately looked to make that advantage and they forced a save from Roberts with a close range effort from Adam Priestley.

Stockton still provided a threat and they proved that when Hayes was denied well by Allinson.

Shortly before half time they were handed the chance to open the scoring when Beddow was felled in the area. Hayes stepped up, stuttered and sent Allinson the wrong way for the lead.

Half-Time: Stockton Town 1-0 Pontefract Collieries 

Early in the second half, Thompson ambitiously tried to extend the Anchors lead with an audacious chip. Thankfully for Allinson it dropped to the wrong side of his post.

Despite having the disadvantage, Stockton continued to have chances. Tom Coulthard forced Allinson into save when he headed a corner towards goal.

In the dying embers of regulation time, substitute Frankie Sinfield tried to fire an equaliser into the top near corner but his radar was off.

At the other end, Stockton added the crucial second when substitute Mikey Roberts found Sweet who finished with aplomb for his first goal.

It was not over yet though as Pontefract gave themselves a route back into the game via the penalty spot. The lively Sinfield was fouled and Haw made amends for his earlier miss by scoring.

The Colls pushed for the leveller with goalkeeper Allinson joining in to attack the set pieces. That caught them short though and they were punished when M.Roberts burst away from the last defender to fire into an empty net.

Full-Time: Stockton Town 3-1 Pontefract Collieries 

It was a huge triumph for Stockton Town, not only to win with ten men but also to defeat a foe that had proven allusive last season. We are in for another treat next weekend as the two sides face off in Pontefract for the league meeting.

In the FA Trophy, Stockton will host Bootle on the 23rd September. That is a throwback for Anchors fans as the two sides met in the FA Vase Second Round back in 2017.

Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, Butterworth, Nicholson, Coulthard, Hayes (M.Roberts 75′), Painter, Fowler, Thompson (Sweet 61′), Beddow (Haase 83′)

Unused subs: Nathan Mulligan, Dale Mulligan, Bulmer, Frampton

Pontefract Collieries: Allinson, Owen, Spratt, Turner, Steers (Greenhough 53′), Burns, Smythe, Nicell, Priestley, Boyle, Haw

Unused subs: Rothery, Lumsden, Vann

Attendance: 391

Photo: Harry Cook

Words: James Cartwright

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