Griffins end their season with draw
Published at 09:08, Monday, 21 May 2012
Stocksfield 3Whitley Bay A 3
STOCKSFIELD ended the season with a promising performance against one of the league’s top sides as they held Whitley Bay A to a 3-3 draw in an exciting encounter.
After two encouraging displays against the league champions and runners-up in their previous two games, the Griffins went one better to grab a point from the third placed side.
Colin Stromsoy’s team selection was again fairly straight forward as a number of key players were missing, giving the young players who have done so well in the run-in another opportunity to shine.
Whitley started the game well in front of those who had travelled down on the club’s supporter’s bus.
Their direct style of play was putting Stocksfield under pressure, and defender Matty Stables and goalkeeper Mark Clark did well to prevent an early goal.
It was against the run of play when Stocksfield took the lead after a flowing move instigated by Richard Lally.
He released Ben Dibb-Fuller down the right flank to cross to the far post, where Lee Blackburn’s diving header fell to Chris Fairless to swivelled and lash the ball into the net from close range.
The goal gave the home side confidence and they began to look really dangerous on the counter-attack, often breaking with pace down the flanks.
A combination of poor luck and poor defending allowed the Seahorses to draw level midway through the half, though, when Ian Lee was released with a through ball.
Lee’s initial effort was brilliantly saved by Clark but the rebound bounced back to the striker who slotted the ball into the net.
Before the interval, there was a fairly straight forward decision for the referee to make as Blackburn was deliberately kicked off the ball by Chris Smith.
The Whitley full-back was given a stern talking to but was allowed to remain on the pitch.
The referee made another blunder before the interval when Karl Campbell was tripped in the penalty area and play was waved on.
The second half started with Stocksfield on top and threatening to regain the lead with Dibb-Fuller and Lally both having a couple of efforts at goal.
But it was the experienced Sandy Tordoff who gave the home side the lead with a special goal, as he ran from the halfway line and unleashed an unstoppable drive from outside the area.
However, in true Stocksfield style, a defensive hiccup gifted the opposition a goal at a crucial time in the game.
A lack of understanding between Stables and Clark resulted in the former’s back pass finding it’s way into his own net.
The goal lifted the visitors and rocked the Griffins, and the hosts had a shaky ten minutes in which they conceded another goal when Lee raced clear and lobbed Clark.
The points looked like they belonged to Whitley but, with just six minutes left on the clock, Fairless dispatched a spotkick to not only draw Stocksfield level but also draw himself level with Steven Forster in the race for the Griffins’ golden boot.
With time running out, the pace gathered and Bay’s skipper was sent off for kicking out at Phil Murray in another off the ball incident.
Teenager Darren Graham then almost won the game in the dying seconds for Stocksfield but his long busting run ended with a tame finish.
The game ended level but it was a sure sign of how far Stocksfield have come to say that they were visibly disappointed not to win the game against a top team.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk