A mild but rainy day in Waterhouses was lit up by a lively, full blooded affair at West Terrace.
Esh came into the game off the back of a decent display against a strong Blyth team. For The Stan this marked their first game in the EBAC Northern League, following a 1-0 away win in the FA Cup and then having their midweek league game called off.
Esh made two changes to their starting XI, Mark Fish and Jonathan Swift coming in with Craig Hannant and Bailey Hunter dropping to the bench.
The first 15 minutes saw The Stan keeping control of the ball, getting a few corners and a dangerous looking free kick. However, there was never any danger posed to the Esh goal mouth with the Back Line looking strong.
The first sniff of a real chance fell to Esh on the 12th minute, Jonathan Swift pouncing on a loose ball, 18 yard out bearing down on goal before the excellent Matthew Swift in the Stan goal made the first safe of the day, a theme that will be repeated throughout this report.
The 15th minute saw Swift rise to meet a Callum Boakes corner, the ball narrowly over saw a relieved looking Stan defence hold an inquisition to prevent the free header next time.
A vital weapon for Esh this year, may well be Max Stoker’s long throw, on the 20th minute he whipped the throw in from the left hand side of the 18 yard box, the forward 3 of Kent, Swift and Marley causing absolute chaos in the Stan defence, the ball eventually falling to a turning Nick Marley, 6 yards out who, whistled the ball just past the right hand post.
From the resulting goal kick by Smith, the ball found its way back to Swift who hit a snap shot, deflecting up in the air and landing perfectly in from of Marley, who attempts to stroke the ball past Smith….. who has other ideas, whilst the ball was in the air he reacts well and is able to get something on the Marley shot and preventing a deserved lead for Esh.
With Esh in the ascendancy Alex Hird got in and about the Stan defence, and stole the ball, passes it to Stoker, who plays a lovely weighted ball in from the by line, with Kent and Marley lurking… again Smith just steals in before them preventing a certain goal.
Still only in the 28th of the game and another Esh chance, Kent with superb footwork find Matty Allison chasing down the right wing, he beats two men with raw pace, gets to the byline and whips in a superb ball to Marley, the ball not quite sitting right at the first attempt for Marley gives Smith time to smother the attempt yet again.
On the 30th minute saw a shot from Max Stoker from 25 yards out blocked right back to him, superb footwork again allows him to dance past two defenders before unleashing a rocket of a shot that left Smith rooted to the spot, but just over the bar from 18 yards.
Again on the 39th minute the Stoker throw caused issues, this time a panicked clearance finds it way back to him, his cross finding Swift who glances a header just past the post.
The final action of the half, was also the first real chance for The Stan, Jonathan Wright with a viscous shot on a slick surface, which was palmed away well by Fish in the Esh goal, the ball finding its way back to the Stan substitute who was well offside.
HT: EWFC 0 – 0 Heaton Stannington
The fist half started with The Stan trying to get a foothold back in the game and pushing forward, this was a dangerous tactic with the pace of the Esh frontline, the ball found its way to Daniel Kent in his own half on the 48th minute. He takes the time to look up and plays a superb chip through to Marley just crossing the halfway line, sprinting forward being chased by the Stan defender all the way, Marley gets into the box and as he gets into the box and about to pull the trigger he goes down under pressure from the defender. All eyes turn to Mr. Pringle, who waves away the penalty with no hesitation.
51′ Goal EWFC 0 – 1 (Wright) Heaton Stannington
From a long ball forward Esh’s Gav Brown bundles over Wright some 25 yards to the right of the Esh goal, picking up a booking in the process, Joanathan Wright puts the ball down himself, composes himself and unleashes an unstoppable free kick over the 5 man Esh wall and into the top corner leaving Fish no chance. A goal out of nothing and without doubt an undeserved lead, but all the same an absolute worldy of a free kick.
From that point and for the next 10 minutes saw a rejuvenated Stan looking to put the game to bed, however some solid defence from Wilkinson, Brown, Johnson and Hird made the only chance that fell to Wright 20 yards out and past the post, the only real danger.
A change on the 63rd minute saw Bailey Hunter replace Sean Johnson at left back, giving Esh a fresh pair of legs to attack with.
65′ Goal EWFC 1 (Stoker) – Heaton Stannington
It was from a darting run from Hunter that the goal came from, he bursts down the left and puts a dangerous cross in just in front of Kent, cleared by the Stan defender, the ball finding its way to Max Stoker lurking 25 yards out, he takes a touch and then unleashes a viscous shot which finds its way past Smith, making his only error in the game, for Stokers first of the season and a well deserved equaliser.
The goal opened the game up massively, both teams creating chances, the first falling to Matty Allison of Esh. The Stags defender dances past 3 Stan players before looking up and delicately placing the shot into the bottom corner….. unfortunately for him Smith in the Stan goal produced another top class save to his left, the ball bouncing to Marley who sees his shot back, the third attempt a lob from 18 yards by Swift that beats Smith but also the post as well.
The Stans last real effort of the match saw a controversial incident, as Dan Robinson appears to kick the ball out of Mark Fish’s hands before finding himself with just Joe Wilkinson in the way of a certain goal. Wilkinson putting himself forward as a stand in keeper if the need ever arose, making himself a virtual wall to pass, Robinson striking the ball hard could only find the knees of Wilkinson in the way, a vital piece of defending earning his place on the man of the match poll…… see below.
Esh found themselves with the last two chances of the game, the first falling to Daniel Kent, who after a superb ball through found himself one on one with that man Smith again, who YET AGAIN provides a point blank save to keep The Stan in the game, again Swift attempts the lob however the keeper is up again to make a superb reach back over his head to prevent the goal.
The final chance fell to Esh, another dangerous corner from Boakes, saw two Esh players challenge and the ball somehow sliding over the bar.
The referee sounded the final whistle on a very entertaining game and comments from the Stan committee and fans that Matthew Smith saved The Stan from a defeat, even a heavy one. The Esh lads found themselves disappointed, which shows exactly how far the lads have come in such a short time.
The next game is another home game to Northallerton Town on Wednesday 16th August at 19:45. Just a heads up, due to holidays there will be no twitter updates or match reports for this game, apologies however normal service will be resumed next Saturday.
EWFC XI: Fish, Hird, Johnson (Hunter 63′), Stoker (c)(g), Brown (y), Wilkinson, Kent (Taylor 80′), M. Allison, Marley, Boakes, Swift
Unused subs: Hannant, Day, L. Allison
Heaton Stan: Smith, Steddart, Deagle, Ray, Imlay (c), Chapman, McCarthy, McKenna, Wright (g), Jones, Laidler
Subs: Wear, Robinson, Hoggins, Johnson, James
Referee: J. Pringle
Assistants: C. Stoles, C. Kitson
Match Sponsor: Mr Tony Boakes
Post Match Interview: https://www.facebook.com/ewfc1913/?hc_ref=ARRH7TljjCd_VkFYr8rhrBwDdKNtq5DwXutEx_IocDUo-MaPj8MQxGC74yLczfcx9OQ&fref=nf
MOTM Poll: https://twitter.com/EWFC1913/status/896408063242096640
All views expressed are my own and do not represent those of the club