Whickham FC sank to their second defeat in a row after a second half collapse, allowing Stockton to score four times in the last 45 at the First Mortgage Glebe.
Despite the away side taking an early lead, the Lang Jacks controlled the rest of the first period before seeing four more goals hit the back of the net in the second half including a spectacular goal from the half-way line.
Mark Convery made three changes to the starting eleven bringing in Lee McAndrew, Steve Bowey and Liam Doyle to replace Dale Burrell, Lewis McNall and Declan Bisset with McAndrew dropping into left-back as Charlie Exley replaces the injured Dale Burrell.
Whickham had most of the possession early on with their closest chance coming from a Doyle free-kick that was punched away after it fizzed towards goal in the eighth minute.
Shortly afterwards Stockton went one-nil up through Mikey Roberts when Town hit the hosts on the break with Kevin Hayes and Lewis King combining before Nathan Mulligan pulled the ball back to Roberts who slid the ball home at the back post.
The Lang Jacks came back fighting almost equalising after 13 minutes when nobody could put the ball in the net after Scott Robson’s header caused a goalmouth scramble.
Robson was again in the heart of the action when he drove at the defence before pile-driving his shot goal-wards but the Stockton ‘keeper got down well to push his effort away.
The team in front only had one more major chance before the break with Regan Ward standing strong to deny an effort at his near post in the 33rd minute.
Five minutes later the home side should have been level after Zak Atkinson was denied by Lee Roberts in goal before McAndrew scooped the rebound against the crossbar before the ball was eventually cleared.
The Anchors got off to a flying start in the second half when they passed their way around the Whickham area before King found Jamie Owens’ before Owen’s effort was blocked into the path of Nathan Mulligan who tapped home.
The away side started taking control – with Max Craggs and Owens firing shots just over the bar as well as the latter bringing the best from Ward in the Whickham goal – denying Owens from point-blank range.
Town then added a third shortly after the hour mark when Mikey Roberts deep corner found Dale Mulligan before Mulligan pulled the ball back to Thomas Coulthard who had an easy finish.
Dale Mulligan then scored the goal of the game and perhaps the season when he lobbed the goalkeeper from the half-way line despite Ward’s efforts to clamber back three minutes after their third goal.
Lee Roberts was clinging onto his clean sheet when he stopped Atkinson from six-yards out before diving at the feet of the forward to stop a goal-scoring opportunity.
King then compiled to the home sides’ misery when he fired home a fifth goal at the near post with two minutes remaining.
Starting XI: R. Ward, T. Howard, L. McAndrew, C. Exley, J. Errington, K. Downey (D. Bisset, 65′), L. Doyle, C. Newton, S. Robson (O. Leedham, 82′), S. Bowey (L. McNall, 56′), Z. Atkinson. Unused Substitutes: L. Taylor-Dodd, A. Hanley.
Three things we learned:
- Against quality opposition Whickham need to take chances when we have them, otherwise teams like Stockton Town will strangle the Lang Jacks out of the game.
- Much better than the last match in terms of creating chances, we just need to be patient and not panic on the ball as much at times.
- A break away from the football may be beneficial in order for key players to come back into the squad after their injuries.
After the match Ben Robinson spoke to Charlie Exley:
Match sponsor: The Mill House
Match ball sponsor: Movin’ Legal Ltd
Man of the match (sponsored by Target Property Services NE): Conor Newton