TEESSIDE & BECKETT LEAGUE: Star man Smith's free-kick secures success for Staithes
A last-gasp free-kick from man of the match Gary Smith fired resurgent Staithes Athletic to a 2-1 win at home to Redcar Town.
Joe Butters’ 20th-minute header put the hosts ahead against their visitors, who sit in third in the Teesside League table and had made a bright start to proceedings.
Despite dominating the midfield battle throughout the opening 45 minutes, Staithes were pegged back when a Ryan Benions header dragged Redcar level shortly before the interval.
The hosts had to defend well after the break as Redcar got on the front foot, but they managed to stave off the pressure and regained a foothold in what quickly became an end-to-end encounter.
With just five minutes left on the clock a Staithes attacked was cynically tripped up right on the edge of the box when through on goal.
Much to the frustration of the Staithes players, the referee brandished only a yellow card.
Their anger was shortlived however, as star man Smith guided the resulting free-kick into the back of the net to seal an impressive win for Staithes.
Staithes host Nunthorpe Athletic this weekend as they look to extend their impressive run of form.
Elsewhere in the Teesside League, Fishburn Park’s dismal run of late continued at Stockton West End.
Played on an artificial 3G surface, Park started the better of the sides.
Mark Waterfeld and James Organ-Simpson combined well and Waterfield hit a shot from distance which the home keeper tipped over the bar for a corner.
With Park only travelling with 13 men and Steve Mothersdale named as a substitute with injuries and unavailability, the away side were without leading scorer Dan Brown, plus Callum Halley, Jake Faichney and Mikey Kilpatrick.
Park settled down and should have broken the deadlock as Organ-Simpsonsquared to Nathan Storr after a great run downthe left, but the West End keeper saved well.
Stockton took the lead when they worked the ball out wide and a pinpoint cross was headed across keeper Kieran Noble and into the far corner to open the scoring.
Within minutes it was 2-0 to the hosts as Ben Wilson was ruled to have handled the ball when it bounced up behind him a free-kick was awarded.
The resulting free-kick was saved by Noble, but the ball fell to a home striker to turn into the net.
There were furious claims of offside from the Park players, but these were waved away by the referee.
West End’s third came shortly after when a well worked ball into the box was met with a neat side-footed shot past Noble.
Park changed to a 4-4-2 at half-time having started the game 4-5-1 and this worked well for the away side.
Park pinned Stockton back and got their deserved reward when Organ-Simpson curled in over the keeper from 20 yards to make it 3-1.
Fishburn nearly had the game turned right back round, but Luke Storr and Waterfield missed glorious chances with close-range headers.
Then came the sucker punch as Stockton extending their lead on the break when a ball across goal had a queue of players waiting to tap home after sloppy marking.
The hosts added a fifth moments later ending the game as a contest.
Park will be boosted by the return of Sam Richardson after three months absence, and also welcome back a quartet of key men for their MacMillan Bowl League Cup semi-final clash at BEADS this week.
Andrew Menzies had a great game and Organ-Simpson also impressed.
Lealholm edged out Heslerton to move into the semi-finals of the Ryedale Hospital Cup.
The victors won by a single goal which was scored in the eighth minute after a Josh Hodgson corner was headed into the Heslerton goal by Dan Stonehouse from an acute angle.
Man of the match went to centre-back Mark McCarthy.
Their win set up a semi-final clash at home to Kirkbymoorside Reserves.
Lealholm host third-place Thornton-le-Dale Reserves this week.