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Men's 2's - Newcastle Medics 2's (A) - 1-7 (W)

Date: Saturday 23rd September 2023, 14:00

MOM: Adam Derry

Goals: Molyneux x4

Heayns x3

In their opening league fixture of the season, Stokesley embarked on an away journey to face Newcastle Medics, a location where the team's second string has often found it challenging to get results.

However, Stokesley came out of the blocks with undeniable vigour. Just ten minutes in, a brilliantly executed sequence saw Luke Middlemiss and Adam Derry initiate a play that found its way to Ollie Peel down the line. This led to a short corner opportunity, which was skillfully injected by Mark Armitstead, stopped dead in its tracks by Christopher Heayns, and then thunderously drag-flicked into the roof of the net by Phil Molyneux. The scoreboard read 1-0 to Stokesley.

But Stokesley were far from content. Another fluid move through the midfield set up Molyneux for a blistering shot towards the Medics' goal, which Heayns deftly deflected into the net. The tempo didn't let up; twenty minutes in, Shaun Wallace regained possession and fed the ball to Sam Pennington, who in turn found an on-form Middlemiss. Heayns received the ball near the top of the 'D', manoeuvred deftly past a defender, and fired it into the roof of the goal once more.

However, Medics then enjoyed a resurgence with some compelling play. Stokesley's formation lost some of its early coherence, and they were fortunate to go into halftime preserving their clean sheet.

As the second half got underway, pressure was evident from both sides, though Medics managed to carve out the more dangerous opportunities. The new defensive backline comprising Harry Bell, Mark Armitstead, Dan Walker, and Shaun Wallace had to resort to some desperate, last-ditch defending yet remained stedfast.

An overcommitment from Medics eventually played into Stokesley's hands. Ben Enderwick initiated a lightning-quick counter-attack with a perfectly weighted pass. Molyneux collected the ball on the wing and unleashed an inch-perfect aerial to Heayns, who finished exquisitely with a reverse stick shot into the corner.

But Stokesley then found themselves on the back foot, perhaps due to early-season fatigue or a heightened Medics press. The opposition eventually breached the Stokesley defence, narrowing the scoreline to 4-1 with only 15 minutes remaining. While Medics dominated briefly, a well-orchestrated move from Morris found Molyneux, who netted his second goal of the day.

While a Heayns hat-trick on the season's opening day would typically be considered an exceptional feat, Molyneux was far from done. He continued to dazzle, adding both his third and fourth goals in the closing stages of the match.

In a brilliant team effort under sustained pressure, Adam Morris masterfully picked out Molyneux for what seemed like an effortless tap-in. Yet the crowning touch to an already impressive early-season result came when Middlemiss skillfully forced a turnover. He slipped the ball to Molyneux, who displayed remarkable finesse by finishing the move with a pinpoint reverse-stick shot, leaving no doubt about his prowess on the pitch.

Special commendation must be extended to Matt Hibbert, Stokesley's goalkeeper, who put in a series of significant saves that undoubtedly kept the match from being a far closer affair. All told, it was a promising start to the season for Stokesley, who will surely look to build on this compelling performance in their upcoming matches.

Next game: Morpeth 2's Away (Saturday 30th September 2023, 12:15 push back)

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