Stone Dominoes 3 Longton Area 1: Staffordshire County League Division One, Saturday 29th August
Longton Area were the visitors to Wellbeing Park in Yarnfield on Saturday as Stone Dominoes looked for their first home points of the campaign. Ash Thompson’s early strike had given them a half time lead before Kyle Cooke levelled things just after the break. Dominoes secured victory in the second half through Tom Broadhurst and a second from Thompson.
It was Dominoes who were out of the blocks the quickest, and they were nearly ahead after just 4 minutes when Ash Thompson was denied by the visiting goalkeeper after he was released one on one.
In a near identical move on seven minutes Thompson did break the deadlock. When Jack Steele released him behind the Longton defence he did not make the same mistake, sliding the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Four minutes later Ash Cooper thought he had doubled the lead in similar fashion, getting in behind the Longton back four and finishing well, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
With Dominoes on top Longton were struggling to get a foothold in the game, and when fullback Marcus Thorp charged down the left to produce an inviting cross, the away side were grateful that nobody in a red shirt was there to meet it.
There were signs that this could still be a nervy afternoon for the home side though, as the visitors forced a corner which resulted in a header just over the crossbar, before they nearly capitalised on a mistake in the Stone defence, Jimmy Hazleton blocking the strike at goal.
Ten minutes before the break Thompson found himself bearing down on the goalkeeper for a third time but was denied for the second time by the legs of the Longton man. Tom Broadhurst then failed to convert into an empty net as Cooper squared across the edge of the six yard box.
After the interval it was the away side that looked the sharper, and after threatening from one corner, on 52 minutes they made Dominoes pay for not extending their lead as Kyle Cooke headed them level from the delivery.
Longton had grown in confidence following the equaliser and were nearly ahead on the hour mark with a long range strike, Dominoes goalkeeper Dan Marsh flying to his right to superbly turn the ball round the post.
That was the catalyst for Kyle Adams to make a change in system and personnel, and it was substitute Joss Myatt who made an instant impact as he fought off a challenge down the right to produce a superb cross that could not quite be turned in by a Stone body.
The home side were starting to create chances again, and Cooper might have put them ahead as he raced clear of the defence, but he could not convert the opportunity, before Myatt was adjudged to have poked the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands before scoring in an empty net.
Tom Broadhurst finally added a second for Stone on 78 minutes as he received Thompson’s lay off 25 yards out and curled the ball beautifully into the far top corner to hand the hosts a 2-1 lead.
A few minutes later Longton’s high defensive line came unstuck as Thompson raced clear. As the assistant referee’s flag stayed down he calmly finished underneath the goalkeeper. As he did so though, the referee blew his whistle, and to the bemusement of all involved, gave the offside decision himself to overrule the decision of his assistant.
Jimmy Hazleton came close to increasing the lead late on as his header struck the post from a Broadhurst corner, before Thompson put the game beyond reach in the 90th minute with his second, finding himself released by the experienced Antony Byles to curl the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
It’s nice to break the duck at home and it’s a good three points because Longton came and made it difficult for us at times,” Kyle Adams concluded, adding, “We should have been further ahead at half time and that’s probably the most frustrating thing again. Credit to the boys that came on because they, and the change of system, seemed to make a difference.”
Dominoes will hope to make the most of seven days rest with no midweek game, as they welcome Abbey Hulton United Reserves to Yarnfield on Saturday 5th September, where they will be looking to make it back to back victories.