Tuesday 18th February
The Brewery Field
Durham Challenge Cup Semi-Final
A scintillating second half performance from Moors swept Northern League Division One leaders Stockton Town to reach the final of the Durham Challenge Cup final.
In front of a packed Brewery Field, eclipsing attendances from previous rounds, Moors came close to taking the lead when Gavin Codgon took down Billy Whitehouse’s crossfield pass before finding the run of Adam Boyes.
Boyes beat the offside flag but could not find a way past Callum Roberts who was quick off his line to deny the Moors striker.
Stockton posed an early threat on the counter through former Spennymoor winger Kevin Hayes, with his pace and trickery proving a constant menace down the right, as The Anchors looked to build on their nine consecutive league victories.
It was Hayes who was heavily involved as Stockton deservedly took the lead after a succession of corners finally reaped a reward.
The wingers deadly cross to the back post found the head of Max Craggs who had the simple task of nodding past debutant Dale Eve.
That lead gained during a period of dominance for the Northern League Division One leaders, only lasted ten minutes as Adam Boyes continued his fine scoring record in the competition.
Mark Anderson struck a dipping free kick which was palmed away by Roberts, with Boyes reacting quickly following a header back into the six-yard box.
A first half which was hotly contested almost saw a third goal when Whitehouse’s superb cross found the run of Anderson, but his effort flew inches over despite making a solid connection on the volley.
Anderson’s growing importance for Moors in the contest became increasingly noticeable, and he almost scored within a minute of the restart when he dragged a shot goal wards which was collected by Roberts.
A bright start in the second half from Moors was rewarded with two quick fire goals which took the game away from Stockton and put one foot in the final for Andy Lowe and his squad.
Boyes netted his and Moors’ second nine minutes after the restart with a sweet strike from the edge of the box following a clearance from a corner, before Stephen Brogan’s cross sailed over the head of Roberts just two minutes later.
Despite a turgid opening to the second half, Moors were thankful for the reflexes of Eve after he tipped over Daniel McWilliams’ goal bound effort, before Tom Coulthard headed wide from a corner.
Three should have become four when Anderson missed a guilt-edge chance to increase the advantage. Boyes unselfishly played the ball across the six-yard box, but his attempted dink was thwarted by the hand of Roberts.
The visitors enjoyed their first spell of dominance as the second half advanced, but Moors continued to create openings in a much improved second half display. On this occasion the excellent Roberts denied substitute Rob Ramshaw after he broke clear and tried to round the Anchors keeper.
But the Stockton keeper was finally beaten after a string of saves when his namesake, James Roberts, was first to the ball, and with the goal at his mercy, he kept his composure and bent the ball in the bottom corner.
Moors wil face Sunderland Under 23s in the final after their 4-2 win over Seaham Red Star.
12. Roberts 13. Gould 14. Taylor 15. Ramshaw 16. Webb
12. Risborough 13. Owens 14. Mulligan 15. Jackson 16. Bulmer
A solid and commanding display from Stockton local Henry, winning key battles in midfield all evening.
Moors host Alfreton Town on Saturday at The Brewery Field.