Happy Hebburn Town more than hold their own away at Stockton

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Hebburn Town stood firm and stopped Ebac Northern League Division Two league leaders in their tracks with a well-earned 1-1 away draw.

Prior to this game Stockton Town had been on a tremendous run which had seen them win their last eleven games as they stood proud at the top of the league with a two point advantage over Team Northumbria.

Hebburn although having been in good form at the end of 2016, had faltered of late and lost their last game at home to Billingham Town 3-2 last Saturday.

The opening minutes saw the Hornets play some good football and enjoyed a lot of possession.

This was rewarded in the 16th minute with a spectacular goal from an unlikely source.

When the ball was cleared by the Stockton defence, there appeared to be no danger when the ball reached Hebburn midfielder Michael Watson, almost 40 yards from goal.

Michael took one step forward and smashed a volley into the top corner of the net with the home keeper helpless.

The Hornets’ 4-3-3 formation was proving to be an effective ploy with Hargrave and Feasey providing width, with Iain Bickerstaff driving the side from midfield.

Stockton began to use the long ball and this was more than adequately dealt with by Chris Smith and Rhys Williams at the heart of the Hebburn defence.

Hebburn almost doubled their lead midway through the half and were only thwarted by an excellent save by the Stockton keeper, who turned a Kris Summers header over the bar.

When Stockton created opportunities, great blocking tackles by Chris Smith and Summers, and confident goal keeping by Steve Hubery maintained the 1-0 lead going into the interval.

Hebburn were unfortunate not to score again on the hour mark, when Channon North drove to the byline and pulled the ball back to Callum Smith, but with only the keeper to beat Callum, shot wide of the post from 10 yards.

However, in the 76th minute, the Teessiders drew level in somewhat fortunate circumstances when the referee awarded a free-kick just outside the box when it was not obvious that an offence had been committed.

During the stoppage, Stockton brought on substitute Tony Johnson, and with his first touch of the game glided a header from the free-kick past Steve Hubery for the equaliser.

Steve Hubery, shortly after made a great save to fling himself to his right to get a strong hand to a well taken free-kick from the edge of the box, while at the other end Chris Feasey drove a free-kick narrowly wide.