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Stockton Town 3 North Shields 1: Subpar second half sees Robins fall to 10-man Stockton

A subpar second half performance from the Robins saw them fall to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Stockton Town, who retain their 100% record in the league.

A closely contested first half was capped off when Stockton keeper Callum Roberts was given a straight red card for bringing down Kyle Patton when he was through on goal.

However, the Anchors weren’t fazed by the setback as goals from Jamie Owens and Kevin Hayes gave them a commanding 3-0 lead.

A late Gareth Bainbridge pen sparked hopes of a dramatic late comeback for the Robins, however, the hosts comfortably held on to secure all three points.

After a quiet opening couple of minutes, the Robins came close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Paul Robinson headed a Nick Cassidy cross over the crossbar.

Facing their toughest challenge of the season, the Robins weren’t fazed as a great run and cross from Cam Cunningham was inches away from being converted by Connor Campbell four minutes later.

Cunningham was having another strong start to the game and if not for a deflection off a Stockton defender, his rasping shot in the 18th minute would have found the back of the net.

Two minutes after that, Patton was the next Robins to test Stockton shot stopper Roberts, only for the keeper to make a smart blocking save.

It took until the 32nd minute for the next chance of the game, with Roberts making a terrific save to deny Cunningham what would have been a spectacular goal.

With the Robins firmly on top, things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Roberts brought down Patton as the attacker was clean through on goal. The referee was given no option but to send the keeper off, forcing midfielder Max Craggs to replace him in goal.

The Anchors came out for the second half galvanised and after only five minutes, they had their unlikely lead.

After a brilliant run down the flank from James Risbrough, Owens slid in at the far post to direct his team mates cross into the back of the net.

Only five minutes later, Stockton had their second of the game when Hayes was given far too much space to work his way into the penalty area before firing past Purvis.

The Robins were capitulating and on the 60 minute mark, they were awarded a penalty after Paul New brought Owens down in the penalty area. Thankfully for the Robins, Nathan Mulligan sent his spotkick well over the crossbar.

Stunned into action, the Robins began to push further forward and in the 62nd minute, Cassidy’s corner found Ryan Carr but his effort was blocked by a defender before the ball was cleared.

Shields’ spell of pressure was short lived as in the 68th minute, the hosts put the game to bed when a freekick into the box was powered home by Owens at the far post.

With time almost up, the Robins were given a chance to salvage something from this game after the referee awarded the visitors a penalty. Despite Bainbridge missing his initial spot kick, he thumped the rebound home to spare his blushes.

Moments later, Bainbridge could well have had a second when the experienced striker got on the end of a ball into the box, only to see the stand in keeper pull off a save.

And with the last chance of the game, Bainbridge was once again at the centre of the action when his headed effort cannoned off the crossbar before being cleared.