Hockey: Stanway leads from front to complete North Stafford comeback
STUART Stanway's second successive hat-trick put the seal on a stunning North Stafford comeback in their Midlands One clash at Burton.
North Stafford were staring down the barrel at 3-1 down, but Stanway – who had also plundered a treble against Melton last weekend – and Randall Moore ensured the visitors claimed a 4-3 win.
An away victory seemed to be a distant dream in the early stages as Burton took a stranglehold on proceedings.
A couple of penalty corner conversions left their Staffordshire rivals 2-0 ahead, although North Stafford gradually clawed their way back into the match.
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Moore had already been denied by the umpire's whistle, before Stanway reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time from a penalty corner routine.
Optimism was temporarily muted, however, in the second half once Burton restored their two-goal cushion.
But with Moore becoming an increasingly influential figure in the middle, North Stafford grew in stature.
Moore's skill and trickery won a penalty corner, which he subsequently converted, while Stanway repeated the trick after Josh Slater's goal-bound shot had struck a Burton foot.
The hosts, looking slightly deflated by North Stafford's comeback, struggled to stem the tide, and it was no surprise when the visitors grabbed the winner.
More poor defending from Burton, seven minutes from time, resulted in a penalty corner, which allowed Stanway to complete his hat-trick.
Burton had one final chance to salvage some reward from the game, but debutant goalkeeper Alex McQuade smothered the attack to deny them.
Fifth-placed North Stafford face a tough test this Saturday when unbeaten league leaders Bridgnorth roll into town.
THE goals continue to flow at STONE, although they could only muster a point from a 6-6 draw with Midlands One strugglers Warwick.
Stone's six matches have now produced a remarkable 44 goals, although they would have been disappointed not to have taken maximum spoils against their winless rivals.
They led 4-2 at the interval and 6-4 in the closing stages, but their failure to see out matches once again proved to be their Achilles heel.
Striker Jon Allchin set the ball rolling for Stone, and further efforts from player-coach David Smith, Matthew Ayling and captain Matt Holmes left them in command.
Warwick had earlier opened their account to make it 2-1, and another goal on the stroke of half-time kept them in contention.
The visitors emerged on the front foot in the formative stages of the second period, which culminated in them adding a third to their tally.
Laurence Bassett put more daylight between the sides, but despite being a man down because of a sin-binning, Warwick quickly made it 5-4.
Smith's second of the afternoon restored Stone's two-goal advantage, although a plucky late rally from Warwick saw them convert two short corners to bring an end to the 12-goal extravaganza.
CREWE Vagrants remain bottom of North League Division One after losing 2-1 at home to Leeds.
Prolific scorer Pete Cornell was on the mark for Crewe, but it was to no avail as the visitors claimed the points.
SOUTH CHESHIRE, though, had plenty of reasons to smile after climbing up to third place in North League Division Two (West) with a 1-0 victory over Northern.