Stockton Town (A) – Saturday, 18th November 2023
Stockton Town were formed in 1979 as Hartburn Juniors, initially as a five-a-side team but they quickly grew to have multiple full teams.
The 1980s saw them still as mainly a junior team but in the 1990s they pushed on again and the 2000s was a period of further growth including a name change to Stockton Town in 2003.
By the end of the 2015-16 season they had won four successive league titles and found themselves in the Northern League.
An FA Vase Final followed in 2018 and 3,300 spectators saw the two legs of the semi-final against Marske United.
In 2019-20 they led the table at the time Covid came along and records were expunged.
However the following season when the two campaigns were combined, Stockton found themselves promoted to the NPL Division One East.
They have been losing playoff finalists in each season since, with the most recent a penalty shootout loss to Long Eaton United.
The Anchors took only one point from their opening two games of this season but then found their rhythm with four wins on the spin.
September saw a couple of defeats without scoring, but comprehensive victories over North Ferriby, Ashington and Grimsby Borough followed.
They come in to this Bishopton Road West clash off the back of three successive wins without conceding including an impressive 4-0 victory over Gateshead during the week in the Durham Senior Cup.
An average attendance of 537 is matched by Ashington but bettered by no one.
The FA Cup campaign was ended by Warrington Rylands and the FA Trophy campaign by Bootle.
Manager Michael Dunwell has been in charge for a decade.
Kevin Hayes leads the scoring charts with 8, closely followed by Michael Roberts with 7 and Michael Fowler with 6.
They currently sit 3rd in the table with a record of P 13 W 8 D 2 L 3 F 25 A 11 Pts. 26. At home they are unbeaten and have won 5 out of 7. They have the meanest defence in the division while Belper boast the most goals scored.
The Nailers also come in to the game with back to back clean sheets behind them, in our case shutouts against Brighouse and Liversedge.
The Nailers sit 2nd in the table with a record of P 13 W 9 D 1 L 3 F 31 A 15 Pts. 28
Away from home, Belper have won 5, drawn 1, lost 1.
Kevin Bastos leads the way with 13 goals, with Cam Johnson on 6, he was joined on this number last weekend by skipper Phil Watt. Rev James has 5.
Head to Head
The Nailers met the old Stockton FC in the old Midland Counties League twice but have never met Stockton Town FC.
The return fixture from today is scheduled for the final day of the season - Saturday, 27th April.
Form Guide (League)
Stockton Town - (7 Oct) WWDLWW (11 Nov)
Belper Town - (30 Sep) WWLDWW (11 Nov)
Kevin Bastos serves a one match suspension following his red card last weekend.
The Nailers were agonisingly close to regaining top spot last weekend, with Ossett going from 0-3 to 4-3 against Hebburn but in the end the visitors secured the point they needed to stay at the summit.
Belper will regain 1st position if they better Hebburn's result this weekend.
Even with defeat, the lowest possible position at full time is 5th.
For the hosts, they can also go top if they win and Hebburn lose - Stockton's goal difference is bettered only by Belper.
Stockton Town vs. Belper Town
Northern Premier League Division One - East Division
Saturday, 18th November 2023 – 3:00pm kick off
Bishopton Road West
Stockton on Tees
Tickets: Adults £9, Concessions £7, U16s £3
Follow the match
Live commentary is available with Tom on Radio Belper Town - https://radiobelpertown.mixlr.com
Full coverage on X (Twitter). Team news, HT & FT scores on Facebook.
Match reports to follow on the website and in the Non-League Paper.
Elsewhere in Division One East
It's top against bottom at Hebburn, elsewhere difficult games to call.
(12th) Bridlington Town v Consett AFC (4th)
(8th) Carlton Town v Brighouse Town (13th)
(9th) Cleethorpes Town v Ossett United (14th)
(7th) Dunston v Stocksbridge Park Steels (19th)
(16th) Grantham Town v Winterton Rangers (18th)
(1st) Hebburn Town v Sheffield (20th)
(10th) Liversedge v Grimsby Borough (15th)
(5th) North Ferriby v Ashington AFC (11th)
(6th) Pontefract Collieries v Newton Aycliffe (17th)