Stanford 4 Norton Athletic 0
Norton beaten comfortably by Stanford
Video Highlights can be found here:
Norton travelled to Normanston Park and put in a dreary performance to match the miserable weather.
Sporting the new away kit sponsored by Evergreens Landscaping changes were once more enforced with Rory Spinks and Declan Mitchell unavailable from last week’s starting eleven so in came Carl Cooper and James McElhinney for his first competitive start.
The opening exchanges I felt were more favourable for Norton whom had plenty of possession in and around the Stanford box but in truth we lacked that cutting edge to create anything clear cut.
We did have the ball in the net early on but Choppa was ruled offside, a tight call.
For Norton the back 3 looked solid and when breached Adam Robinson was again in fine form and early on had to react sharply to tip over a header.
Norton appeared full of running and Choppa looked a threat, but he appeared to injure himself in taking a shot and thereafter looked less lively.
Still I felt with 25 minutes played Norton were the better side in terms of possession but in the 26th minute Stanford were awarded a penalty following a reckless challenge from MacDonald and this was duly converted.
Unfortunately, I felt this lead to the Norton heads dropping and our play became very frustrating with wrong decisions, stray passes and an apparent lack of desire all resulting to a very poor team performance.
That said 5 minutes before the interval we nearly drew level as Carl Cooper thumped a wicked shot that cannoned back off the underside of the bar before being cleared.
This pretty much summed up the performance and in first half injury time Stanford doubled their lead as they swept the ball from right to left before a composed side footed finish. Norton had plenty of men behind the ball but we all switched off and allowed the free strike at goal to trail 2-0 at the break.
Second half started in a similar fashion to the first with Norton pressing early on and seeing plenty of the ball around the Stanford box and early on Choppa gets in a strike at goal after the defender slipped but the keeper saved with his leg before the follow up by Hoadley was blocked.
Norton were getting frustrated at the lack of opportunities falling our way and as we started to push on the game was becoming stretched and Stanford starting to create opportunities on the counter one of which saw Adam Robinson require a big hand to push a shot away after Burcham slipped on what was fast becoming a slippery pitch.
With 17 minutes remaining it was game over as a mistake by Burcham led to the 3rd goal and after that it was down to Robinson to keep the scoring down with a string of top saves, blocks and claims but unfortunately, he could do nothing about the final goal that arrived in the 94th minute as Stanford once again countered after a Norton attack broke down.
Really this was one to forget with too many players having an off day or looking dis-interested.
The Read Bros MoM goes to Adam Robinson.
This week Norton travel to Corton to take on First & Last.