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Castle on point for the points

Match Report


Christopher Sweetman

Newcastle got off to a lively start, with Jayden Hunter shooting wide from range inside the first minute.

The visitors continued to start well, with their pressing game keeping Hanley penned in for most of the opening exchanges.

However, Hanley did show a sign of the threat that has made them a promotion favourite, as their first real attack forced a sharp save from Joe Slinn.

Newcastle did not let that early warning rattle them, and they soon had the first goal of the game.

Tommy van der Laan’s long ball landed kindly for Hunter, whose pace allowed him to burst past two defenders, before calmly slotting past Hanley keeper Kieran Harrison.

Newcastle then had their second minutes later, as Hunter made space for himself, before feeding Jack van der Laan, who threaded the ball past Harrison.

Although Hanley Town’s passing showed a well-drilled sharpness, they struggled with the lack of time and space the visitors gave them.

This meant that Newcastle frequently dispossessed them or broke down their attacks before Hanley could fashion chances.

Newcastle used their disruptions to push for a third, with Ethan Vale firing over the bar, before Jayden Hunter shot wide twice and Jack van der Laan forced Hnaley into a save.

The visitor’s final chance came with the last play of the half, after Harrison’s poor touch gifted them a corner, but James Askey’s header went over the bar.

Hanley went straight on the offensive after the break, but once again they were dispossessed at a key moment. Instead, Newcastle nearly got the early goal, after the impressive Hunter tackled Harrison in the box, but excellent defence prevented Tommy van der Laan from firing into the resultant open net.

Even with the early warning, Hanley could not keep the ball, and Newcastle almost took advantage twice.

First, an excellent last-ditch challenge prevented Will Lloyd taking a shot, before Michael Conlon fired narrowly wide of Lloyd’s cross.

Vale then fired a pressured shot straight at Harrison, before Lloyd got the ball stuck under his feet in prime shooting position.

However, as Newcastle’s spurned chances mounted, Hanley were starting to build momentum, with player-manager Carl Dickinson’s shot parried out by Slinn.

From the resultant corner, the ball dropped nicely for Louis Dodds off Chris Dagnalls header, whose skilled short range finish gave Hanley a lifeline.

The hosts were reinvigorated, and pushed hard for an equaliser in the last ten minutes.

However, Newcastle weathered the storm, and began to push back with Lloyd forcing a sharp save from Harrison late on.


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