Originally published by SportsByte on February 7th 2013.
Silksworth Rangers’ dreadful Wearside League season continued as they lost 6-1 at home to high-flying Stockton Town.
Striker Tom Atkinson scored a first-half hat-trick as league leaders Stockton demolished a dreary Silksworth. Daniel Lawson also scored in the first half, while Stephen Roberts and substitute Sean Kell completed the rout.
Bottom side Silksworth were playing only their fourth game since the end of November due to a weather-plagued few months. Winger Tom Leuenberger got their only goal on his debut with 10 minutes left.
Following the heavy defeat, Silksworth chairman David Steele said that the game was “men against boys”, adding: “I felt that they totally bossed us for the whole game. After the third goal, they eased off.”
There had been signs of improvement for Silksworth before the weather hampered their season, with close defeats to Darlington Cleveland Bridge and Kirkbymoorside in the league and an agonising 1-0 defeat at Easington Colliery in the preliminary round of the League Cup giving them hope for the rest of the season.
But Silksworth started in dreadful fashion in the freezing conditions at The Bobby Gurney Memorial Ground, going behind within a matter of minutes.
Nervous and almost fearful, the home defence gave Atkinson – 17 goals in 12 matches before this one – ample space and time to coolly score the opener past a helpless Adam Don inside two minutes.
Atkinson doubled his tally for the evening from the spot after Rangers’ Eoin Shannon conceded a penalty with a desperate lunge. Within minutes, any kind of comeback was practically out of sight as Lawson crashed in a 25-yard shot to make it 3-0 before the 20 minute mark.
Silksworth offered little attacking threat, although full-back David Stevens – following a clever one-two – shot wide from just outside the box and ambitiously fired wide from range.
Their defence was still in tatters with every Stockton attack, though, and Atkinson completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time, latching on to a brilliant through ball from the Stockton half to finish with ease.
There were bursts of energy in the second half from Silksworth, and substitutes Paul Muir and Glen Hargrave added a bit of vibrancy to either flank, but striker Jon Turvey was largely isolated throughout the game and Silksworth – as a team – lacked imagination.
It was inconceivable at half-time, with Silksworth 4-0 down, that there wouldn’t be any more goals, and after 10 minutes, Roberts scored the fifth from inside the area. Kell then smashed in from 20 yards for the sixth.
Silksworth did manage to score a consolation goal, Leuenberger heading home a brilliant, swerving free-kick in the dying moments, but chairman Steele was under no illusions as to the difference between the two sides.
Steele said: “There was a clear class difference. In the second half, they (Stockton) rang the changes, took the leading scorer off and gave the bench a run-out.
“The only time Silksworth got into the game was when they changed the formation and put some youth on,” Steele added, as Silksworth remained rooted to the bottom of the league.
SportsByte’s star man: Stockton’s Tom Atkinson was outstanding up front and could have notched more than a first-half hat-trick. It was an outstanding performance from Town’s top goalscorer.
Silksworth Rangers 1 – 6 Stockton Town
Leuenberger 81 Atkinson 2, 13, 45+1
Silksworth Rangers starting XI: Adam Don, David Stevens, Michael Curtis, Neil Jones, Simon French, Eoin Shannon, Dean Hannah, Carl Burns, Andrew Baxter, Tom Leuenberger, Jon Turvey.
Stockton Town starting XI: Scott Allison, Daniel Lawson, Michael Arthur, Tom Coulthard, Stephen Roberts, David Dowd, Scott Meehan, Andy Westwood, Tony Johnson, Joe Hinchley, Tom Atkinson.