IT was honours even for Stockton and Guisborough Town in the first game of the 2020/21 season.

Stockton dominated the early period of the game, with a cross narrowly evading forward Mikey Roberts at the back post of the Guisborough goal in the seventh minute.

Aaron Steavens was tested once again in the 15th minute, when Nathan Mulligan fired a shot across the goal which was well saved by Steavens. Three minutes later, Sonni Coleman was involved in a clash in the box, but the referee waved play on, much to the dismay of the travelling Guisborough fans who were hoping for a penalty.

Just before the half hour mark, the Anchors capitalised on a rare Steavens mis-kick, and it was Mikey Roberts who coolly slotted the ball home for the hosts to make the score 1-0.

Guisborough's efforts went unrewarded until the 57th minute, when substitute Louis Goldsack was left unmarked in the penalty area and headed in a Callum Martin corner to level the scores at 1-1.

Scorer turned provider when ten minutes later Goldsack played a clever through ball to Sonni Coleman, whose chipped finish put the Priorymen 2-1 up against his former club.

On the 75th minute, Stockton were awarded a free kick. The effort rebounded off Guisborough bar and fell to Coulthard two yards out, who levelled the scores. With a minute left to play, Stockton looked to break dangerously, but a strong – and late – tackle from Charlie Marshall soon put an end to it and saw him receive a yellow card for his efforts. The referee blew the whistle for full time just after Stockton took their free kick.

Priorymen manager Gary Forster said: “I thought it was a great team performance today. We could’ve played a bit more, especially when we were on the front foot, and we rushed ourselves a bit, so we have to improve on that aspect of our game."

Earlier in the week, on a night pouring with rain at the KGV, it was the Priorymen who emerged as winners in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round against a good Newton Aycliffe side. A goal from Nathan Guru was the difference between the sides.

The 200 fans present, who were in the ground for the first cup game post-lockdown, were treated to a spectacular end to the game, including a 90th minute goalmouth scramble in Guisborough's defence, after which the referee signalled for four added minutes.

In the 94th minute an Aycliffe player was brought down in the box, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

But 18-year-old Aaron Steavens – on his official cup debut for the club – saved the kick low and to his left, to the delight of Guisborough fans around the KGV. Upon kicking the ball out from his hands, the referee blew for full time, and Guisborough saw out a thoroughly enjoyable 1-0 victory.

Forster said: “I thought it was an unbelievable performance. Aycliffe are a good, organised, well-drilled side, and we knew it was going to be one of our toughest games of the season.”