Stockton Town remain unbeaten in Division One at the Coverall Stadium this season after a comprehensive victory over West Auckland Town.
Michael Roberts and Nathan Mulligan fired the Anchors into a two-goal cushion inside a pulsating 21 minutes before Peter Bulmer’s fruitful strike late on ensured a distasteful defeat for assistant manager Brian Atkinson’s side.
The result sees West drop to eighth in the Division One table while Stockton rise up to third, nine points behind league-leaders Hebburn Town with four games in hand.
The Anchors, who went into this game with one defeat in five matches, took the lead just six minutes in following a splendid individual goal from Michael Roberts as he dazzled his way into a shooting position before unleashing a 25-yard rocket past Tom Flynn in the bottom left corner.
West, after being slightly stunned, looked for an immediate reaction and Alex Francis watched his snapshot come back off the foot of the post as the hosts were given a brief scare of their own.
Though Michael Dunwell’s side soon found some breathing space and doubled their advantage when Mulligan slammed home the loose ball following an initial stop by Flynn to deny Bulmer at close-range.
Rees Greenwood linked up with Amar Purewal midway through the first half, but the latter was unable to keep his curling effort on target as the Anchors remained in firm control.
Stockton began after the break with the same intensity and ex-Auckland midfielder Tom Portas was eager to get in amongst the act and made a lung busting run to get on the end of Michael Roberts’ pass only to drag his right-footed shot inches past the post.
The only obstacle preventing the scoreline being far superior in favour of the hosts was Flynn’s goalkeeping heroics as he produced two further stunning saves in a matter of minutes to keep out Bulmer and Jamie Owens.
At the other end, Callum Roberts had little to do throughout the contest as West failed to register a single shot on target.
On 85 minutes, substitute Cieran Jackson and Owens combined before releasing Bulmer, who hammered into the roof of the net to send the Coverall Stadium into a carnival atmosphere and round off a comfortable evening for the Anchors.
Stockton Town – Callum Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, Nicholson (c), Coulthard, Michael Roberts (Jackson, 78), Robinson, Mulligan (Craggs, 80), Owens, Bulmer
Subs not used – Woodhouse, Risbrough, Cossavella
Goals – Michael Roberts (6), Mulligan (21), Bulmer (85)
West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Anthony Bell, Harwood (c), Mitton (Dodds, 59), Thompson, Greenfield (Burnicle, 78) Francis, Dowson, Purewal, Greenwood (Cobain, 59)
Subs not used – Colquhoun, Mark Bell
Referee – Martin Conroy
Attendance – 442