Tuesday, 10 May 2011

381 Nathan Stanton

Position :  Centre  half

Played : 2006-07  to  2009-10

Appearances : 139

Goals : 0

So we come to the 2006-07 season and it really was a season of two halves. A desperate struggle with the motley-est squad of players since the end days of Docherty (or so it seemed at the time) followed by an astonishing turn around , the team zooming up the table in a blizzard of goals that started virtually the moment Parkin was sacked. If the decision had been taken a fortnight earlier we might well have made the play-offs with momentum on our side.

Nathan was one  of  only two  additions  to the squad before the pre-season friendlies started. We had tried to sign him the summer before but he chose to stay at Scunthorpe (his only club since making his League debut in 1998) instead. Unfortunately injuries had prevented him from contributing much more and the Irons had released him after 237 appearances and just one goal (in the 2003 play off semi-final ) .
It seemed like another questionable signing. He’d always been a right back for Scunthorpe and we already had three (Ramsden, Goodhind and Brown) . His recent injury record was also a cause for concern. However Nathan put a lot of those doubts to rest in the pre-season game against City when he played at centre half and got back for an amazing recovery tackle on Georgi Samaras that was worthy of Alan Reeves. Thereafter he always played centre half never appearing at right back in his four seasons with us.

Nathan stayed fit throughout his time at Spotland and was first choice centre half virtually all the time. He was a good foil for a big centre half with his speed on the ground and held his own in the air despite being on the short side for a central defender. He did need his pace because he wasn’t a great reader of the game and often had to use it to rescue a situation that he hadn’t noticed developing. He did make some bad blunders, having a dreadful game in the 7-1 defeat at Lincoln in November 2006 and giving the points away in Keith Hill’s first game in charge at MK Dons with an own-goal howler. He also had a suspect temperament and opponents (Chesterfield’s Jack Lester springs to mind) knew that and worked at getting him sent off with some success. He marred our 4-0 triumph at Bournemouth in 2009-10 (the result that really set our promotion train in motion) by earning a red card for an appalling lunge and gave a few penalties away (the one at home to Exeter in March 2009 just after we’d taken the lead being the most important) with reckless challenges.

For all his faults however he was a big part of each successful campaign in League Two and the indifference with which his hesitation over signing a one-year contract last summer was met was a major surprise. Doubtless it influenced his decision to stay in League Two with Burton who were offering more generous terms.

Nathan played 22 times for Burton in the season just gone.

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