Thursday, 26 July 2012

Late Johnson effort denies Town


TOWN'S pre-season preparations continued with this unfortunate defeat against Division One side Shildon at the RGPS Stadium last night. After working hard to come back from an early two-goal deficit, Town were denied a fully deserved share of the spoils by a late Adam Johnson winner.

Manager Mark Fanning, who was less than impressed with his sides effort in Saturday's defeat to Pickering Town, was far more satisfied this time, after seeing his troops more than match their top flight visitors for much of the match.

"That was much better," he said. " We were lethargic on Saturday but played with better tempo tonight. It was a good test for us against a very good side and was a good work out. This was more like the sort of performance I expect from us.

We have some more tough games up, but I would rather we were testing ourselves pre-season than winning games 4/5-0 against weaker opposition."

The Town starting XI saw six changes from that defeat to Pickering. New signing James Briggs was in goal, with Craig Winter, Danny Shoulder and Anthony Roberts lining up alongside Stu Dunn in the back four. Gary Cook made his first pre-season appearance in a five man midfield - alongside Marcus Laing and Steve Butterworth - with Col Anderson and Stu Hardy supporting loan striker Carl Chillingsworth.

But it was Shildon who got off to a flying start, scoring twice in the opening nine minutes. Johnson got the first with a shot from the edge of the penalty area that sneaked into the bottom right-hand corner of Briggs' net, before Robbie Briggs tapped home the second from a Chris Hughes cross soon after.

Town looked shell-shocked but slowly began to get a foothold in the match. They halved the deficit when Cook beat visiting goalkeeper Keith Finch with a 25 yard free kick in the 13th minute, and it was difficult to tell which was the first division side after that.

Hardy twice saw efforts blocked as Town went in search of an equaliser, while Anderson and Chillingsworth both came close before the break.

Town came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second period and were almost level within four minutes. Chillingsworth beat Finch with a neat chip from 20 yards, but the ball flew narrowly over the crossbar.

Shildon seemed content to play on the break now but it almost brought them a third goal in the 52nd minute. Chris Hughes, who was a constant threat, pulled the ball back from the right and substitute Daniel Richmond was only denied by a fine save from Steve Craggs, who had replaced Briggs in goal for the second half.

But Town were level four minutes later. A free kick from Cook found the head of Chillingsworth ten yards out but the ball bounced up and struck Shildon captain Justin Keegan on the arm. The visitors were unhappy with the award of the penalty and Chris Hunter was ordered to be substituted after arguing a little too vigorously.

Despite the delay, however, Shoulder took on the responsibility and sent Finch the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-2.

There only looked like being one winner now as Town pressed forward, but a flurry of substitutions twenty minutes from time turned the tide back in Shildon's favour.

Hughes had gone close to the goal his all-round play deserved before Johnson struck what proved to be the winner nine minutes from time - firing low past Craggs from 12 yards after a great through ball from Richmond.

So, another defeat, but the result was overshadowed by the performance. Recovering well from a slow start, Town were the better side for much of the night against what was a very strong Shildon side, and that augers well for the season ahead.

With three tough away trips to come before the big kick-off against Guisborough Town in the F.A Cup on August 11 - starting at Billingham Synthonia on Saturday - things are not about to get any easier. But that is just the way Fanning likes it.

TOWN - Briggs, Roberts, Dunn, Shoulder, Winter, Cook, Hardy, Butterworth(S), Anderson, Chillingsworth, Laing. Subs - Craggs, Coleman, Hemingbrouhgh, Bowman, Caisley, Banks, Bulmer.

SHILDON - Finch, Christenson, Brankstone, Clarkson, Hunter, Keegan, Hughes, Gardner, Briggs, Johnson, Wood. Subs - Garvie, Kane, Richmond, McCabe.


  1. I think you are being a little generous there. I thought Shildon played the better football, looked half a yard quicker. That said they are one of the better paid sides in Div 1, with a big budget. Still not a bad performance.

  2. A very fortunate penalty award, no wonder our player protested like he did, however,overall the result was a fair one on the night.

  3. Its good to see that we have almost scored on average a goal in every pre season match, but on the flip side we have almost conceded 3 goals in every match.

  4. Word in the town is that our budget is substatial, so we should be giving clubs like these a run for their money.

  5. We have scored on average a goal in every match. 1 against Pickering, 2 last night = 3 divided by 3 = 1.
    But your quite right with the goal shipped.

  6. Good report Ricky. Be the Press Officer for the majority and not the Propaganda Officer for the few.

  7. Was it Pete Bulmer or his bro who played last night ?

  8. Word in the town is we did give Shildon a run for their money.

  9. Word in the town is that on that budget, not only promotion, but promotion as Champs!

  10. Like the reports Ricky,as for town finish above Crook or North shields and your going up.

  11. "Word in the Town" is a load of bollocks...Shildons budget is probably 3x Towns. Has Bulmer gone to Consett?

  12. £ 850.00 a week seems a good budget to me.

  13. More like £550-£575

  14. Excellent reports Ricky. Doubt if any club in the league has such a professional approach to media output.

  15. Word in the town? Budget of £850 a week, really? Unless you know the facts don't bother commenting, speculation is nothing.
    Didn't the manager say that he wanted tough pre-seasons? Half you you lot need to find something else to moan about, you should be supporting your town instead of all the negativity

  16. If you carn't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.