Saturday, 18 August 2012

Thrill-a-minute stuff as Town open the season with a point


TOWN KICKED OFF their Ebac Northern League Division Two campaign with this exciting 3-3 draw against Crook Town on Saturday.

Following on from the nine-goal thriller in the F.A Cup against Guisborough last week, Town certainly knows how to keep the crowd entertained as they served up another goal-fest in the sunshine at the RGPS.

There was drama in the build up to the game when captain Martin Butterworth announced he was leaving the club - saying the time was right for a new challenge - so the starting XI showed three changes from the cup defeat by Guisborough.

Anthony Roberts replaced Steve Banks at right back, Stu Hardy came in for Butterworth in midfield, while manger Mark Fanning preferred Carl Chillingsworth to Col Anderson up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

That looked to be a master-stroke when Chillingsworth got the Town league campaign off to a flying start. Adam Emson broke clear down the left inside two minutes and when his shot was saved by Crook keeper Barry Poskett, Chillingsworth was on hand to tap home the rebound.

Crook had arrived as pre-season favourites for promotion but Town were the better side for much of the opening half an hour. Emson's pace down the left was causing the visitors problems, while Chillingsworth was hungry for more goals as he fired over after linking well with Gav Parkin.

But for all their dominance it was the lapses of concentration at the back which were once again to prove their undoing. A long ball over the top by Chris Pearson caught the Town defence square and veteran striker Kevin Devine ran clear to coolly slot beyond the exposed James Briggs.

And Crook went in front two minutes later. David Paul was given far too much space on the right-hand edge of the penalty area and he made no mistake with an assured finish from 15 yards.

But, just as the previous week, Town responded well to going behind and turned the match on its head with two goals of their own in a stunning three minute spell.

They got themselves back on level terms in the 41st minute when a shot from James Bowman was deflected into the path of Chillingsworth to nod his second from close range, before Emson burst clear, rounded Poskett and slotted home his third goal of the season.

But Town could not hold on until half time. They failed to adequately defend a corner from the left by Christopher Wallace and defender Graham Liddle arrived unmarked to head home at the far post. So in a breath-taking ten minutes of football we had seen five goals.

The second half had a lot to live up to after that and sadly it did not produce any further scoring. Town clearly had the better of things, especially after Wallace was dismissed by referee Michael Thurston for lashing out at Parkin nine minutes after the restart.

Emson chipped narrowly over the top before appearing to be pushed in the back by Liddle as he burst into the area on the hour. But Thurston angered the home crowd by waving away their appeals for a penalty.

The ten men of Crook seemed happy to hang on for the point now although Briggs had to be alert to deny Paul and substitute Alex Marshall as they briefly threatened on the counter attack.

But there was only going to one winner in the closing stages as we witnessed wave after wave of black and white attacks. Anderson, who had replaced Emson, came close to creating what would surely have been the winner fifteen minutes from time with a lovely cross from the right.

Chillingsworth looked odds-on to complete his hat-trick from inside the six-yard box, but his shot was deflected harmlessly into the arms of Poskett as he was already wheeling away in celebration.

Meanwhile Steve Butterworth - another second half substitute - chipped the ball over the advancing Crook keeper only to see it nestle frustratingly on the roof of the net.

The best chance of all, however, fell to Hardy six minutes from time. Again Anderson was the creator with a lovely cross from the right and when Chillingsworth nodded the ball back across goal, Hardy only had to apply the coup-de-grace from four yards. But he somehow managed to completely miss his kick and it finished with honours even.

"It's very frustrating as I thought we had the chances to win it in the end," said Fanning. "We will always score goals so when we stop conceding them at the other end we will be fine.

"We have worked very hard on defending corners so it was disappointing to give them a free header just before the break, but after going behind we showed great character again.

"If they really are one of the better sides in this division then we really do not have much to fear," he concluded.

Town's busy early season schedule continues with a long trip to Alnwick on Tuesday evening before Morpeth Town visit in a rearranged game next Saturday.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Briggs, Roberts, Dunn, Hickman, Winter, Parkin, Hardy, Laing, Emson, Chillingsworth, Bowman. Subs - Banks, Smurthwaite, Cook, Butterworth, Anderson.

CROOK TOWN - Poskett, Maddison, Riding, Bickerstaff, Liddle, Pearson, Price, Wallace, Devine, Paul, Bird. Subs - Davies, Pickering, Marshall, Wear.

REFEREE - M. Thurston


1 comment:

  1. Do we have any defenders at the club? needs work or we will not achieve anything!