Monday, 27 August 2012

Winter arrives in Darlington just in the nick of time for Town


TOWN put Saturday's disappointing defeat firmly behind them as a late header from Craig Winter gave them victory at local rivals Darlington RA on Bank Holiday Monday.

The hosts began the day sitting proudly on top of the table with an unbeaten record to defend, but with just a minute of normal time remaining, Winter arrived to meet a corner from the left by Gav Parkin and give Town the points.

"That was a very good win," said manager Mark Fanning.

"This is a tough place to come and not many teams will win here, but we showed the desire that was lacking on Saturday," he continued.

After their 10 match unbeaten league run had been surrendered with an abject performance against Morpeth two days earlier, Town arrived in a wet and windy Darlington looking determined to put things right.

With several players missing, the Town starting XI showed just one change from that weekend disappointment - James Bowman replacing Stephen Butterworth, who was nursing a calf injury picked up in the defeat by Morpeth.

On a pitch that looked as if it had not seen a lawnmower throughout the summer, Town started well and were close to grabbing the lead inside three minutes. Grant Hickman whipped in a dangerous cross from the left but Winter and Adam Emson seemed to get in each others way and the chance was gone.

But Emson more than made amends seven minutes later. Parkin sent a free kick to the far post and when Bowman headed it back across goal, Col Anderson turned it into the path of Emson who applied the finish from 6 yards - his 7th goal of the season.

The hosts were struggling to find any rhythm at this stage but they almost fashioned a 13th minute equaliser. James Evison did well down the Town left but his cross to the far post was fired wide by Lee Johnson.

But it was Town creating the better chances in the first half. Emson was a constant threat down the left and he almost doubled his tally in the 25th minute, only to see his effort blocked by Muir.

Then, from the resulting corner, Winter was denied by a fine save from former Town goalkeeper Alex Kell before the RA defence were able to scramble the ball clear.

Emson's pace was proving too much for the hosts and he nearly turned provider twice in the closing stages of the opening period. His pull-back from the left in the 37th minute just evaded Bowman at the far post, before a similar move two minutes later saw Nick Harrison forced into a desperate clearance under pressure from Anderson.

But the hosts began the second period with a higher tempo to their play and they came close to drawing level four minutes after the resumption. Goalkeeper James Briggs did well to deny Evison initially but he got lucky when Steve Allison's follow up come back off the post.

The RA came even closer three minutes later. A corner from the left by Graham Whitehead was met with a near post header by Muir but with Briggs beaten, Parkin was in the right place to clear the ball off the line.

Town were forced to play on the break now but one such move almost brought them the cushion of a second goal on the hour. Parkin put in a lovely ball from the right and only an incredible save from Kell kept out Emson's 10 yard volley.

But the equaliser that had been on the cards for much of the second period finally arrived twenty minutes from time. Stu Dunn did well to deny Evison with a superb tackle inside the penalty area but the ball broke to substitute David Webster who curled the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

But instead of pushing for the winner in the closing stages, the hosts seemed content with the point and it was Town who now looked the more dangerous.

Kell denied Emson again from a Gary Cook free kick three minutes later, before the Town leading scorer then flicked a header just wide with six minutes left.

But with the clock running down towards the 90 minute mark, Parkin sent in a corner from the left and Winter arrived right on cue to head the ball beyond Kell and give Town a vital three points.

"Even at 1-1 I fancied us to get a winner," said Fanning.

"I knew if we could get a set-piece and if the delivery was right we had a chance, and that's exactly what happened. I could not be more pleased."

"The pitch was not the best but we got on with it and were fully deserving of the win. Hopefully we can get a run going now and keep ourselves in a good position near the top of the table."

DARLINGTON RA - Kell, Ramsbottom, Swankie, Elgie, Harrison, Muir, Whensley, Johnson, Allison, Evison, Whitehead. Subs - Howlett, Hanraty, Cheeseman, Webster, Huscroft.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Briggs, Banks, Dunn, Hickman, Winter, Parkin, Cook, Smurthwaite, Anderson, Emson, Bowman. Subs - Roberts, Craggs, Colman, Butterworth.

REFEREE - K. Beckett.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. My friends i am sorry for removing my last post, but there was a sphelling mistake. Did you spot the one here.

    Take two. This is the first league win of the next three which are all poor sides, Darlo RA have not played a good team yet, the next two game are against nothing teams so I can tell you this Win, win, win and we shall dance in the streets.