Sunday, 16 September 2012

Emson double sees off Silsden as Town march on


TOWN reached the 1st Round of the FA Vase as they came from behind to beat North-West Counties League Premier Division side Silsden AFC in a thrilling cup tie on Saturday.

Town arrived in West Yorkshire on the back of a fine run in Ebac Northern League Division Two and were hoping to carry that into a competition where the ultimate prize is a trip to Wembey in May.

Another brace from Adam Emson, his 11th and 12th goals of a prolific season, and a fourth strike in a week from Stephen Butterworth, ensured they made the first step with this impressive victory over a side from one level higher in the League Pyramid.

"We knew what to expect as we had them watched in pre-season," said manager Mark Fanning.

"Sometimes you have to be able to grind out a result and we did that. At times we played some good football but it was more of a battle today. We showed character to come from behind and it was a very good result in the end."

Fanning's team selection showed just one change from the 4-0 midweek victory over Birtley Town - Anthony Roberts replacing Stu Dunn at left back - but after a long journey south, Town were slow out of the blocks.

Silsden had early chances for leading scorer Michael Garrod and James Nanje-Ngoe, but slowly Town grew into the tie, with Wayne Gredziak, in particular proving a handful up front.

The former Durham City man sent a flicked header into the grateful arms of Silsden goalkeeper Edward Hall in the 11th minute, before Hall then produced a marvellous save to deny him again.

The home stopper was certainly being kept busy and he was forced to turn a header from Butterworth over the top midway through the first half, as Town began show the form that had seen them win their previous four matches with the concession of just a single goal.

But just as it seemed only a matter of time before Town grabbed the initiative, Silsden broke out to go in front in the 21st minute. Grant Hickman and Craig Winter failed to effectively deal with a long ball over the top and Garrod chipped over James Briggs from a tight angle.

Town had not been behind in a match since the 2-0 defeat to Morpeth in August, but they responded well and were level just eight minutes later. Emson broke clear down the left and his cross deceived Hall and nestled into the far corner of the net.

"Yes, it was a cross," admitted Emson afterwards. "Normally I would say I meant it, but as I have scored plenty of goals this season I think it's okay to be honest this time," he said.

Boosted by that slice of good fortune, Town ended the half on top. Emson just failed to get on the end of a Carl Chillingsworth cross three minutes before the break, before Hickman saw a header kept out by the excellent Hall.

The hosts briefly threatened at the start of the second period - Briggs having to be alert to deny Garrod - but it was Town who went in front four minutes after the restart.

A lovely move down the left involving Emson and Chillingsworth, saw the latter's shot fall to Butterworth inside the six yard box and he found the net again with a powerful right-footed drive.

"I'm not sure where all these goals are coming from," said Butterworth. "But I am enjoying the free role. It gives me the freedom to get forward and things are falling for me at the moment. Long may it continue," he said.

Town looked comfortable now but they switched off for a second on the hour-mark and Silsden took full advantage. Full back Matthew Moses was allowed time to whip the ball towards the near post and Kevin Ryan arrived unmarked to head past Briggs from close range.

Roared on by a large and vocal contingent of travelling fans - who took up over half the crowd of 91 - Fanning's side showed character to go back in front fourteen minutes from time. Gredziak was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Butterworth's free kick fell kindly for Emson to turn home from six yards.

And it should have been 4-2 moments later. Gredziak was played in by Chillingsworth but his weak chip was kept out by Hall.

It could have proved costly too as Nanje-Ngoe tried his luck from 25 yards four minutes from time, but Briggs was down smartly to his right to smother the ball and Town were through to face a 1st Round tie at home to Consett next month.

"We gave away two soft goals, which was disappointing after keeping so many clean sheets lately," said Fanning.

"Briggsy won't be happy to have conceded as he likes clean sheets, as do I, but the over-all performance was very good. We created several good chances while restricting them to very few.

"They were a good side but we showed we have nothing to fear from anyone. Consett will be another great occasion and being at home is a big advantage so maybe we can get a good Vase run going."

Before that, however, Town turn their attention back to the Division Two promotion race with three home matches in a week, starting with the visit of Esh Winning on Wednesday night.

SILSDEN - Hall, Moses, McEneaney, Nanje-Ngoe, Throup, Husband, Hanson, Gaughton, Garrod, Ryan, McNulty.(D) Subs - Holmes, McNulty(J), Marshall.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Briggs, Shoulder, Roberts, Hickman, Winter, Parkin, Butterworth, Laing, Emson, Chillingsworth, Gredziak. Subs - Dunn, Smurthwaite, Colman, Banks.

REFEREE - Gibbons

ATTENDANCE; 91 (48 from Town)

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