Sunday, 18 November 2012

Late Gredziak goal gives Town a vital point in top-of-the-table clash


A late equaliser from in-form Wayne Gredziak rescued a point for Town in an exciting meeting between the top two sides in the league on Saturday.

Ryhope arrived at the RGPS with a five point advantage at the top of the table but Town have a game in hand so it was a match neither side could really to lose.

Town manager Mark Fanning made seven changes to the side that had beaten North Ormesby in the North Riding Senior Cup three days earlier. Steve Craggs returned in goal, while Dave Alderson, Danny Shoulder and Craig Winter were all recalled in defence. Meanwhile, Gav Parkin and Marcus Laing were back in the heart of midfield, with Gredziak returning to the starting XI after scoring from the bench in midweek.

The game was in doubt at lunchtime after rain had left the pitch very heavy, but referee John Harper deemed it playable, much to the relief of the bumper 154 crowd that had arrived in Northallerton anticipating a thrilling encounter.

After an even opening twenty minutes the game burst into life midway through the first half with three goals in less than six minutes. Town grabbed a 23rd minute lead when Gredziak found Adam Emson with a measured through ball and he fired past Ryhope goalkeeper Chris Rookes into the roof of the net with his weaker right foot.

But the leaders turned the match on its head with two goals in quick succession. Their 27th minute equaliser had a touch of controversy about it as the linesman signalled a Town goal kick but Harper overruled him and awarded Ryhope a corner instead, which was headed home by leading scorer Johnny Butler - his 26th goal of the season.

Worse was to follow for Town, two minutes later as James Cook's cross evaded everyone and nestled into the corner of the net, possibly via a slight touch off Chris Trewick, to give the visitors the lead.

Town were causing problems from set pieces, with Craig Winter twice heading efforts wide of the target, before a David Alderson header was flicked on by Gredziak only for the ball to sail narrowly over the crossbar.

It was not all one-way traffic however, and as half time approached Craggs was forced into a full length save to deny Butler a second.

Town started the second half on the front foot and created a number of openings. The impressive Alderson broke into the box and his shot was heading for the top corner of the net until the fingertips of Rookes deflected the ball behind for a corner, before the Ryhope keeper then did well to deny Butterworth.

But Butler almost made the game safe of 73 minutes when he worked a good position in the box but stabbed the ball wide of the post, while Town were grateful to Craggs for a point blank save from Chris Winn soon after.

Fanning introduced Peter Bulmer for Carl Chillingsworth thirteen minutes from time, and his pace created the equaliser six minutes later. The new signing from Norton beat his full back and cut the ball back from the bye line to Gredziak, who's shot struck the bar and bounced down into the net, via the back of the unfortunate Rookes.

The home fans could sense a win now and Butterworth's shot from the edge of the area was saved at full length by Rookes before,  Alderson's goal-bound effort was blocked on the edge of the 6 yard box in stoppage time.

"It was a good game of football played on a very heavy pitch," said Fanning at the whistle. "I thought it was a great advert for 2nd division football and I expect both sides to be thereabouts at the end of the season."

Ryhope manager Martin Swales said: "I thought it was a very tough game against a very strong side on a very soft pitch which made it hard to pass the ball. I thought a draw was a fair result but I was disappointed when we conceded a late goal. However, overall I a’m happy with a draw.”"

Town return to action on Wednesday evening when they begin their defence of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy with a home tie against Alnwick Town. Kick off at the RGPS is 7.30pm and entrance is £5 for adults and £2.50 concessions.

TOWN - Craggs, Hickman, Alderson, Shoulder, Winter, Parkin, Butterworth, Laing, Emson, Chillingsworth, Gredziak. Subs - Roberts, Dunn, Bowman, Smurthwaite, Bulmer.

RYHOPE CW - Rookes, Stead, Cook, Dunn, Swansbury, Trewick, Charlton, Johnson, Butler, Winn, McMahon. Subs - O'Neill, French, Linton, Ward, Mordey.

REFEREE: J. Harper


1 comment:

  1. Hi, Ricky,
    Fair report. I really enjoyed the day, first time at Northallerton for 4 seasons. Just me being pedantic (as usual), but you might want to change the spelling of Greg Swansbury's surname?