Saturday, 12 January 2013

Late rally not enough as Town slip up again


TOWN paid the price for a poor first half performance as they slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat at Esh Winning on Saturday.

A season that was promising so much in the autumn is now threatening to de-rail completely as the free-scoring forward line has suddenly seen the goals dry up making the defensive frailties all the more decisive.

But having found themselves 3-0 down early in the second half, Town at least showed the heart and spirit needed for the battles ahead with a strong rally that may well, on another day, have brought them a point.

However, manager Mark Fanning was not going to let that late flourish disguise another disappointing performance.

"We cannot expect to play for 30 minutes and win a game," he said. "We started reasonably brightly for 5 minutes or so but the next hour was just awful.

"If we had played all the game as we did the final half an hour we would have won, but teams like this will take advantage if you not at the races from the start and that is what happened."

Fanning made three changes to the side that had fought so bravely at York City in midweek. Out went James Bowman, Pete Bulmer and Ian Smurthwaite, with Adam Emson, Wayne Gredziak and Jon Burton all coming in.

After a bright start from Town, it was the hosts who soon began to get on top. They should have gone ahead after 15 minutes when the impressive Stuart Thompson brushed off three challenges and beat James Briggs from 18 yards, but Danny Shoulder got back just in time to make a dramatic goal-line clearance.

Darren Morton and Craig Coates then missed presentable opportunities for the hosts before Esh finally went in front ten minutes before the break. Kevin Hamilton whipped in a dangerous cross from the right and former Town striker Neil Campbell arrived to turn the ball home at the near post.

And even worse was to follow seven minutes later. Coates floated a harmless-looking ball into the Town penalty area and Darren Kokes somehow managed to squeeze it in at the near post.

It should have been 3-0 at the break too when Hamilton was given the freedom of the penalty area after he was not picked up at a corner, but Briggs denied him with a smart save down to his right.

The second half needed to be better but within five minutes of the restart Town found themselves 3-0 down. Kokes slipped in Coates down the right and after Briggs had saved his initial effort, the winger coolly slotted home the rebound to leave Town with a mountain to climb.

But they say you find out more about a team in adversity, and if that is true then perhaps the future is not as bad as it may appear.

With everything going against them, Town rolled up their sleeves and finally showed the fighting spirit so badly lacking up until then. With 35 minutes still to play they gave themselves a lifeline when Emson was released down the left by Gav Parkin and he raced past full back Adam Ward before crossing low for Carl Chillingsworth to turn home from close range.

It was all one-way traffic now as Town had the hosts pinned back for long spells. Chillingsworth should have made it 3-2 with twenty-five minutes remaining after another superb left-wing cross from Emson, but with the goal gaping he could only head over the top.

Emson did have the ball in the net soon after, after a lovely flick from Chillingsworth, but the linesman on the near side had already raised his flag for offside even though it looked a close call.

Burton then tested Esh 'keeper Thomas Courtney with a 25 yard free kick before the former Whitby stopper did well to deny both David Alderson and Emson in the closing stages.

Newly appointed player-coach Craig Winter said: "We need to get back to basics. This is the same team who were brushing everyone aside a few weeks ago and we need to get that back.

"We look a pale shadow of our best at the moment but we still have the quality. We just need to work harder as a team and the results will come."

Town now face Whickham in the Brooks Mileson League Cup at the RGPS on Wednesday evening before a league meeting with bottom side Alnwick Town next Saturday. Failure to pick up three points then is really not an option.

ESH WINNING - Courtney, Ward, Thompson, Morton, Garthwaite, Newby, Hamilton, Halliday, Campbell, Kokes, Coates. Subs - Davies, Brazauskis, Atkinson, Ferguson, Phillipson.

TOWN - Briggs, Alderson, Banks, Shoulder, Hickman, Parkin, Burton, Laing, Chillingsworth, Emson, Gredziak. Subs - Dunn, Smurthwaite, Bowman, Caisley.

REFEREE: G. McMullan.



  1. Poor, Poor, Poor!

  2. 3 points from 18 against nothing teams.Who the book makers would class as "also ran's!

  3. How long can this run go on! hope our luck changes and we get back on course for the first div.

  4. Some well paid players who don't appear to give a toss ...week in, week out. The Manager threatened to drop them weeks ago ...but they're delivering the same shite. Something needs to change.

  5. just not good enough to get promoted at the moment the spirit looks to have gone from the team

  6. I think a more holistic review needs to be taken rather than just blame the players. Blaming the players is too simplistic. It's the committee who appoint the Manager, the Manager then signs and agrees expenses (payments) to the players with the Committee's agreement /approval. In a time of austery when value for money is the ethos, when most are looking to get more for less then, surely how the club with a privileged budget within the league, is being run needs to be looked at!

  7. So the nothing teams are, Tow Law twice, Brandon, Darlington RA and Esh Winng! Well you showed them who was boss didn't you!

  8. I have to agree with all the above comments , some people need to take a long look at their input during this bad run !!

  9. Lets face it, with some of these players we would get thumped most weeks in Div 1. Fanning has brought in some quality, but also some complete rubbish.

  10. Form is temporary, class is permanent. This is the same group who were second a few weeks ago and winning every week, they are not suddenly a bad team. It's been a tough few weeks, granted, but things will pick again.
    Of course it is frustrating. We want a winning team but some perspective is needed.

  11. Come on Ricky using the word class. The fields of play are heavy and our team is either old, unfit or carrying too much weight and so the results speak for themselves. Once the fields dry out a little we will be back on track. I would think a few road runs for the players should be the order of the day. Fit player are key.

  12. Your right about this team getting as you say Thumped. But a manager gets a team together to deal with the first task which is getting up to Div one and he as done this. When the first task is finished, he will then build a team for the first Div and the players will know that they will most likely not be part of the second task playing in Div 1. They are all men and understand that after getting us up, they will have to move on and that happens at all lavels of football. lets get behind them and deal with task 1 and then see what happens. Up the black and Whites!