Thursday, 21 February 2013

Dickinson's the real deal as Town stage cup smash and grab


Chris Dickinson slots home the stoppage time penalty winner
AN injury time penalty from substitute Chris Dickinson, his first goal for the club, completed a late Town comeback in the 1st round of the Brooks Mileson League Challenge Cup on Wednesday night.

Having been uninspired for the best part of seventy-five minutes, Town finally clicked into gear in the closing stages to see off the brave challenge of struggling Whickham on a freezing cold night at the RGPS.

Manager Mark Fanning utilised his squad in a competition which is third in his list priorities for the rest of the season. In fact only four players who had started Saturday's win over Stokesley SC retained their places here - Danny Shoulder and Ian Smurthwaite at the back along with Gav Parkin and David Alderson in midfield.

So in came Steve Craggs, Stu Dunn, Craig Winter, Alex Caisley, Carl Chillingsworth and Col Anderson, who were all in need of game time, while Academy graduate Callum Fletcher was given his first team debut on the left wing.

Coming in to the tie on the back of four match winning run, Town failed to find any rhythm in the first half and they were fortunate to only be one goal behind at the break. Whickham, who had failed to win any of their previous ten matches, set their stall out to frustrate Fanning's side but they grabbed the lead inside twenty minutes.

Dunn brought down speedy winger Aberbaker Salim just outside the penalty area and Jordan Lartey's free kick somehow found its way past Craggs in to the far corner of the net.

Jordan Lee then tested Craggs from 25 yards while at the other end the only chink of light for Town was a lively performance of Fletcher down the left.

Callum Fletcher, right, impressed on his Town debut
The second half did not immediately improve for Fanning's side, in fact the problems merely increased when Shoulder limped off with a groin injury eight minutes after the restart.

The introduction of Adam Emson however led to a reshuffle, with Smurthwaite switching to centre half, Alderson to right back and Anderson to the right side of midfield.

Emson thought he had brought Town level less than nine minutes after his arrival when he turned home a low cross from Chillingsworth, but the Town celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

Marcus Laing replaced Caisley moments later and Town finally began to gain control of the midfield. Alderson was close to an equaliser fifteen minuets from time when he met Parkin's corner with a towering header, but Whickham goalkeeper Scott Cresswell did well to claw the ball away from right on the line.

However, Town saved themselves from an early exit with just seven minutes remaining. Parkin's superb through ball sent Anderson clear in the inside right channel and he held off defender Mark Pattison before lifting the ball over the advancing Cresswell from 10 yards.

Col Anderson chips home the equaliser
The last thing anyone wanted was extra time, and with the visitors now looking tired, Town pressed on for the winner. York City Academy graduate Dickinson, who had only just replaced Fletcher, cut in from the left before being denied by Cresswell, while Emson also brought the best out of the Whickham stopper.

But Cresswell was slightly fortunate to stay on the pitch three minutes from time. Emson raced onto a ball from Parkin and was caught by the 'keeper as he attempted to round him.

Referee Matthew Doherty initially waved play on and Emson fired in to the side netting from a tight angle, but he called Cresswell back to show him a yellow card as Town's leading scorer received treatment for an ankle injury.

However, the winner finally arrived in the third minute of stoppage time. Anderson, who really came to life in the closing stages having looked off the pace earlier, was tripped in the area by Craig Rook and Dickinson stepped up to fire a confident penalty past Cresswell with virtually the last kick of the match.
Dickinson celebrates his late winner with the fans behind the goal
"We only played for ten minutes but it was enough to win the game," said Fanning at the whistle.

"I made several changes as we have a big squad and I wanted to give some of them a rest. I picked a side that I thought could win the game, but apart from Callum (Fletcher) the others did not come out of it with too much credit.

"Whickham came with a game plan to break up the play and frustrate us and credit to them as they stuck to it. We know we will need to improve on Saturday.

"Dickinson looked sharp when he came on. He is a big lad with a good touch and he was confident enough to take on the responsibility for the penalty. It is just a shame that he is not available to play for us more often."

Town will now face Division One side Billingham Synthonia in the next round a week on Wednesday, but before that they will need to focus on a tough trip to Whickham in the league on Saturday.

TOWN - Craggs, Dunn, Smurthwaite, Shoulder, Winter, Parkin, Alderson, Caisley, Anderson, Chillingsworth, Fletcher. Subs - Emson, Dickinson, Laing, Hickman, Tasker.

WHICKHAM - Cresswell, Goldsmith-Scott, Pattison, Cavanagh, Poppleton, Lee, Lartey, Striebelt, Robson, Swanston, Salim. Subs - Rook, Farrey, Holmes, Falcus.

REFEREE: M. Doherty



  1. Well done for not giving up Town, difficult game to watch but I'm sure Saturday will be different. A special credit goes to Callum Fletcher who made a very impressive debut, his ability to distribute the ball well, pass completion and work rate was that of a Northern League player.
    Credit also goes to the Town management team for having faith in the local Academy players to throw them in and the Academy management for developing these players.

  2. Craig Rook was the player who gave away the penalty.

  3. Very poor game struggled watching it, but a win is a win thank God for Col.