Saturday, 2 February 2013

The boys Dun-Well as Shields are hit for five


TOWN returned to winning ways with this magnificent five-goal salvo against in-form North Shields at the RGPS on Saturday.

The visitors arrived in North Yorkshire on the back of a 13 match unbeaten run, but it was blown away by a fired up Town as a brace from Adam Emson and further goals from James Bowman, Danny Shoulder and Steve Butterworth gave Mark Fanning's side a first win in eight.

"The break for bad weather has probably done us some good," said a delighted Fanning at the whistle. "We have spent time in the gym, played some five-a-side and even spent an hour in the boxing ring on Thursday.

"I felt we were not fit enough as a group but the lads have worked really hard and you could see the benefits today."

The Town starting XI showed four chances from the defeat at Esh Winning last time out, some enforced, others not. Carl Chillingsworth and Jon Burton were both unavailable so new signing Mickey Dunwell was brought in for his club debut up front while James Bowman was recalled to the left side of midfield.

Elsewhere Stu Dunn replaced Steve Banks at left back, while Alex Caisley was given a start in midfield in place of the transfer-listed Wayne Gredziak. Meanwhile, Steve Butterworth returned from injury to take his place on the bench alongside Ian Smurthwaite, Craig Winter Steve Craggs and Banks.

The extra fitness work looked to have paid off from the start as Town closed down their visitors quickly and worked hard to regain possession of the ball at every opportunity.

Dunwell nearly got off to a dream start in Town colours when he capitalised on a poor clearance from Sean McCafferty after just seven minutes, but the Shields goalkeeper made amends with a fine save down to his right.

The former Billingham striker then came even closer, eight minutes later. A lovely Town move saw Marcus Laing drill the ball across the six-yard box, but when Emson was denied by McCafferty, Dunwell was unable to force the ball home from close range.

But the goal the hosts had been threatening finally arrived mid-way through the first half. McCafferty mis-judged a corner from the right by Gav Parkin and Emson rose above a crowded six-yard box to nod into the empty net.

That lifted any tension and Town went on to produce the best football they have played all season in the remainder of the first half. They doubled their advantage just past the half-hour when Parkin played in Bowman down the left and he drilled a first-time shot beyond McCafferty from 12 yards.

It was a similar move which saw Town grab a third six minutes later. This time Parkin and Dunwell combined to give Bowman space through the centre and his perfectly weighted ball was dispatched by Emson for his 25th goal of the season.

Shields had rarely shown the form which had seem them fail to taste defeat since October, but they nearly gave themselves a lifeline when Paul Watson struck the underside of the crossbar with a 25-yard thunderbolt with the half time whistle just seconds away.

But Town continued their earlier dominance at the start of the second period. Twice Emson came close to completing his hat-trick within three minutes of the resumption - bringing a fine save from McCafferty in the 46th minute before firing narrowly over the top moments later.

Dave Alderson then had the opportunity to open his Town account when another set-piece delivery from Parkin found him at the far post, but with the angle tight, the former Norton defender blasted high, wide and anything but handsome.

However, Shields pulled a goal back on the hour with their first piece of real attacking quality. The impressive Dean Holmes beat the Town offside trap and rounded goalkeeper James Briggs before pulling the ball back for substitute Adam Rowntree to knock home via the left-hand upright.

It looked like being game on again when Caisley was dismissed twenty minutes from time for a desperate two-footed lunge on Dan Patterson, leaving Town down to ten-men, but Fanning's side dug deep and sealed the points seven minutes later.

Emson unselfishly squared the ball to Dunwell inside the area but as he rounded McCafferty, the Shields goalkeeper cynically brought him down and referee Jeff Marr had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The Town fans behind the goal were baying for him to produce a second red card too, but Shoulder extracted the ultimate revenge by sending McCafferty the wrong way from the spot.

All that was left now was for substitute Butterworth, who only just replaced Bowman, to celebrate his return from injury with a composed finish over McCafferty after a neat run into the area four minutes from time.

"Hopefully this result will get us up and running again," said Fanning. "We played some great stuff at times and the third goal, in particular, was a lovely move.

"I have no complaints about the red card. Ironically I was going to take Alex off a few minutes earlier as I felt he had given absolutely everything, and you could see that was the challenge of a tired player.

"But even with ten men we didn't panic and continued to play our football. Of course I am delighted but this is just the start. We need to produce performances like this consistently from now until the end of the season.

"I will make changes on Wednesday night to give some of these guys a rest and then we will go again."

With Gredziak now likely to leave the club, Fanning's forward options have been boosted by the return of Col Anderson, who has re-joined the club after a spell at Richmond, and he is expected to be in the squad for the Ernest Armstrong cup tie against Alnwick Town on Wednesday evening.

Programme from this match is here

TOWN - Briggs, Alderson, Dunn, Hickman, Shoulder, Caisley, Parkin, Laing, Bowman, Dunwell, Emson. Subs - Butterworth, Banks, Smurthwaite, Winter, Craggs.

NORTH SHIELDS - McCafferty, Elliott, Patterson, Richardson, Harmison, Atkinson, Wrightson, Watson, Nolan, Forster, Holmes. Subs - Hook, McKeown, Rowntree, Douglas, Robinson.




  1. Excellent performance, first half especially was one of the best this season. Thought we took out foot off the peddle in the second, but a great win,

  2. Excellent, 6 points out of 21 points!