Saturday, 30 March 2013

It's a Chilli Winter for Alnwick as Mully makes it two out of two


Goals from Carl Chillingsworth, Craig Winter and Adam Emson were just enough to give Town the points against battling Alnwick at the RGPS on Easter Saturday, as new manager Peter Mulcaster marked his return to the RGPS with a victory.

But this was far from a classic Town performance. They laboured for long periods against their hard-working visitors and the only positive to come out of a disappointing 90 minutes was the three points that keeps their fading promotion hope alive.

"For 80% of the match we were poor," said a disappointed Mulcaster at the whistle. "We never got going until the final fifteen minutes but a win is a win and we'll take that."

So while the performance lacked (Easter) egg-citement on Mully's homecoming, the result certainly made up for that as Town moved to within seven points of 4th place, which will be enough for promotion should Ryhope's ground fail to meet the required standards.

Mulcaster's first home selection showed just one change from the extra time success at Chester-le-Street in midweek - Winter replacing Grant Hickman at the back. Meanwhile, new signing David Cooke was included in the squad for the first time and he took his place on the bench alongside Hickman, Marcus Laing, Ian Smurthwaite and Mickey Dunwell.

Town had actually started quite brightly with James Bowman's left-wing cross having to be tipped over the crossbar by Alnwick goalkeeper Brian Brookes inside five minutes, while Emson's shot from the resulting corner was deflected away to safety.

But Mulcaster's men did go in front midway through the first half. Alnwick substitute George Convery, who had only just replaced the injured Neil Catlow, under-hit a back-pass to Brookes and Chillingsworth nipped in lift the ball over the stranded goalkeeper from 18 yards - his 22nd goal of the season.

The lead, however, lasted barely three minutes. On a rare foray forward from the Northumbrians, Dale Kennedy was initially denied by a fine save from James Briggs but Tony Brown followed up drill the ball home from a tight angle via a slight deflection.

The remainder of the first half was fairly uneventful, although Chillingsworth came close to restoring Town's lead after Alex Caisley stood the ball up to the far post, but his header was too close to Brookes.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Steve Banks was forced to clear an effort from Brian Murray off his own goal-line after good work down the right from Brown.

But Town have had a habit of performing better in the second half this season and they did so again, although it took them a while to get any rhythm to their play. Chillingsworth headed narrowly over the top from a Bowman cross on the hour, while Emson failed to test Brookes after good work from Caisley down the right.

Mulcaster made changes in a bid to inject some fresh impetus - replacing Chillingsworth with Dunwell, Jonathan Burton with Hickman and Butterworth with Smurthwaite - and Town finally regained the lead twenty minutes from time.

Gav Parkin, whose set piece deliveries have created so many goals this season, whipped in a corner from the left and Winter rose above the Alnwick defence to power home a header from 8 yards.

The visitors, who arrived in Yorkshire having lost just two of their previous eight matches, kept battling away, although the nearest they came to a second equaliser was an under-hit back-pass from Danny Shoulder that was almost seized upon by Kennedy, but Winter came across to clear the danger.

And it was Town who sealed the points three minutes from time. Bowman beat two defenders on a thrilling run to the bye-line and his low, driven cross was bundled home at the near post by Emson from virtually right on the goalline.

"That was probably the only way I was going to score today," said Emson. "It wasn't the greatest goal but I managed to run across the defender to get the final touch."

Parkin, who was pleased not to be the smallest player on the pitch thanks to the inclusion of vertically-challenged Alnwick full-back Alex Makin, was a little more forthright. "We were poor, no question about it," he said. "We knew it would be tough and it was a battle out there but on days like this you are just happy to take the points and move on to the next one."

The next one for Town is a trip to Birtley Town on Tuesday evening followed by a crunch meeting at Ryhope CW next Saturday.

TOWN - Briggs, Banks, Bowman, Shoulder, Winter, Parkin, Caisley, Butterworth, Chillingsworth, Emson, Burton. Subs - Hickman, Dunwell, Smurthwaite, Cooke, Laing.

ALNWICK TOWN - Brookes, Makin, Catlow, Murray, Patterson, Lowes, Brown, Colley, Kennedy, Jackson, Hogg. Subs - Hall, Kidd, Hutchinson, Convery.



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