Sunday, 24 March 2013

Town splutter to defeat in Arctic conditions


TOWN'S fading promotion hopes were all but blown away completely on Saturday as Washington completed the league double over Mark Fanning's side at a freezing Nissan Sports Complex.

In conditions not conducive to good football, goals in either half from Graham Carter and Lee Hamilton ensured Town came home empty handed from a disappointing afternoon in Sunderland.

Fanning was forced to reshuffle his pack as several key players were missing. Leading scorer Adam Emson was stranded by snow in Leeds, while Dave Alderson and Marcus Laing were both absent.

Fanning's hands were further tied by the inclusion of Col Anderson in the Academy side while skipper Danny Shoulder was only fit enough for the bench. The Town boss was boosted, however, by the return of Dan Clayton, who made his second debut for the club on the left-hand side of midfield.

Playing into the biting easterly wind in the first half, Fanning's side were slow out of the blocks and twice the hosts came close to grabbing an early lead as Dean Walker and Alan Oliver both failed to beat James Briggs.

But the Mechanics did engineer the opening goal after nine minutes. Walker released Carter with a lovely flick on the edge of the penalty area and he squeezed the ball past the on-rushing Briggs before tapping home from close range.

And it should have been 2-0 moments later when Walker ran through, rounded Briggs but could only fire into the side netting with the goal gaping.

However, Town slowly began to come terms with the conditions and they dominated the rest of the half. Mickey Dunwell was close to an equaliser with a 25 yard drive which was pushed around the post by goalkeeper Chris Bonner, before James Bowman was denied by the home stopper at point blank range.

But the best chance of an equaliser fell to Carl Chillingsworth midway through the half. The veteran striker's low shot from 18 yards was somehow pushed on to the inside the post by Bonner, who was relieved to see the ball roll along the goal line before being cleared away to safety.

Town were still vulnerable to the ball over the top and Briggs had to be alert deny Walker and Hamilton, but in truth the visitors were unlucky to be behind at the interval.

Clayton was a constant threat down the left and he twice created opportunities for Dunwell, while Ian Smurthwaite fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.

With the wind in their favour in the second period, Town were expected to push on and get back in to the match, but it was Washington who adapted better to the conditions and Fanning's men were unable to really trouble Bonner.

In fact it was the Mechanics who had the better chances after the restart. Dan Young got clear down the right on the hour and his cross only just evaded Hamilton and Walker in the centre, while Walker should then have done better after another great delivery from Young soon after.

But it was 2-0, sixteen minutes from time. Substitute Chris Tate released Hamilton through the centre and he took his time to compose himself before lifting the ball coolly over Briggs from the edge of the penalty area.

It was nearly 3-0, five minutes later when Young rounded Briggs and was only denied the goal he deserved by a superb goal-line clearance from Stephen Banks.

Fanning made changes to add some fresh impetus to Town's play in the closing stages but the nearest they came to a consolation was in stoppage time when a close range effort from Chillingsworth was blocked by Bonner.

Although a disappointing result for Town which all but ends any lingering hopes of promotion, credit should go to both teams who produced an entertaining encounter despite the dreadful conditions.

Town can now turn their attention to the Ernest Armstrong Cup quarter final tie at Chester-Le-Street on Tuesday evening, a competition which is now the clubs only chance of success this season.

WASHINGTON - Bonner, Leighton, Locke, Evans, Donnelly, Oliver, Young, Wade, Hamilton, Walker, Carter. Subs - Tate, White, Hyde, Shaw, Covell.

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

REFEREE: T. Chambers.



  1. Nissan is in washington not sunderland - trivial i know but a touchy subject in washington, good game yesterday although freezing :-):-):-)

  2. Is it really? I have a friend who works at Nissan and he says he works in Sunderland? On the news they say Nissan, Sunderland. Also my Sat-Nav said it was Sunderland and the postal address of the ground is Washington Road, Sunderland SR5 9RG?
    Now I'm confused!!!

  3. Washington is in the USA.

  4. Well its bye to Mr Fanning and hello to Mr Mulcaster hope its not going to be the same old story. We have not done much over the last four seasons with respect to the Div 2 Cup. Hope its not just another bunch coming to town for the bucks. But times are a changing just a few more changes need for the greater good.