Saturday, 20 April 2013

Emson goal drought over as Town stage Roofing robbery


A first half penalty from Ian Smurthwaite and a late Adam Emson strike saw the dress rehearsal of this week's Ernest Armstrong Cup semi final go the way of Town at Boldon Colliery on Saturday 

Smurthwaite gave Town the perfect start when he converted from the spot after Jarrow's on-loan goalkeeper Ryan Graham had bundled over Grant Hickman in the six yard box after just 12 minutes.

But it was far from a classic Town performance as, even after Graham's day had gone from bad to worse when he was shown a second yellow card eight minutes before the break, Town failed to find any rhythm to their play and were slightly fortunate to seal the points with Emson's 35th goal of the season late on.

"It was hard to tell which side had 10 men out there," said manager Peter Mulcaster at the whistle. "They were the better team throughout but we have come away from home after a tough week and won 2-0 so we will take that."

Having picked up four points from two tough away trips already this week, the Town starting XI showed just two changes from the draw at Ryton on Wednesday. Goalkeeper James Briggs was nursing a groin injury so Dean Hudson stepped in, while Steve Banks replaced the absent David Alderson at right back.

With new father Gav Parkin still missing, Smurthwaite continued in midfield, while Academy graduates Alex Caisley and Curt Tasker were on the bench along with club captain Danny Shoulder.

But it was third-placed Jarrow who started well and they dominated the early exchanges. Winger David Carson was causing all sorts of problems with his quick feet but all too often he lacked a finishing touch to his fine approach play.

Then, completely against the run of play, Town broke out to grab a 12th minute lead. The Roofers failed to clear a Stephen Butterworth corner and as Hickman attempted to head it back across goal, Graham clattered into him, leaving referee John Matthew no option other than to point to the spot.

After the Jarrow protests had died down, Smurthwaite took on the responsibility and, just as he had at Whickham earlier this week, made no mistake with a coolly executed kick.

The hosts, like Town, desperately in need of the points for their own promotion push, responded well although they were restricted to mainly long range efforts from a well organised visiting back line. But when they did break through, ten minutes after going behind, Hudson came to Town's rescue with a superb save to deny Chris Hepple.

That proved to be the turning point as Mulcaster's men were given a further boost eight minutes before the break. Emson raced onto a through ball from Andrew Porritt before being brought down right on the edge of the penalty by the on-rushing Graham.

Having already been booked in the earlier penalty incident, the Jarrow 'keeper was not surprised to see Matthew go to his top pocket again and defender Michael Hedley was forced to don the gloves.

But it was the ten-man Roofers who finished the half on top. Carson saw an effort deflected wide by Craig Winter while Anth Myers was not far away with a stinging effort from distance soon after.

The second period followed a similar pattern, with Jarrow largely on top and Town looking to play on the break. However, apart from an early effort from Mickey Dunwell that flew harmlessly over the top, Mulcaster's side created very little until the closing stages.

Indeed it was Hudson who was the busier 'keeper, saving at the feet of Carson ten minutes after the restart, before tipping a free kick from the same player over the top, three minutes later.

Mulcaster made changes, bringing on Shoulder and Caisley for James Bowman and Dunwell, and the fresh legs seemed to give Town some late impetus. Caisley should have done better fifteen minutes from time after Hedley had mis-kicked a clearance straight to him, while Butterworth then fired narrowly wide after a strong run from Smurthwaite.

But with two minutes remaining Town finally sealed the points. Butterworth and Caisley combined on the edge of the Jarrow penalty area and Emson found himself with time and space to place a beautiful left-footed shot beyond the reach of Hedley to make it 2-0 -  his first goal in 4 matches.

Job done.

"It was a relief to end my goal drought," said Emson. "That is now the third goal on the trot I have scored in the last minute, following the strikes against Alnwick and Chester-Le-Street, so if I can start playing for the other 89 minutes I might get a few more before the end of the season."

With Darlington RA and Morpeth Town both winning, fourth place remains tantalisingly out of reach for Town as the season reaches a thrilling climax. The promotion issues could be decided next weekend as Mulcaster's side travel to Morpeth in a real six-pointer, while the RA are at second-placed Ryhope CW.

But before all that is the small matter of Wednesday's night's semi final re-match with Jarrow at the RGPS. With both sides missing some key players for this encounter it is impossible to read too much into this result.

Will Jarrow take heart from their good performance with ten men? Will Town take confidence from the win while being far from their best? I guess we will just have to wait until Wednesday to find out.

In the meantime, Mulcaster was keen to praise the squads newest member.

"Andrew Porritt has been a real shining light for us," said Mulcaster. "He is a very tidy player with an outstanding work ethic. He has come in and immediately made a massive impression on everyone. He has been a really great addition for us at this crucial stage of the season."

JARROW ROOFING - Graham, Soulsby, Marshall, Dixon, Hedley, Hepple, Palmer, Myers, Smart, Lathy, Carson (David). Subs - Loiver, Reay, Gray, Carson (Dan), Allen.

TOWN - Hudson, Banks, Bowman, Hickman, Winter, Smurthwaite, Butterworth, Laing, Dunwell, Emson, Porritt. Subs - Shoulder, Caisley, Tasker.

REFEREE - J. Matthews.



  1. Agree about porritt. Good player and a nice lad too

  2. Great performance from the referee too. Let the game flow and nailed the big decisions!