Thursday, 2 May 2013

Ton-up Town end the season with a flourish

Gav Parkin leading Town to a comfortable victory
TOWN brought the curtain down on the league campaign with their biggest win of the season to see off struggling Thornaby at the RGPS on Wednesday evening.

Peter Mulcaster's side knew a win would guarantee them a top 6 finish and the match was over as a contest within 12 minutes as goals from Gav Parkin, Carl Chillingsworth and Adam Emson eased any tension.

Chillingsworth, back in the side with two goals on Monday, went on to complete his hat-trick while Emson added a second before substitute Col Anderson was also on target as Town warmed up for Monday's Ernest Armstrong cup final in fine style.

"It was a comprehensive victory," said Mulcaster at the whistle. "We did what we had to do and we did it very well. Now we can focus on Monday."

With the cup final in mind, Mulcaster made three changes to the side that had scored four against Whitehaven 48 hours earlier. Ian Smurthwaite was back in the heart of defence while Jon Burton, who had been used as a substitute on Monday, started at left back with Steve Banks at right back. That meant James Bowman moving to centre half with Andrew Porritt back on the left side of midfield.

Meanwhile, Mickey Dunwell returned to the bench alongside Danny Shoulder, Craig Winter and Anderson.

On the clubs annual 'Respect' day, it was great to see so many of the Juniors on the pitch before kick off and they led the players out at the start, helping to create a real party atmosphere.

That reached a crescendo when Town scored within two minutes. Captain-for-the-day Parkin played a lovely 1-2 with Chillingsworth on the edge of the penalty area before rolling a superb shot beyond goalkeeper Lewis Yates into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

And it was 2-0, six minutes later. Emson's cross from the right was only half-cleared by Philip Horsman and Chillingsworth smashed the ball home from 10 yards.

Carl Chillingsworth, centre, celebrates his first goal with Steve Butterworth and Gav Parkin
The crowd had barely finished celebrating when Town scored again. Chillingsworth tried his luck from 20 yards and when Yates was unable to hold his effort, Emson arrived to knock home the loose ball.

Mulcaster's side were now in complete control and it was 4-0 with less than 25 minutes on the clock. Emson's pace sent him clear down the right and he rounded Yates before turning the ball home from a tight angle - his 38th goal of a phenomenal season.

Inevitably Town's intensity dropped after that - especially following a six minute delay as Lewis was replaced in goal by Paul Edwards having suffered a broken finger - and goalkeeper James Briggs had to be alert to deny Christopher Burton and Jamie Blyth before making a terrific double stop to keep out Gav Symcox and Horsman.

Adam Emson, 10, and Chillingsworth celebrate another goal. The pair have scored 65 times between them this season
Thornaby took that improvement into the early stages of the second half, and Briggs was once again called upon to deny former Town striker Gary Mitchell, but the introduction of Anderson seven minutes after the resumption saw the hosts reassert their earlier dominance.

And it was inevitably Anderson who grabbed the 5th just nine minutes later. Cutting in from the right, the winger ran past full back Adam Murphy before drilling an unstoppable shot beyond Edwards from 10 yards.

Thornaby did score the next goal, a fine effort by Michael Murray from 25 yards, but that was a rare attack for the visitors in the closing stages as Town threatened to reach double figures playing some lovely football.

Twice Emson came close to completing his hat-trick with clipped efforts that went just too high before departing on the hour, replaced by Dunwell.

The striker, testing his fitness ahead of the cup final, almost scored with his first touch before Chillingsworth did make it 6-1, fifteen minutes from time. Anderson created the opportunity with another powerful run down the right and Chillingsworth applied another assured finish - the clubs 100th goal in the league this season.

Chillingsworth fires home the 6th on the night and the clubs 100th league goal of the season
Then, in the final minute, Town ended their league campaign in the grand manner. Marcus Laing was denied by a deflection off Horsman but Parkin's corner from the left was headed home by Chillingsworth to complete his hat-trick.

The match ended with oles from the home crowd after some great footwork from substitute Winter on the halfway line - moves last seen by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever - a fitting way to conclude a thrilling season.

More Town celebrations as Chillingsworth, second from right, completes his hat-trick
"We have finished sixth which I am pleased with," said Mulcaster. "Of course it is disappointing to miss out on promotion by such a small margin but we have scored 11 goals this week so no one can say we do not entertain.

"I now have to go away and make some tough decisions for Monday. I think I will speak to the missus and see what she thinks."

Although not required this time due to an on-going knee injury, captain Danny Shoulder was keen to praise his teammates. So keen in fact that he could not wait until the whistle to say: "It was a great way to finish the season and all the lads can now have a few days rest before the cup final."

A repeat performance will surely be enough to bring the cup back home, although West Allotment Celtic will provide a much sterner test than Thornaby did here. But whatever happens it is sure to be a great day out and a great way to round off another successful season for Town.

TOWN - Briggs, Banks, Burton, Smurthwaite, Bowman, Parkin, Butterworth, Laing, Chillingsworth, Emson, Porritt. Subs - Winter, Anderson, Dunwell, Shoulder.

THORNABY - Yates, Ramage, Murphy, Horsman, Hardy, Murray, Burton, Symcox, Mitchell, Morrison, Blyth. Subs - Stephens, Aimi, Edwards, Radigan.

REFEREE - M. Andrews.


*Pictures courtesy of Paul Gaythorpe at PK4 Images. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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