Saturday, 27 July 2013

Caygill on the mark again as Town record first pre-season success

By Michael White

GOALS in either half from in-form Graham Caygill and Andrew Porritt saw Town ease to their first pre-season victory away at Teesside League opponents Nunthorpe FC on Saturday.

But in truth it was a scrappy game which saw Town forced make a number of changes to the team after last week’s defeat at Newton Aycliffe FC due the unavailability of several first team players 

"Overall, it was a good performance by the lads" said assistant manager Steve Cooke, who took his place in the Town dugout for the first time.

"We had about 8 or 9 players missing for one reason or another, and a number of lads playing out of position, so it was a good win." he added. 

From the first whistle Town dominated the play, pressing forward and forcing their lower league opposition to play much of their football around their own 18 yard box.

New Town signing Jamie Clarke was particularly impressive during the opening 10 minutes creating a number of opportunities which his teammates were unable to capitalise on.

The visitors came closest to opening the scoring in the 12th minute when Ian Smurthwaite had a strike cleared off the line. Town continued pushing forward throughout the half, but were unable to find that key ball to unlock the home defence. 

Despite on-going pressure, the visitor’s next opportunity ironically fell at the feet of the hosts centre back whose lackadaisical clearance from a cross skewed just over his own cross bar.

With 15 minutes of the half remaining, Peter Mulcaster's side certainly looked like the opening goal was on the horizon and their hard work was rewarded in the 32nd minute - young striker Caygill slotting home from close range following a free kick from the left by Mark Hemingway.

That made it 3 goals in 3 games for local boy Caygill as he continues to prove to the Town faithful that he is ready to make the transition from the Academy side to the first team.

In the remaining minutes of the half, Nunthorpe's first real sight of goal came from 25 yards when the hosts sent in a strike which flew just over goalkeeper Dean Hudson's crossbar.

Just prior to the half time whistle, strikes from Clarke and Darren Kokes were close to seeing Town extend their lead before the break. 

The second half picked up where the first left off; with Mulcaster's side dominating play. Almost immediately after the kick off the visitors were unfortunate not to extend their lead when a low ball across the 6 yard area by Caygill was just out of reach of the out stretched leg of winger Danny McLachlan and bobbled narrowly wide of the upright. 

As the half progressed the game became increasingly disjointed, allowing the hosts to create a number of half chances on Hudson's goal.

In the 54th minute Town made two changes with David Cooke and Craig Toman replacing Mike Coleman and Kokes respectively. These changes injected a little life in to the game and a miss hit cross from Porritt in the 66th minute saw the visitors extend their lead to 2-0.

Following the goal, the game again slumped into a scrappy affair with very little opportunities being created by either side. A sensational save from Hudson, who was otherwise rarely called upon, was the only shining moment of the remainder of the match.

A succession of substitutions saw Hemingway and Smurthwaite make way for Kokes and Coleman as Town held on to secure a scrappy, but vital first pre-season victory.

With Caygill making it 3 goals in 3 appearances, debutant striker Jamie Clarke putting in an impressive performance, and a number of key players returning over the course of the next week, Town fans are certainly beginning to speculate as to what is the best front pairing for the upcoming season. 

"Clarke is a great signing for us," said Mulcaster. "I have known him for a number of years and he is a good friend of mine.

"He has never played in Division Two before but he is relishing the challenge. Not only will he be able to add 25 goals to the team he can also help the younger lads develop.

"Young Caygill in particular, who has a lot of potential, can only benefit from playing alongside such an experienced striker.

"Not many people are aware that his family are actually from Northallerton and still live just around the corner to the ground so it great that he has finally joined his hometown club," concluded Mulcaster.

Town return to action on Monday evening where a tougher test surely awaits them away at Ebac Northern League Division One side Bishop Auckland. 

TOWN - Hudson, Porritt, Hemingway, Smurthwaite, Banks, Elgie, Kokes, Caygill, Clarke, Coleman, McLachlan Subs: Cooke, Toman.

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