Saturday, 20 July 2013

No walk in the park for Town as Aycliffe lift trophy


TOWN slipped to a second successive pre-season defeat on Saturday at Moore Park, although there was no disgrace as Ebac Northern League Division One outfit Newton Aycliffe eased to victory in the Frank Swinbourne Memorial match.

With fans of both sides walking the 25 miles from Ainderby Road to Moore Lane before the game as part of the events to celebrate the life of Aycliffe legend Frank Swinbourne, it was the hosts who lifted the trophy in his memory with what was a much closer match than the score-line suggests.

After first half goals from Danny Mellanby, Christian Selby and Freddie Woodhouse had put the hosts in control, Danny Earl struck a second half hat-trick to seal an impressive Aycliffe performance. But Town deserved to have something to cheer and two goals in less than a minute from heartthrobs Graham Caygill and Col Anderson gave Peter Mulcaster's side some consolation.

"Aycliffe are a very good side," said the Town boss at the whistle. "But there are far more positives than negatives for us.

"There were some very good performances out there. Dale Elgie once again showed what a player he is while others like Darren Kokes, Christian Holliday and Jason Brazuaskas all played well. However, special mention should go to goalkeeper Dean Hudson who was outstanding again.

"We were made to pay for some mistakes at the back but these friendlies are all about fitness and working on one or two things so it was another good test for us."

Town welcomed back in defence Grant Hickman, Ian Smurthwaite and Andrew Porritt for their first pre-season run-out, while new signing Holliday and Anderson also made the starting XI having been absent for last week's trip to Billingham Synthonia.

But Aycliffe, with strikers Mellanby and Earl looking lively, started well and it was former Darlington man Mellanby who gave the hosts an 8th minute lead with a typically cool finish following a lovely through ball from Earl.

The Division One side then doubled their advantage midway through the half when the Town defence afforded Selby too much time and space on the edge of the penalty area and he curled a delightful shot into the top left hand corner of the net from 20 yards.

Mulcaster's side worked hard to get back in the match with Anderson and Kokes both going close, but had it not been for the outstanding form of Hudson, Aycliffe would have been out of sight by the break. Twice he denied Melanby while also performing heroics to keep out efforts from Earl and Tom Hutchinson.

But Aycliffe did add a third in the final minute of the first half. Stuart Owen got clear down the Town right and his low cross was turned home by Woodhouse from close range.

Town came out with more tempo to their play at the start of the second half with Anderson and Kokes both threatening but any hope of a comeback appeared over just prior to the hour-mark. Stephen Gibson pulled the back from the right and Earl was on hand to make it 4-0 with a goal his all round performance had deserved.

What followed was a plethora of substitutions from both sides which disrupted the flow of the game but it was the hosts who added a fifth, fifteen minutes from time. Hudson did well to save at the feet at Mellanby but the referee inexplicably pointed to the spot and Earl confidently stroked the kick past the unfortunate Town goalkeeper.

But Mulcaster's side refused to let their heads drop and scored twice in 45 seconds. Substitute Caygill, who had only just replaced Kokes, fired home from 6 yards after fellow replacement Danny McLachlan had twice been denied by Aycliffe goalkeeper Ryan Farley.

Then, straight from the restart, Gav Parkin whipped in a free kick from out on the right and Anderson arrived to glance a header into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

An incredible comeback suddenly looked on the cards but the hosts weathered the storm and broke out to add a sixth, five minutes from time - Earl the quickest to react to a loose ball in midfield before chipping Hudson from 25 yards to claim his hat-trick.

Manager Mulcaster announced his assistant for the forthcoming season will be Steve Cooke. Cooke, who is Northallerton Town Juniors' secretary and chairman and who has Northern League experience with Guisborough Town and Willington, will take up the role with immediate effect.

The first match for the new regime will be the friendly at Nunthorpe next Saturday afternoon.

NEWTON AYCLIFFE- Molyneux, Gibson, Owen, Mitten, Close, Selby, Woodhouse, Young, Earl, Mellanby, Hutchinson. Subs - Swinbourne, Oldfield, Lambert, Broom, Farley.

TOWN - Hudson, Banks, Porritt, Smurthwaite, Hickman, Holliday, Brazauskas, Parkin, Kokes, Anderson, Elgie. Subs -  Caygill, McLachlan, Kelly.

No comments:

Post a Comment