Saturday, 31 August 2013

Happy returns for Kokes and Biscuit as Anderson double keeps the Town (Esh) Winning run going

By Ricky Butler at West Terrace

Watch the goals from this game here

DARREN KOKES and Jason Brazauskas returned to their old stomping ground with a goal apiece as Town eased to a routine victory at Esh Winning on Saturday.

Having beaten the same opponents 6-0 the previous week, Peter Mulcaster's side looked set for an even bigger score-line this time after a first half in which only Esh goalkeeper Graham Ryan stood between them and an avalanche of goals.

In fact it took until stoppage time at the end of the opening period for Town to finally make the breakthrough when the returning Colin Anderson headed home a cross from Danny McLachlan. And despite failing to reach similar heights after the break, Mulcaster's men were able to ease to a comfortable three points with further goals from Kokes, Brazauskas, Sean Davies and a late second from Anderson.

"It was a good performance," said Mulcaster at the whistle. "It was always going to be difficult, beating them 6-0 one week and then playing them again the next week, and so it proved.

"Their goalkeeper had a fantastic game. He pulled off about three worldies in the first half to keep us out until just before half time. I didn't think we played that well in the second half but we scored four goals and the three points was what we were after."

Mulcaster's starting XI showed just one change from Monday's success at Darlington RA - Anderson getting the nod ahead of Graham Caygill to replace the absent Jamie Clarke in attack.

But the first half looked like being a tale of missed opportunities as Ryan almost single-handedly kept Town at bay. In fact the Esh stopper seemed particularly determined to stop former team-mates Brazauskas and Kokes finding the target as he made several fine saves to deny them both.

Meanwhile, Grant Hickman, Dale Elgie and Anderson were also on the receiving end of Ryan's heroics as Mulcaster's side completely dominated proceedings without reward.

However, Ryan was finally beaten in the final moments of the first half. McLachlan, who had scored three times in the previous two matches, whipped in a dangerous cross from the left and Anderson nipped in front of his marker to direct a header into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Esh came out strongly at the start of the second period, especially following the introduction of substitute Jordan Howell, but Town's extra attacking power proved decisive as they scored twice in three minutes midway through the half to seal the points.

Kokes made it a happy return to his former club just before the hour, following great work from Anderson down the right, before Ryan blotted his copy book by letting a Gav Parkin corner slip from his grasp leaving Davies with an empty net - his first goal for Town.

Brazauskas then made it a good day for the Esh old boys by ending his own personal Town goal drought twenty minutes from time, turning home McLachlan's deep right-wing cross at the far post - just reward for another tireless performance.

Esh refused to let their heads drop and scored a consolation ten minutes later with a fine strike from outside the area by George McCain, and they might even have had a penalty soon after, but Anderson had the final word in stoppage time.

Substitute Caygill, who had looked lively after replacing McLachlan, won the ball on the edge of the Esh penalty area before feeding the mercurial Anderson who did the rest in typically flamboyant fashion.

"I was surprised to be in the team today (after missing the last two games) but I've taken my chance," said Anderson. "I am very disappointed with myself to be missing the next three games due to suspension. It was a moment of madness which is me all over I'm afraid.

"Hopefully the lads will do well when I'm away and I'll come back fighting for my place again."

Kokes was delighted to find the target against his former club. He said: "I'm over the moon. I should have had a couple more in the first half but I got there in the end. Their keeper was on form to be fair and was probably their best player, but we put five past him so we can't complain."

Town now face Stokesley SC in a big North Yorkshire derby on Wednesday evening at the Calvert Stadium. Kick off is at 7.30pm.

ESH WINNING - Ryan, Knight, Kelly, Swindle, Jobling, Smith, Phillipson, Heron, Young, McCain, Guthrie. Subs - Bamborough, Stephenson, Lay, Rogerson, Howell.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Kell, Banks, Porritt, Hickman, Davies, Parkin, McLachlan, Elgie, Anderson, Kokes, Brazauskas. Subs - Caygill, Smurthwaite, Holliday, Colman.


Col Anderson interview

Darren Kokes interview post-Esh Winning away

Peter Mulcaster on the win away at Esh Winning

Friday, 30 August 2013

Esh Winning Preview

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Academy 6 Richmond Mavericks 3

Thompson's late treble seals thrlling Academy victory

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

A LATE hat-trick from Wayne Thompson proved decisive as Northallerton Town Academy beat local rivals Richmond Mavericks in a thrilling Teesside League Division One encounter at the Calvert Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Town, who had started well, led with goals from Dan Baxter and Sam Vernalls in the opening twenty minutes, but it needed a second from Baxter early in the second half and a late treble from Thompson to finally see off the determined challenge of a Mavericks side that included former Town first-teamers Danny Shoulder and Wayne Gredziak.

After a bright start, Town scored twice in six minutes midway though the first half to take control of this local derby. Baxter scored the first after a lovely run and cross down the right from his brother Mikey Stevens in the 14th minute, while Baxter then turned provider with a lovely through ball for Vernalls to coolly slot home.

And it should have been all over on the 30 minute mark. George Fawcett sent Vernalls clear again but this time he delayed his shot and Mavericks goalkeeper George Battersby was able to divert the ball behind for a corner.

That looked like being a crucial miss when visitors substitute Dan Morris reduced the arrears seconds later with a fine strike from fully 25 yards to keep the game perfectly poised at the break.

But Town looked to have sealed the points when Baxter grabbed his second within two minutes of the resumption. Stevens was initially denied by Battersby but Baxter was on hand to turn the ball home from close range.

However, that proved to be Stevens last meaningful contribution as he was forced off with injury soon after, giving first team striker Graham Caygill a much needed run out ahead of Saturday's match away at Esh Winning.

It was a change from the visitors moments later, however, that looked to have swung the pendulum in their favour. Former Town striker Gredziak replaced Lloyd Tate five minutes into the second half and suddenly the visitors looked far more dangerous.

They should have got themselves right back into the match six minutes later when Tom Keegan was brought down in the area by David Cooke, but Town goalkeeper Jordan Aspinall did well to keep out Keegan's well struck spot kick.

However, it was 3-2 in the very next attack. Some poor Town defending gifted Shoulder, who has been allowed to play for the Mavericks in a bid to get match fitness, a simple tap in and it was game on again.

From being in control, Town were now hanging on as Morris twice headed over the top and Gredziak came close. But Thompson grabbed his first to restore the two-goal cushion sixteen minutes from time.

Cooke, who has also had first team experience this season, whipped in a corner from the left and the midfield man rose above the Mavericks defence to power home a header.

The visitors refused to lie down as Gredziak grabbed the goal he had been threatening with a typically emphatic finish to a left wing cross from Nathan O'Connor five minutes later, and we were all set for a thrilling conclusion.

But it was Town who finished the stronger. Thompson made it 5-3 with another header from a Cooke delivery four minutes from time, before completing his hat-trick with a fine strike from 25 yards as Town finally clinched the points.

TOWN - Aspinall, Bruce, Dodsworth, Cooke, Payne, Grainger, Stevens, Thompson, Baxter, Vernalls, Fawcett. Subs - Caygill, Toman, Bamber.

RICHMOND MAVERICKS - Battersby, Cole, Armstrong, Shoulder, Bainbridge(R), Brown, Bainbridge(S), McInnerney, Tate, Keegan, Dunwoodie. Subs - Morris, Gredziak, O'Connor.

REFEREE - D. Coulson.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Macc-attack as Danny wins Town the A167 derby

By Ricky Butler at Brinkburn Road

Highlights of this match are available here

A FINE second half winner from Danny McLachlan saw Town come from behind to beat struggling Darlington RA in the late summer sunshine at Brinkburn Road on Bank Holiday Monday.

After a slow start in which former Town man Steve Butterworth had given the RA an early lead, Peter Mulcaster's side fought back with a first half penalty from Jamie Clarke and a second half strike from McLachlan to make it a happy trip back down the A167.

"It was hard work," said Mulcaster at the whistle. "We did not compete as we should have in the first half and did not get the ball down and play.

"But we were far, far better in the second half and had it ended up 5 or 6-1 they could not have complained."

It was a Town side unchanged from Saturday's 6-0 demolition of Esh Winning, but you would not have known it from the opening twenty minutes.

The hosts, with three defeats from their opening four matches, were given the perfect start when Lee Farrington whipped in a great ball from the left and Butterworth was on hand to divert it past goalkeeper Alex Kell from 6 yards.

Butterworth, who only left Town this summer, looked like a man with a point to prove and he was only denied a second by a fine save from Kell two minutes later. Meanwhile, another former Town man, Andy Ramsbottom, fired into the side netting after breaking forward from right back.

But Town slowly began to get in the game and it was RA old-boy Dale Elgie who nearly conjured an equaliser midway through the half with a dipping volley from fully 35 yards which RA goalkeeper Matthew Calvert did well to tip over the top.

However, Town were level six minutes before half time thanks to a touch of good fortune. Darren Kokes clipped the ball into the area where it struck the arm of Ramsbottom and referee Chris Knightley pointed to the spot.

It did seem a harsh decision as it was clearly a case of ball-to-hand but Town were not about to look a gift horse in the mouth and Clarke smashed the kick past Calvert to make it 1-1 the break.

Mulcaster made a slight adjustment during the interval, replacing Andrew Porritt at left back with Ian Smurthwaite, and Town played with far more tempo in the second half.

They nearly went in front eight minutes after the restart when Kokes was denied by Calvert, but Town completed the turn around less than a minute later.

Clarke put in a great delivery from the left, Kokes flicked it on at the near post and McLachlan arrived to drill the ball into the roof of the net from close range - his 3rd goal in two matches and 4th of the season.

It was now just a case of how many Town would score. Sean Davies, once again impressive at the back, was denied by a desperate goal-line clearance from RA player-manager Nick Harrison on the hour, while Kokes shot narrowly wide after turning well inside the area five minutes later.

Substitute Christian Holliday, who had replaced the injured and for once ineffective, Jason Brazauskas, twice broke through but could not beat Calvert, before Kokes rounded the RA 'keeper only to see substitute Stephen Cheeseman get back to make another goal-line clearance.

Then, with less than 10 minutes remaining, it should have been all over. Grant Hickman flicked on a corner from Gav Parkin but with the goal at his mercy, the normally lethal Clarke somehow placed the ball over the top from 2 yards out.

"It hit my shin," said Clarke. "But that is no excuse. I have got to be scoring from there."

That looked like being a crucial miss as the hosts finished strongly, forcing a succession of late corners, but the nearest they came to an equaliser was an effort from Anthony Abel through a crowded area which was cleared away by Smurthwaite.

In fact the best of the late chances fell to Town defender Steve Banks. In a rare foray forward from right back, Banks found himself in the centre-forward position after a lovely reverse pass from Clarke, but the ball took a bobble at the crucial moment and he fired over the bar and out of the ground.

"You have to grind results out sometimes and we had to do that today," said Mulcaster. "But a win is a win and we now move on to Esh Winning on Saturday.

"We've got a strong squad and hopefully we can keep the squad together. It is whether or not some are happy to sit on the bench and wait for their chance. We'll see. But today I am happy."

Defender Davies, who won the Division Two title last season with Crook, can see similarities with this group of players. He said: "It was only a matter of time before we started winning games. This squad is possibly a little bit better (than the one I played with at Crook) so hopefully we can be there or thereabouts come the end of the season."

If they can continue playing as they did in the second half here, you would not bet against it.

DARLINGTON RA - Calvert, Ramsbottom, Muir, Whensley, Harrison, Howlett, Hanratty, Webster, Abel, Butterworth, Farrington. Subs - Grainger, England, Simpson, Cheeseman, Morton.

TOWN- Kell, Banks, Porritt, Hickman, Davies, Parkin, McLachlan, Elgie, Clarke, Kokes, Brazauskas. Subs - Caygill, Smurthwaite, Holliday, Anderson, Colman.

REFEREE - C. Knightley.


Darlington RA 1 Northallerton Town 2

Dale Elgie post-RA interview

Defender Sean Davies exclusive interview

Peter Mulcaster post-Darlington RA interview

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Esh Report boo

The joy of six as Town show bouncebackability

By Ricky Butler at The Calvert Stadium

Highlights of this match are available here

TOWN lifted the storm clouds that had been gathering over the Calvert Stadium with this comprehensive victory over struggling Esh Winning in the rain on Saturday.

Arriving on the back of two straight defeats which had seen some locals calling for changes, Town knew they had to produce a winning performance against Esh and they did so in fine style.

Two goals apiece from Jamie Clarke and Danny McLachlan, plus further efforts from Darren Kokes and Grant Hickman - the big defender's 3rd goal in 4 matches this season, was the perfect response to the critics.

"Yes we had a point to prove," said manager Peter Mulcaster at the whistle. "You could see that from the lads in the changing room. We lost in the FA Cup and we lost to a wonder goal the other night (at Alnwick) so we had a point to prove and we proved it today."

There was drama in the warm up when Colin Anderson, who had been sent off at Alnwick in midweek, was injured in the warm up, so his place on the right wing went to McLachlan. Elsewhere, the only other changes saw Clarke return up front in place of Graham Caygill, who dropped down to the bench, while Dale Elgie came into midfield alongside Gav Parkin, meaning Kokes was pushed into attack against his former club.

Mulcaster's side were slow out of the blocks and the visitors briefly threatened through George McLain and Anthony Rogerson in the opening exchanges, but once they settled, Town produced a devastating attacking display.

It took them until midway through the half to make the breakthrough, although when they did, they did so with a goal of real quality. Steve Banks whipped in a great ball from the right, Kokes nodded it back at the far post and Clarke arrived to smash an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net.

The match was then as good as over as a contest as Town scored three times in the seven minutes leading up to half time. McLachlan made it 2-0 in the 38th minute with a cool finish after Kokes had sent him clear with a clever flick inside the penalty area.

It was another former Esh man, Jason Brazauskas, who created the third for Kokes less than a minute later with a driven ball across the 6 yard box which left the 29 year old with a simple tap-in. And it was 4-0 at the break. Clarke played a lovely 1-2 with Kokes on halfway before charging through the centre and slotting beyond the exposed Esh goalkeeper Ryan Graham from 20 yards.

Inevitably Town's intensity dropped at the start of the second half as McLain and Graham Stephenson both tested Alex Kell in the home goal, but it was Mulcaster's men who added a fifth just prior to the hour mark.

In a move that has worked well so many times already this season, Parkin whipped in a corner from the left and Hickman rose above the Esh defence to grab his third goal of the season.

But the visitors had the chance to gain some consolation two minutes later. Stephenson went down in the area under a challenge from Sean Davies and referee Alan Charters pointed to the spot. Stephenson stepped up himself but his kick lacked power and was too close to Kell, who was able to get down to his right and smother the ball.

It was clearly not going to be Esh's day now and this was confirmed moments later when Town hit them for six. Brazauskas' cross from the left was flicked on by Clarke and misjudged by defender Ben Riding and McLachlan showed great composure to slot the ball past the advancing Graham from 8 yards.

The final twenty-five minutes saw Clarke twice come close to completing his hat-trick. Riding made up for his earlier error with a fine goal-line clearance to deny the Town front man before the veteran striker, who turns 40 this week, fired narrowly wide with a powerful shot on the turn from 25 yards.

"We did not take our chances up at Alnwick," said Mulcaster. "But we did today. The two lads who played up front in midweek, Macca and Graham (Caygill), are young and still learning their trade but when you have people like Jamie Clarke and Darren Kokes up there you stand a chance of scoring goals.

"Col (Anderson) was injured in the warm up so Macca has come in wide right, scored two goals and had a tremendous game. I am really pleased for him."

Full interview available here

McLachlan himself was delighted to be back on the score-sheet. "It feels brilliant," he said. "It was really good to get a starting place after Col was unfortunately injured but I took my chance. I was down last week as I didn't really play that well but this week I wanted two goals and I got two goals."

Former Esh winger Brazauskas, meanwhile, felt for his former club. "It's not nice for them. I know a lot of the lads and they have been struggling a little bit. I hope they do well but obviously I want us to do even better."

Full interview available here

Town face Esh again next Saturday in the reverse fixture but before that is the small matter of a local derby at Darlington RA on Monday.

"They have some of our players from last tear and we have some of their players from last year, so it is going to be all hands to the pump," said Mulcaster. "The performance today will have given us a lot of confidence. You could see it in the changing room. The lads were buzzing."

Kick off at Brinkburn Road is 1pm.

TOWN - Kell, Banks, Porritt, Hickman, Davies, Parkin, McLachlan, Elgie, Clarke, Kokes, Brazauskas. Subs - Caygill, Smurthwaite, Anderson, Holliday, Newby.

ESH WINNING - Graham, Knight, Grifton, Swindle, Riding, Hawthorn, Phillipson, Guthrie, McLain, Rogerson, Stephenson. Subs - Kay, Jopling, Farquhar, Howell, Thompson.

REFEREE - A. Charters.


Andrew Porrit interview boo

Macca and Biscuit boo

Mully post-Esh Winning boo

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Esh Winning - Stat Attack

IN a new feature this season, I preview Saturday's visit of Esh Winning with a look back at all the vital statistics.

Last season -

Esh Winning finished 20th in Division Two with 30 points from 42 matches, although they had 3 points deducted. They won 7 at home and only 3 away, scoring 49 goals and conceding 108.

Town finished 6th with 77 points, winning 11 at home and 12 away. Town scored 101 goals and conceded 63.

Previous meetings -

Esh won both matches against Town last season. They were slightly fortunate to leave the Calvert Stadium with a 2-1 success in September, thanks to a strike from Craig Mickle and a late own goal from Ian Smurthwaite. Carl Chillingsworth had earlier equalised for Town.

The return at West Terrace in January saw a poor performance from Town with Esh enjoying a 3-1 victory. Goals from Neil Campbell, Darren Kokes (now at Town of course), and Craig Coates either side of the break sealed the points before Chillingsworth replied for Town.

That victory for Esh at the Calvert was only the second time they had won away at Northallerton in the league, and the first since the 1984-85 season. Last season was also the first time they had completed the league double over Northallerton, although they did win two of the three matches in the 1982-83 season when each team played each other three times - both wins coming at Esh.

Previous seasons -

In 2011-12, Esh finished 11th in Division Two with 66 points from 42 matches, while Town were 2 points and 2 places better off.

2010-11 was the last time Esh finished above Town in the league, although it was not a season they will remember with any great fondness as they finished 21st in Division One and were relegated. Town, meanwhile, had finished 9th in Division Two with 58 points from 38 matches.

Complete playing record -
Here is Town's complete playing record in matches against Esh Winning since Northallerton joined the Northern League in 1982;

                            P                W                   D                    L                     F                     A                   

   Home             15                 8                     5                     2                     31                 19
   Away           16                 5                     3                     8                     33                 36                    Total              31                 13                   8                   10                      64                 55

Current form -

Esh opened the season well, with victories over Ryton & Crawcrook and South Shields to go to the top of the table, but since have suffered heavy defeats at Birtley and at home to Chester-le-Street. They currently sit 9th with 6 points from 4 matches.

Town also come into the game on the back of two defeats - 4-2 against Whitehaven in the FA Cup and 1-0 at Alnwick in midweek. Prior to that Town had drawn away at South Shields and beaten Tow Law.

Key players -

Esh's danger men appear to be Lewis Herron and Graham Stephenson, who have both scored twice so far this season, while Anthony Robinson and Ben Thompson also offer a goal threat.

Town's star performer so far has been Jason Brazauskas, while the return of Dale Elgie in midfield could prove crucial. Ex-Esh man Darren Kokes will also be keen to get one over his former club.

Summary -

Both clubs are desperately in need of a win after a couple of poor results which should lead to an open game. Like Town, Esh also have a new-look team which will take time to settle but it would be a major surprise if they finished any higher than mid-table.

Town, on the other hand, will be hoping to figure in the promotion race and will look on this as a game they will be expected to win. However, with confidence knocked in the last week or so it could prove to be a tough afternoon.

Prediction -

I believe that despite recent results, Town will have enough quality to see off Esh on Saturday and I predict a 3-1 home victory.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Late Brown wonder-goal sinks ten-man Town

By Ricky Butler at St. James' Park

TEN-MAN Northallerton Town slipped to a disappointing late defeat up at Alnwick on Tuesday evening as Tony Brown's last minute wonder-strike left Peter Mulcaster's side frustrated.

After a dominant first half display in which they had done everything but score, it became an uphill task for Town after Col Anderson was shown a straight red card on the hour for kicking out at Alnwick defender Danny Lowes.

But despite a battling performance from Mulcaster''s men that deserved far more than it got, it was Alnwick that grabbed all three points after Brown smashed home from 35 yards late on.

"It was a magnificent performance from us," said Mulcaster at the whistle. "Magnificent. We were the better side all the way through and I cannot speak highly enough of the lads.

"It was a daft sending off that has cost us. I didn't see it but they tell me it was the right decision. To be fair the goal that won it for them was a wonder strike and they probably won't score another goal like that until the end of the season."

With work commitments keeping Jamie Clarke, Ian Smurthwaite and Dale Elgie away, the Town starting XI showed four changes from Saturday's FA Cup defeat at the hands of Whitehaven.

Goalkeeper Alex Kell, who only completed his signing on Monday afternoon, replaced Dean Hudson between the sticks, while Andrew Porritt was in at left back in place of Lee Newby, with Danny McLachlan partnering Graham Caygill in attack.

Having suffered from a poor start at the weekend, Town looked determined from the off this time and dominated the first half. Darren Kokes, back in a midfield role, was denied by home goalkeeper Dan Mullen after just seven minutes, while Caygill saw an effort hacked clear by defender Lowes seconds later.

Anderson then came close twice in as many minutes - firing over the top in the 12th minute before being denied by a fine goal-line clearance from Alex Makin in the very next attack.

But Alnwick felt they should have had a penalty midway through the half when Grant Hickman appeared to handle a shot from Brown inside the penalty area, although referee Craig Chatten was unimpressed. Kell then had to be alert to save at the feet of James Jackson as the hosts briefly threatened to get on top.

However, Town should have been out of sight by the break. Jason Brazauskas, again the stand out Town performer, squared for Anderson when perhaps he could have shot himself, while Anderson, Caygill and Parkin all came close as half time approached.

The hosts began the second half with more tempo to their play but Town were soon dominating again and appeared to heading towards a fully deserved victory when Anderson clashed with Lowes on the far touchline.

At first it appeared Chatten was only going to book the Town man but after consulting with his assistant he produced a red card and Mulcaster's side were forced to play the final half an hour with ten men.

But you would not have known it as they dug deep and looked even more determined to get a result. Kokes fired over from 20 yards before Hickman twice came close to a third goal in three games with headers that just failed to hit the target.

However, despite replacing Caygill and McLachlan with Christian Holliday and Michael Colman, Town visibly tired in the closing stages and Alnwick appeared to have grabbed all three points when only a fantastic point-blank save from Kell denied Jake Lowes with less than four minutes left on the clock.

But it proved to be in vain in the end as Brown smashed home from 35 yards moments later to send Mulcaster's side crashing to a first league defeat of the season.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the lads out there," said the Town boss. "I am absolutely gutted for them all. I am gutted for all the people who came up on the train (to support us) too. But the fact is we have been beaten by an inferior side and that is hard to take."

Inevitably Alnwick manager Paul Yeadon did not agree. "Northallerton are a very good side but we probably deserved to win," he said. "Had they kept 11 men on the pitch it may well have been a different story but we did not get the rub of the green last year and perhaps we have this time.

"Yes it was great goal that won it for us. Tony Brown does that week in, week out. He is a real quality player who has the potential to go further. But he is at Alnwick at the moment and we are happy for that."

Town will now look to bounce back when Esh Winning visit the Calvert Stadium on Saturday. It may be too early in the season to call it a crisis, but this is now taking on the role of a must-win game for Mulcaster's men following two disappointing defeats.

ALNWICK TOWN - Mullen, Murray, McPherson, Lowes(D), Elliott, Hogg, Brown, Makin, Robinson, Jackson, Lowes(J). Subs - Troy, Moore, Trescott, Hills, Brookes.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Kell, Banks, Porritt, Hickman, Davies, Parkin, Anderson, Kokes, McLachlan, Caygill, Brazauskas. Subs - Johnson, Colman, Newby, Holliday.

REFEREE - C. Chatton.


Alnwick report boo

Paul Yeadon interview boo

Alex Kell interview boo

Mully reaction boo

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Last Tango in FA Cup for Town

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

TOWN may have been wearing their shiny new orange away kit for the first time but soft goals conceded at the beginning and end of this FA Cup tie saw Whitehaven squeeze through.

Kyle Jenkins and Kevin Connolly gave the Cumbrians an early 2-0 lead, but after Town had worked hard to draw level with strikes from Grant Hickman and Darren Kokes, late efforts from Matt Tymon and Gregg Quayle sent Peter Mulcaster's side crashing out.

Mulcaster had only returned from holiday half an hour before kick off so once again team selection duties lay with his assistant Steve Cooke and he made three changes from Wednesday's win over Tow Law. Sean Davies and Lee Newby replaced Paul Johnson and Andrew Porritt at the back, while Ian Smurthwaite came into midfield, giving Kokes a first start in his favoured striking role.

As at South Shields a week earlier however, Town were Tango'd inside two minutes. Jenkins was given too much time and space on the edge of the penalty area and he sent an inch-perfect lob over the stranded Dean Hudson.

And worse was to follow ten minutes later. Darren Donald, who had broken leg on this ground two years ago, broke clear down the left and his cross was turned home by Connolly after some hesitation from Hudson.

But slowly Town began to get into the tie. Driven on once again by Jason Brazauskas and Col Anderson in wide areas, and with Gav Parkin pulling the strings in midfield, they pulled a goal back in the 20th minute.

It was another fine set piece delivery from the captain that created the opening, and just as he had done in midweek, Hickman was in the right place at the right time to power a header beyond goalkeeper Stuart Pettitt.

It was all Town now as they pressed for the leveller before the break. Jamie Clarke saw an effort deflected narrowly wide before Smurthwaite was only denied by a fine diving save from Pettitt, and Kokes struck the post.

Town carried this form into the early period of the second half as the rain began to fall, and they drew level just six minutes after the restart. Anderson drove at the heart of the Whitehaven defence, a defence that had conceded 10 in midweek, before slipping in Kokes. Initially, Pettitt appeared to have gathered the ball but it slipped from his grasp leaving Kokes with a simple tap-in.

There only looked like being one winner now and when Hickman put another header just the wrong side of the post on the hour, it appeared to be just a matter of time before Mulcaster's side went in front. But that proved to be their last opportunity of the tie as they rather lost their way in the last half-an-hour.

A triple substitution ten minutes time - Graham Caygill, Danny McLachlan and Dale Elgie replacing Kokes, Smurthwaite and Brazauskas - failed to reignite the Town challenge and it was Whitehaven who sealed victory with two goals in the last five minutes.

Hudson will have nightmares over the first when he failed to gather a routine corner from the right by Malcolm Holliday and Tymon will never have an easier chance. Then, less than 60 seconds later, a shot from the edge of the area from Quayle took a wicked deflection off Hickman to leave the unfortunate Hudson scrambling back as the ball spun up over his head and into the net.

The oranges had been crushed.

"We didn't really want half time to come," said Parkin at the whistle. "We had got on top, were creating chances and then got it back to 2-2, but our passing, work rate and attitude was all wrong after that.

"I don't think any of us can look in the mirror and say we had a good game today. You look at the quality we have in the squad but we are only showing glimpses of it in games and you can't get away with that at this level.

"If we work hard for 90 minutes with the quality we have got, we will win games. But if you don't work hard and take your chances as happened today, you will get nothing."

The only crumb of comfort for Town was that this was not a league defeat and they have the chance to put it right with a trip to Alnwick on Tuesday evening.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Hudson, Banks, Newby, Davies, Hickman, Parkin, Anderson, Smurthwaite, Clarke, Kokes, Barzauskas. Subs - Porritt, McLachlan, Johnson, Caygill, Elgie.

WHITEHAVEN - Pettitt, Holliday(K), Hunter, Holliday(M), Law, Pears, Quayle, Donald, Tymon, Connolly, Jenkins. Subs - Kennedy, Jeans, Studholme.

REFEREE - T. Fletcher.


Whitehaven report boo

Gav Parkin interview boo

Tow Law half time boo

Friday, 16 August 2013

Whitehaven preview boo

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cooke - ing on gas as Town continue unbeaten start

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium
Jamie Clarke, second left, celebrates his first goal for the club with Jason Brazauskas, Gav Parkin and Graham Parkin
NORTHALLERTON Town withstood a strong second half Tow Law rally to seal their first win of the season at the Calvert Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Goals before the break from Jamie Clarke, Grant Hickman and an own goal from Lawyers defender Gary Anderson looked to have sealed a comfortable Town victory, but the visitors were a different proposition in the second half and it needed a late Colin Anderson strike to finally secure all three points.

With manager Peter Mulcaster still away, assistant Steve Cooke once again picked the side and it showed three changes from Saturday's draw at South Shields - and all three would find the target. Hickman, back from suspension, replaced Lee Newby at centre half, Anderson came in for Christian Holliday in midfield, while Clarke partnered Graham Caygill up front in place of the unfortunate Danny McLachlan.

Despite a strong start from Town, it was the Lawyers who nearly grabbed a fifth minute lead when Daniel Wilson thumped a 20-yard drive against Dean Hudson's right-hand upright. But it was Cooke's side who did make the breakthrough just three minutes later.

Jason Brazauskas burst past two challenges down the left and his low cross was perfect for Clarke to divert the ball past goalkeeper Stephen Robinson at the near post from 8 yards - a first Town goal for the much travelled striker.

And it was 2-0 in the 12th minute. Anderson whipped in a dangerous cross from the right and Tow Law defender William Kelly nodded the ball onto the back of teammate Gary Anderson's head to leave Robinson stranded.

Town were now flying and they could have been out of sight by the break. Clarke headed narrowly over the top following another Anderson delivery before Caygill came close to a goal of the season contender after a superb turn inside the penalty area. However, his shot from 10 yards flew just the wrong side of the post.

Andrew Porritt then came even closer ten minutes before the break - smashing a 25-yard drive against the base of the post after cutting in from the left. But it was 3-0 moments later. Gav Parkin whipped in a corner from the right and Hickman arrived to bundle the ball home from close range.

"It went in off my belly," said Hickman at the whistle. "It has grown a bit over the summer which has helped me out. But it's all about being in the right place at the right time."

Having been restricted to mainly long range efforts in the opening period, Tow Law were revitalised after the break. They took the game to Town from the off and gave themselves a lifeline eight minutes into the second half. Scott Thompson cut in from the left and gave Hudson no chance with a delicious right-footed shot that flew into the top left-hand corner of the net.

After looking like potential Champions in the first half, Town were now a little nervy and those nerves became shredded just past the hour-mark when the Lawyers scored again. 18-year old midfielder Lewis Wing may have a strange hair style but he was the outstanding player on the pitch on the night and he was rewarded with a fine finish from 25 yards to make it 3-2.

But with the game apparently slipping away, Town dug deep and finished the game as they had started it. The introduction of McLachlan for the tiring Caygill injected some freshness in attack and Town were able to breath easily again when Anderson grabbed the fourth, eight minutes from time.

Bursting through the Lawyers defence, the mercurial Anderson had only one thing on his mind and gave Robinson the eyes before drilling the ball in at the near post.

The visitors misery was then complete four minutes later when Kelly was shown a second yellow card for holding back Clarke on the edge of the area and as he trooped solemnly from the pitch, Tow Law's fading chances went with him.

In the end it could have been even worse for them too as Robinson was called into action to deny both Clarke and Parkin in the closing stages as Town sealed a first league victory of the season.

"I was disappointed with the goals we conceded," said assistant manager Cooke. "But overall I am pleased with the three points and with the start we have made to the season."

Town now take a break from league action when Whitehaven visit on Saturday in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.

NORTHALLERTON TOWN - Hudson, Banks, Porritt, Hickman, Johnson, Parkin, Anderson, Kokes, Clarke, Caygill, Brazauskas. Subs - Newby, McLachlan, Davies, Smurthwaite, Holliday.

TOW LAW TOWN - Robinson, Wilson(A), Hall, Wing, Anderson, Kelly, Thompson, Ord, Thexton, Wilson(D), Harrison. Subs - Hurton, Backhouse, McVickers, Killeen.

REFEREE - C. Gilbraith


Tow Law report boo

Grant Hickman interview boo

Jamie Clarke interview boo

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Tow Law team boo

tow law team boo

South Shields reflection boo

Monday, 12 August 2013

Mixed feelings after opening day draw for Town

A POINT gained or two points lost? That was the question being asked by Town fans following the opening day 2-2 draw at South Shields.

Having fallen two-goals behind early in the second half at Peterlee, a draw seemed the best that Town could have hoped for, but in the end the stirring comeback could, and perhaps should, have brought a first opening day victory since 2001.

Inspired by Jason Brazauskas, or Biscuit as he is known, Town scored twice in six minutes to level it up - a crumb of comfort for the fans who had made the journey north - and with over half an hour still to play they were in the perfect position to go on and win it.

But it was not to be. The momentum, which had been building towards the end of the first half, was somehow lost after that and in the end it was the hosts' aerial bombardment that almost brought them the winner.

So is a point gained or two dropped? I like to think I am an optimistic type of person. The glass is always half full. But I feel this was a missed opportunity to start the new season with all three points.

Lets be honest, Shields are not a great side. Having been relegated at the end of last season and having to play at Peterlee, or Peters & Lee as it was dubbed by some of the visiting Town fans - Leaving on a Jet Plane and all that - they looked like a club in crisis.

Many teams will go there this season, possibly not on a jet plane but in cars and coaches, and win comfortably, so in that respect it is two points dropped.

However, when you bare in mind the players missing - Grant Hickman, Ian Smurthwaite, Dale Elgie, Jamie Clarke for example - and Col Anderson only fit enough for the bench - to fight back in the way in which they did shows the strength of the group.

The young lads in particular look ready to make the step up this season. The more he plays, the more Graham Caygill looks like a Northern League centre forward. It was a difficult game for him on Saturday but he has that natural goal-scorers instinct of being in the right place at the right time and his hold up play has come on in leaps and bounds since the start of pre-season.

Alongside him, Danny McLachlan is also improving with every match. Stepping up from the Wearside League, Macca has shown an energy and work rate that compliments Caygill perfectly. In fact I doubt there will be two harder working forwards anywhere in the league this season, especially when you consider that most forwards are notoriously lazy anyway...

Of course questions remain over whether or not their inexperience at this level will tell over the course of  a long season, and the return of Clarke will no doubt benefit them both, but they have certainly shown enough already to suggest they will score goals this season.

Other players who have impressed are Darren Kokes and Christian Holliday. Kokes has been forced to play in an unfamiliar central midfield role in recent weeks but has been magnificent. It may have prevented him scoring as many goals as he would normally have expected to have done, but he has worked tirelessly for the team and must have covered every blade of grass at Peterlee on Saturday.

Holliday, known as Bisto, has returned to the club this summer and has shown great pace to match his work-rate. He also produced some quality deliveies from the left on Saturday and I can see him playing a vital role as the season progresses.

But concerns remain over the defence. 22 goals conceded in six pre-season games was followed by some kamikaze defending at South Shields. The new-look central partnership of Lee Newby and Paul Johnson took time to settle, although they did improve as the match went on.

Sean Davies, who came off the bench for his club debut, added some much needed experience and physical presence in the closing stages as the hosts threw everything at Town, quite literally at times thanks to the Rory Delap-like delivery of Colin White. But lets remember Town did keep them out.

So in the end it was a draw. The best way to look at it is that it represents an unbeaten start. After 50 minutes yesterday, I am sure everyone connected with the club would have taken that so lets look at the positives and move on.

Tow Law Town, 4-2 winners over Thornaby on Saturday, are the visitors for the opening home match on Wednesday night where Hickman, Smurthwaite and Clarke could all return to the squad.

But forget all that, the thing you should really be looking forward to on Wednesday is the opportunity to get your hands on a copy of the new-look match programme. Completely redesigned this season, the programme will have a fresher look to it - and still for the great price of just £1 - although most of the content will unfortunately remain as drab as last season.

Still, you can't have everything can you?

South Shields review boo

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Caygill and Macca rescue a point to end Town's opening day blues

By Ricky Butler at Peterlee Newtown

TWO goals in six second half minutes from Northern League debutantes Graham Caygill and Danny McLachlan saw Town come from behind to grab an opening day point at South Shields on Saturday.

After a disastrous start to both halves, which saw Barrie Smith and Paul Kane give Shields a 2-0 lead, Town showed great character and determination to leave Peterlee Newtown with a point.

"It is a little frustrating," said captain Gav Parkin at the whistle. "We were slow getting out of the blocks at the start of both halves and gifted them two really soft goals but we fought back well and are happy with a point."

With manager Peter Mulcaster away, assistant Steve Cooke picked the side but there were no real surprises. With Grant Hickman and Ian Smurthwaite both suspended, Cooke's defensive options were limited so he went with a new-look central partnership of Lee Newby and Paul Johnson with new signing Sean Davies on the bench.

In midfield, Christian Holliday returned on the left in the only change from Tuesday's defeat at Spennymoor, while in the absence of Jamie Clarke, McLachlan partnered Caygill up front.

But Cooke's first pre-match team talk did not appear to have had the desired affect as Town started slowly and they found themselves behind inside two minutes. Shields captain Smith was allowed to burst into the penalty area unchecked and he rounded goalkeeper Dean Hudson to slot into the empty net.

And it could have been a whole lot worse too as both Kane and Stephen Ramsey missed presentable opportunities to increase the hosts advantage before ten minutes had elapsed.

However, Town slowly began to settle and were slightly unfortunate not to be level by the break. McLachlan twice went close from distance while Holliday and Caygill both had chances to equalise as half time approached.

But all that momentum was lost within 30 seconds of the restart when a mix up on the edge of their own penalty area between McLachlan and Darren Kokes gifted an opportunity that Kane never looked like missing.

At this stage it appeared Town's opening day jinx, which has seen them fail to win their first fixture since 2001, was about to continue as Kane, Smith and Chris Feasy all come close to putting the result beyond any doubt. But Town weathered the storm and driven on by the outstanding Jason Brazauskas, scored twice in six minutes to draw level.

It was a great run from Brazuaskas down the right in the 53rd minute that paved the way for Parkin to stand up a cross to the far post. Holliday perhaps could have scored himself but instead chose to head the ball back into the six yard box where Caygill showed all his natural goal-scoring instincts to smash into the roof of the net - his first Northern League goal. Having scored five times in six pre-season games, including two at Spennymoor on Tuesday evening, it is unlikely to be his last.

Town were now well on top and they grabbed the equaliser just before the hour-mark. Brazauskas again opened up the home defence with some powerful running down the right and Steve Banks' cross was headed home by McLachlan via a slight deflection to send the Town fans behind the goal into ecstasy.

It was real end-to-end stuff now as both sides went all out for the winner. Shields best chance appeared to lie with the long throws of Colin White which led to a few heart-in-mouth moments for the Town defence, but the best opportunities were at the other end, particularly following the introduction of Col Anderson from the bench fifteen minutes from time.

Caygill saw an effort blocked at the far post after an inviting left-wing cross from Andrew Porritt, while Anderson then flicked the ball into the path of Brazauskas who drilled over the top.

But Town had a golden opportunity to snatch all three points in the first minute of stoppage time. Brazauskas cut in from the right and fed Anderson on the edge of the penalty area who touched the ball out to McLachlan on the left. But with only goalkeeper Jak Wells to beat, the 24 year-old smashed the ball just the wrong side of the post and it finished with honours even.

When asked about the performance of Brazauskas, Parkin said: "Jason is a great player and also a real character. He does not bring a bag with him to the games, he just turns up carrying his boots and with his shin pads in his pocket. But give him the ball and he can make things happen.

"We have to keep talking to him on the pitch and encouraging him but you saw in the second half what he can do.

Back to the game itself and Parkin was delighted with the character shown by his team. "We had 4-5 players out today and they are players who you would expect to be in the team. So to come back from 2-0 down and get a point shows the strength we have.

"We had some quality on the bench and it shows what we can do when we have everyone fit and available.

"It is always difficult at this time of the year with players on holiday and other things so it is never easy to get your best team out there.

"We wanted to start the second half well but everything we said in the changing room went out the window as we gave away a really poor goal. But credit to the lads for the showing the character to come back.

"Yes we could have nicked it at the end but I think a draw was probably about right.

"We face another tough match on Wednesday night (at home to Tow Law) but if we can pick up three points it will be make it a really good start.

"It is important to build up some momentum early in the season so we need to push on from this and get a result on Wednesday."

SOUTH SHIELDS - Wells, Clarke, Locke, Brown, White, Smith, Feasy, Sharp, Ramsey, Kane, Pickering. Subs - Sweeney, Courtney, Marshall, Edwards, Foster.

TOWN - Hudson, Banks, Porritt, Johnson, Newby, Parkin, Brazauskas, Kokes, McLachlan, Caygill, Holliday. Subs - Anderson, Colman, Toman, Davies.



South Shields match report boo

Friday, 9 August 2013

South Shields preview boo

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Gr-eight Spenny give Town footballing lesson

By Noel Russell at The Brewery Field

Town concluded their pre-season campaign with what turned out to be difficult night at FA Vase winners Spennymoor on Tuesday.
It was “one of those days” for Town as the illustrious hosts ran rampant in the first half. The Brewery Field pitch, with the addition of a slope, was like a bowling green and perfect for football. Meanwhile, Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg was in the middle.
The first of seven first half goals for Spennymoor came in the 5th minute when a corner from the right by Lee Kerr found Leon Ryan in acres of space to head past Town keeper Dean Hudson. Spennymoor nearly made it two from another corner in the 7th minute, but Hudson turned the ball away when under pressure.

Town forward Jamie Clarke was fouled midway in his own half on 11 minutes, but Clattenburg kept his cards in his pocket. Spennymoor did made it two moments later after good work from Kerr found Liam Henderson who headed across goal to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later, Mark Davidson headed straight at Hudson from another corner before the same player was put clean through on 20 minutes but the Town ‘keeper came out well to save at his feet.

A good cross from the left by Chris Mason then found Davidson again whose scuffed shot somehow beat Hudson and nestled in the back of the net to make it 3-0. In the 29th minute Henderson got his second and Spennymoor’s fourth as he was put through down the right and fired past Hudson.
Nine minutes later, Town failed to clear and the ball fell to Kerr who shot straight at Hudson. Mason then created a great chance for himself, but his shot was scrambled away for a corner.

With the pressure mounting, Spennymoor scored three goals in as many minutes to make it 7-0 at half-time. A great cross from Chay Liddle found Bott who volleyed past Hudson four minutes before the half-time whistle.
A looping header from Davidson then made it six and a further goal from Davidson, when he is found in acres of space to complete his hat-trick, concluded the first half scoring.

As the players came off, Mr Clattenburg had a look of disbelief and acting Town manager Martin Mulcaster looked in total shock at what he had just witnessed. Spennymoor beat Esh Winning 12-0 earlier in pre-season and it looked like that score could be beaten if the second half carried on in the manner of the first.
Spennymoor started the second period as they had the first with shots from Kerr and Liddle forcing Hudson into good saves. Town’s defence then went to sleep as Spenny went 8-0 up 12 minutes into the second half when Chris Lawther ran up the right wing and crossed for Davidson to lash home his fourth goal of the evening.

The introduction of Town’s super starlet Graham Caygill changed the game dramatically. Town’s first shot of the game came in the 72nd minute after good work from Steve Banks down the right set up Clarke whose shot flashed just the wrong side of the right hand post.
Five minutes later and “The Double C” combination was in full flow – Clarke held up the ball well to set up Caygill who shot low the past the keeper to send the travelling Town fans wild. Three minutes from time, Clarke and Caygill combined again – Clarke finding Caygill in space and the young striker calmly lobbed the keeper to mean Town had won the second half 2-1.

Mulcaster’s men now begin the league season on Saturday away against South Shields, which is to be played at Peterlee Newtown.
TOWN – Hudson, Banks, Newby, Hickman, Johnson, Brazauskas, Parkin, Kokes, Porritt, Clarke, McLachlan. Subs – Caygill, Toman, Colman.

REFEREE: Mr Mark Clattenburg

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Mully talked and we listened. The Q&A night in full

TOWN manager Peter Mulcaster hosted a Q&A session at the clubhouse on Friday evening and for those unable to attend, this is what happened.

Commercial Director Dave Watson opened proceedings by saying how disappointing the turn out was before Mulcaster introduced himself and spoke a little about his past.

He said that he has had 37 seasons as a manager, 32 of which have been in the Northern League, and that this is his third spell at Northallerton.

He had initially decided to retire from football management last season but when he got the call from the club in March, he was delighted to come back and help out, initially until the end of the season.

However, following a good run of results that saw Town reach the final of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy for a second year in a row, Mulcaster was offered the job permanently. He spoke of his affection for the club and commented on how professionally run it is.

The first question from the floor was about the current squad and Mulcaster proceeded speak about the players.

He highlighted the arrival of Jamie Clarke as a great move for the club, but when it was put to him that Clarke could leave if a club from Division One came in and offered him more money, Mulcaster counted by saying that the same applied to all the players.

"Clarke is happy to be here," said the Town boss. "He has come not just as a player but to help the younger lads develop and I believe he is committed to the cause."

Mulcaster then spoke of the disappointment at not being able to re-sign Adam Emson. He said he had tried calling him several times over the summer but that last seasons 38-goal leading scorer had refused to return his calls.

"It was a big problem for me," said Mulcaster. "I knew I needed someone to replace his goals and when I knew I get Clarke, I jumped at the opportunity."

Next, he spoke of young striker Graham Caygill. "He is not the finished article yet by any means, but he is a great lad with a terrific attitude and he will be one hell of a player. We had him in for specialist training during the week and he really got a lot out of it. We all have high hopes for him."

Mulcaster said that there were two players he really wanted to sign this summer and was delighted to have been able to get them both. The first was Darlington RA captain Dale Elgie, who Mulcaster described as a fabulous footballer, while the second was Darren Kokes, who played for Esh Winning last season. "He is a great player and a natural goalscorer." said Mulcaster.

Of the other new signings, Mulcaster said that Danny McLachlan had approached the club after Darlington Cleveland Bridge folded and had impressed in pre-season, while defender Sean Davies, who has signed from Crook, played in the Football League and the Conference with Scarborough.

The subject of local players and the relationship with Academy was inevitably brought up and Mulcaster was quick to point out how closely he has been working with David Goodwin and Keith Caygill.

He listed the Academy lads who are already in the squad and that he will continue to liase with Goodwin and Caygill to find the best local talent.

"If Dave or Keith think a player is worth looking at, I will have a look at them," he said. "But the final decision will always be mine. We all have opinions on players but it is not just about ability. They have to be committed and have the right attitude."

Mulcaster also named several local players who had refused to come to pre-season training and had decided that they do not want to play for Town.

"I can only pick players who want to play for the club. I asked several along to pre-season training and not one turned up. You cannot force them to play."

It was put to him that perhaps it may be worth looking at players from the local Sunday Leagues and from further South. Mulcaster said that he had very few contacts south of Northallerton but it was something he would look into going forward.

Mulcaster then said that one of the reasons he had chosen Steve Cooke to be his assistant was because he is in touch with local people and has a great knowledge of the Academy players.

Next up, Mulcaster was asked what his hopes are for the new season.

"Firstly to enjoy it," he said. "We want to win games, of course, and the more games you win the more you enjoy it. But I want people to enjoy watching us play.

"My aim is to finish higher than the 6th place we managed last year. I feel the squad is stronger this season and we have a greater work ethic, especially in forward areas.

"Last year I wanted us to defend from the front and stop the opposition settling on the ball, but we could not get enough work out of the strikers. It is different this season. You saw that at Bishop on Monday and you will see it throughout the season.

"Whatever happens though I can guarantee that we will lose a couple of games 5-0. It always happens. Everyone has an off-day and even the team that wins the league will suffer these sort of results. The important thing is to keep some perspective."

Mulcaster then spoke of the difficulty in keeping all the players happy.

"I can only pick 11 players at a time so the other 5 will always be disappointed. I think I am a good man-manager and it is important to speak to the players. It is not just about the lads on the pitch but dealing with the ones who are not playing every week. That is a big part of the job."

Next on the agenda was the selection of a club captain, and Mulcaster confirmed that Gav Parkin had been appointed.

"This is simply because we are unsure of the situation regarding Danny (Shoulder)," said the Town manager." He has been away with cricket and is struggling with injury so Gav was the natural choice."

The next issue was over the goalkeeping situation.

"I am looking at a couple of goalkeepers as cover," Mulcaster said." I believe Dean Hudson has been outstanding so far but of course we need more than one goalkeeper.

"Dean has been working with Michael Corps and is improving all the time. He needs to be more vocal out on the pitch but I have no problem with sticking him in the team."

The final question was about players attending club functions and interacting more with the fans. Mulcaster said he was keen to encourage the players to do this and felt it was important that everyone was pulling together.

That concluded the evenings events, although Mulcaster did promise another Q&A session at some point before Christmas where it is hoped more fans will attend.

Everyone at the club would like to thank Mulcaster for his honesty and openness. The over-riding impression of the evening was that he loves the club and is working very hard to achieve success. I am sure we all hope he can achieve it.