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.



  1. Mullies n Cook need to take a look at themselves after this result against a average team

  2. I agree ... Very disappointing start! Personally don't think our squad is strong enough to challenge this season

  3. 4 points from 2 tough league games is a disappointing start? Wow...

  4. Management i agree need to look at there decisions yesterday. we was outplayed for 70minutes and second half performance was not any were near good enuf. so why did it take 80+ minutes before substitutions happened. to many pasengers in that team yesterday i counted 3 decent performances Col Gav biscuits and why change a team that had made a decent start to season very strange also cup run would brought money in for club
    bad bad decisions

  5. I think the person who brought Mulls to the club needs to take a look at themselves also.

  6. This team had 10 put passed them last time out whats the crack !

  7. Could have been the orange kit far to many Tango men on show.

  8. Why all the panic, we are just starting out we will be there or there abouts come the end of the season. It may have lost us a sum of money but its a cup out of the way and we can focus on the league. Mullie will deal with it and take us on stronger.

  9. Shame to be knocked out of cup so early especially by a team that was pretty average. But its over + done with now, mistakes were without a doubt made, and so lessons need to be learned. Learn them and we can from this defeat go onto have a successful season and acheive promotion so lets look forwards now and not backwards.

  10. don't think the club have moved forward since Fanning left. Not sure Mully is the answer

  11. Where has Mully been manager recently - Esh Winning and Horden and where are they now?
    Are we heading the same way?

  12. who is this clown saying all this sh*t? obvs someone whos never played northern league before

  13. Useless management, need to go, poor track record.

  14. Ricky.. I would hardly say 2 tough games. They are both average 2nd division teams who won't be in the mix come April. I don't think it's the results, rather the manner of the performances. Against SS we were poor and tow law not much better, we were just lucky tow law are an awful side. Hopefully now mulls is back he can help improve things