Thursday, 29 August 2013

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.

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