Saturday, 28 September 2013

Home woes continue as Chester win by a Street

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

View highlights of the match here

A TESTING week for Northallerton Town ended with another disappointing home defeat against a hard-working but limited Chester-le-Street side on Saturday.

After Chris Dickinson had opened his account for the season to equalise an early Jake Stafford strike for the Cestrians midway through the first half, Town conceded soft goals either side of the break to Michael Graver and Anthony Lee to face an uphill battle.

Sean Davies set up a grandstand finale with a close range effort nine minutes from time, but any hopes of a Town comeback were ended moments later when Adam Smith curled home a superb fourth for the visitors.

"The first half we were diabolical," said manager Peter Mulcaster at the whistle. "The second half we improved a bit but gave a soft goal away and then having got it back to 3-2, we concede a fourth and it's game over.

"The biggest concern I have is with the quality that we have, we are not gelling together. It is not happening at the back and its not happening in middle of the park or up front.

"They scored a great goal and then Chris Dickinson scored a great goal, but we gifted them 2 soft goals after that. It was poor, poor all round."

With the departure of leading scorer Jamie Clarke, Mulcaster made three changes to the side that had scraped a draw with Whickham in midweek. Danny Shoulder switched to left back in place of Andrew Porritt to allow Davies to return at centre half, while Mike Atkinson was on the right side of midfield with Col Anderson pushed up to partner Chris Dickinson in attack.

In the bright autumn sunshine, Town started well but they were hit by a Chester counter-attack after just 16 minutes. John Honour broke clear down the left and his cross was cleverly chested into the path of Stafford by Michael Hepplewhite who drilled a magnificent first time effort in the bottom right-hand corner of Alex Kell's net.

But Mulcaster's side responded with a fine equaliser of their own just six minutes later. Dickinson combined well with fellow-York loanee Atkinson down the right before smashing the ball past goalkeeper Kyle Barlow from 20 yards - the first goal of his loan spell from the League Two club.

However, instead of pushing on and taking control, Town eased off and it was the visitors who regained the lead six minutes before the break. Shoulder was penalised for a foul on Hepplewhite on the edge of the penalty area and Graver's free kick somehow squirmed under the body of Kell.

Town responded again and could have been level right on half time when Dickinson stood up a cross from the right but Anderson's header was tipped over the bar at full stretch by Barlow - a save which perfectly summed up the way Town's luck is going at the moment.

But any momentum was lost within three minutes of the restart. Lee appeared to be in an offside position as he broke clear down the Town left but the flag stayed down and he managed to squeeze a shot past Kell from a tight angle.

Town huffed and puffed after that but they rarely looked like getting the goals they needed to get back into the match. Some may point to the departure of Clarke but the fact is the players on the pitch have enough quality to see off the likes of Chester, regardless. But for one reason or another it is just not happening at the moment.

Danny 'The Flame' McLachlan almost became an instant hero with his first touch after coming off the bench midway through the second half, but he flashed his shot wide of the target, although the best opportunities both fell to full-back Steve Banks.

First, he headed over at the far post after a teasing left wing cross from Anderson on the hour before being denied a first Town goal by a fine save from Barlow nine minutes from time. However, it was the resulting corner, taken with quality as always by Gav Parkin, that led to Town halving the deficit.

After a spot of goalmouth pin-ball the ball finally fell to Davies at the far post and he smashed it into the roof of the net from close range.

With the home crowd now sensing a second thrilling late comeback in four days, Town added more urgency to their play but the optimism lasted barely three minutes.

Banks, who has probably been Town's most consistent player this season, was robbed by young winger Smith but no one could have accounted for the finish of the teenager which was as good as any you will see all season. Another mistake punished in emphatic fashion.

"With no midweek game I was going to give the lads the week off if they did well today and won, but they will be in for training now," said Mulcaster. "We face another tough match next week against Brandon and we need to be ready.

"When you are not winning and not playing well every game is tough. You look at it and think where can we go, what can we do. But we'll put it right," he added.

It is now just one win in six matches for Town as all the early season optimism is quickly evaporating. Yes, Town have had very little luck in recent weeks but the salient fact is the performances have not been good enough. One point from 3 home matches in the last week tells its own story.

TOWN - Kell, Banks, Shoulder, Hickman, Davies, Parkin, Atkinson, Elgie, Dickinson, Anderson, Brazauskas. Subs - Caygill, McLachlan, Porritt, Colman, Stevens.

CHESTER-LE-STREET - Barlow, Dixon, Hepplewhite(D), Surrey, Grant-Soulsby, Graver, Honour, Stafford, Lee, Hepplewhite(M), Smith. Subs - Marron, Roberts, Witherspoon, Thompson, Telford.




  1. It's not good enough to many Teesside league players in the team We need at least 4 or 5 new faces before Brandon but who

  2. Who is the Malton, named as one of the CLS subs ? No one registered under that name.Lets hope he's not a ringer!!

  3. watched the game yesterday. they scored a good first goal, keeper should have saved the free kick, 3rd was offside, 4th was mistake from the right. In a non biased opinion 6/7 of the players are good but the other 4 didnt look good enough and or interested. If allerton had a predator in the box playing yesterday the score would have been very different.

  4. Speak volumes if you can't beat a limited CLS team.Does that mean Northallerton are a public liability!! Comic book reporting.

  5. Dear All
    The limited CLS secretary here. The Malton on the form is actually Craig Marron its just with our limited abilities at Chester-le-street we couldn't make the name plain enough for your people to read - Graver was also Gravel on the sheet up at the clubhouse entrance.Apologies for our limited grasp of the english language but I would suggest there will be no replay we will not be docked points and we say thank you very much for an entertaining afternoon,nice hospiality and a good result for our limited side

  6. Much ado about nothing.

  7. Well "the likes of Chester" who are obviously "limited" are obviously a better side than the mighty 'allerton.

  8. Credit to the opposition seems to be in short supply from Northallerton.
    Got beat off Chester "a limited side"
    Got beat off Heaton Stannington "apart from the striker,an average side"
    Scrambled an undeserved draw against Whickham "two bad sides"
    Maybe Northallerton should recognise what they probably are "a mid table side at best"

  9. just wondering if there will be any apologies to the cls played a wrong un and to be docked 3 points. only replay some people need is go back to school and learn to read. nice weather, good ground, good supporters and good win for cls. but limited match reporting

  10. The confusion over Malton and Marron appears to have come from the the original team sheet as given to our secretary. The sheet written on the board outside the clubhouse said Malton as did the one shown to me. It has since been pointed out to be a mistake and I have amended the report here accordingly. Not a big deal.

    I do not seriously think anyone was suggesting the match should actually be replayed, I took those comments as a bit of banter so not sure why an apology would be required?

    As for my 'limited' comments, well I was giving an honest assessment of the team as I saw it. Of course Chester supporters may well see it differently and that is fine. Football is all about opinions after all. I was brought up to believe that honesty is the best policy but perhaps in future I should just say everyone is great, the sun always shines and CLS for the title. Would that make you happy?

  11. This guys reporting is embarassing to ntfc and us fans. CLS could have scored 2-3 more on the break 2nd half. I am a realist and we are miles off promotion candidates. As for the "ringer" think you were clearly clutching at straws given us fans commented as marron entered the pitch that he scored for ryhope against us last season.
    Time to start giving teams respect, we all love town but some need to take the blinkers off.

  12. Question is Dagenham Dave, how many more embarrassing reports have Northallerton got to endure? No individual is bigger than the club.I feel as though we're now the 'Millwall' of the Northern League.Leave the spin doctoring to the government.

  13. What is embarrassing about this report?? Really. Your constant pathetic digs at me, calling me ridiculous names while hiding behind 'anonymous' now that is embarrassing. Thanks for reading though and being such a massive fan. Stalker in fact. I am honoured

  14. All publicity is good publicity someone once said

  15. Ricky, anonymous comments dont count. Same as fake facebook accounts. I suspect theres a link there.