Saturday, 7 September 2013

Nine-man Town crash out of Vase in controversial Willington tie

By Ricky Butler at Hall Lane

NINE-MAN Town were dumped out of the FA Vase on Saturday after an extraordinary and controversial tie at Ebac Northern League new-boys Willington.

Peter Mulcaster's side appeared to be coasting through as goals from Grant Hickman, Jason Brazauskas and Jamie Clarke saw them lead 3-0 inside 25 minutes, but then everything that could go wrong went wrong.

Firstly, Darren Kokes received a straight red card before the break for a two-footed tackle inside the centre circle before influential skipper Gav Parkin was forced off with a hamstring injury just six minutes later.

Willington, who had pulled a goal back through David Pinkney on the hour, then scored twice in the last three minutes through Corey Nicholson to send the tie into extra time, where Pinkney proceeded to win it.

That was not quite the end of the drama however, as Danny McClachlan was shown two yellow cards in the space of two minutes to join Kokes on the side-lines, before Willington striker Liam Whitworth also saw red late on as the tie ended in farcical fashion.

"That was probably one of the worst games I have ever seen," said Mulcaster at the whistle. "It was awful to watch. I'm just devastated with the way it went.

"We were coasting at 3-0 and tried to kill the game off in the second half. We were down to ten men and they had nothing to lose but even so, we should still have seen it out."

With injuries affecting the squad, Mulcaster's option were severely restricted, so in came Mike Colman to partner Clarke up top while Ian Smurthwaite replaced groin-injury victim Andrew Porritt at left back. That left Christian Holliday as the only fit player on the bench.

Kicking down the hill in the first half, it was Town who looked in complete control as they scored three times in the opening 22 minutes. Hickman headed the first after just three minutes following a superb right-wing cross from McClachlan - his 4th goal of the season - while Brazauskas made it 2-0, ten minutes later, with a fine finish from another McLachlan delivery.

When Willington goalkeeper Ryan Mundell then completely mis-judged a ball in from the right by Colman presenting Clarke with number 3, it looked all over. But Town were dealt a double blow in the minutes leading up to half time.

Kokes was shown a straight red card after a two-footed tackle on Jason White inside the centre circle - harsh, perhaps, but probably the only decision the referee got right all afternoon - while Parkin was then forced off soon after.

But despite everything conspiring against them, Town appeared comfortable for much of the second half, even after Pinkney had capitalised on a poor clearance from Holliday to make it 3-1 on the hour with an assured finish from 20 yards.

However, the real drama was still to come. Clarke came close to sealing it for Town with a free kick that came back off the post eight minutes from time, and that proved to be decisive. There were just three minutes of normal remaining when Nicholson got clear down the right and drilled the ball beyond goalkeeper Alex Kell to set up a grandstand finale.

Despite looking tired, Town appeared to have hung on when, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Nicholson repeated the trick with a shot from a tight angle that went in off both posts to force the tie into extra time.

In the circumstances this was the last thing Mulcaster's side needed and it got a whole lot worse when just two minutes into the first extra period. A speculative effort by Pinkney from 20 yards somehow slipped from Kell's grasp and dropped over the line before the Town stopper could recover.

But a scrappy, ill-tempered encounter ended in more controversy as McLachlan was booked twice in the space of two minutes deep into the second extra period. After initially being booked for dissent, the Town man then needlessly got involved with Mundell after appearing to be head-butted by the Willington goalkeeper and a second yellow inevitably followed.

Then, moments later, home forward Whitworth clashed with Sean Davies on the halfway line to become the third player dismissed on a day that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the manner of the defeat, however Mulcaster tried to remain upbeat. He said: "Even in extra time with ten men, we still felt we could get something out of the game.

"But unfortunately Alex, who has been superb for us, mis-handles one over the line and then we lose another man. But even in the end we were still forcing the game when it was 9 against 11.

"We now have to regroup for a big game on Wednesday at North Shields. We have one or two injuries so I may have to look at getting some new faces in."

WILLINGTON - Mundell, Brown, Nicholson, Lazonby, Howe, Cairns, Lee, White, Whitworth, Pinkney, Sakr. Subs - Goodey, Weston, Marshall, Fairish, Hardy.

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

REFEREE -  S. Kyle



  1. See Craig Winter is on the list at Norton would do job for us had four great seasons maybe Mission impossible but worth ask

    1. The centre halves are fine as they are. That's not where northallertons problems are. Although could be a valuable squad player. Striker and midfielder is needed.

  2. The number 7 lost it for Northallerton by trying to cheat and get a penalty and get a player sent off who had done nothing wrong but beat him to the ball,
    North are a very good team but a bit theatrickle, get that side of it out of your game and you will progress.

  3. No offence to Craig, he's a nice lad but not what we need at the minute. We have plenty defenders, its midfielders were short on. Was saying this the other day at Darlington RA, what I would give to have the likes of Shoulder, Lyons, Hardy and Butterworth back in our ranks who were all watching on the bank holiday. All good lads and quality in abundance.

  4. Winters is not required, that would be a step back !

  5. Step back ok fair point but always give quality service to the club just think Shoulder Hickman Winter and Smurf would make our back four solid but saying bring back Hardy and Lyons for midfield would Be pointless not good enough first time around but let's stick together and get behind mully

  6. It would make it solid but not a good defence, winter was regularly bailed out by shoulders pace last season and which one would play left back? As for Hardy and Lyons neither really got a chance under fanning and I think (could be wrong) but have gone on to play at a higher level since. Hardy in Australia and Lyons in the 1st division. So to say they aren't good enough is a hit hasty. There's no guarantee Winter, Shoulder, Lyons, Hardy, Butterworth Etc would want to play for us anyway its just people brandishing names about. One thing that is for certain is that we need new faces, Mully has said that himself. One fit sub for a Vase game is shocking...these are the games players should be dying to play in.

  7. The defence is solid most of the time in the 4 games I have seen..., the injuries, suspensions and people playing out of position can't help the team. Saying this, league position is looking good and more players to help a push wouldn't hurt.

  8. Mully pull yer finger out then.

  9. Shoulder is passed it now, he will tell you that himself.

  10. shoulder was passed it four seasons ago but still did a good job. Most the time.

  11. Shoulder is worth his waiting Gold need someone in quick before Saturday Come on Mully get on the phone and sort it

  12. Haha I think the saying is ... Worth his weight in gold!!
    It's all good and well saying get on the phone, but who to?

  13. Just seen Darren Morton on list could he fit into midfield or maybe Daniel Lockwood in attack just few names in the hat