Sunday, 19 January 2014

Heads you lose as Town slip to unfortunate cup defeat

By Ricky Butler at Boldon Sports Centre

Highlights of this match are available here courtesy of Roofing TV

TWO goals from Shaun Heads sent Town crashing out of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup on Saturday, although there was certainly no disgrace in what was a very good team performance.

In a competition which has brought them a lot of success in recent years, Town probably did enough to get a result at the Boldon Sports Centre but it was a case of Heads you lose as the Jarrow wide-man struck in either half.

After Heads had taken advantage of a slip in the Town defence to chip home the opener after just two minutes, Dale Elgie brought Peter Mulcaster's side level before the break. But Heads scored again on the hour and despite a late Town rally, that was the way it finished.

"I was very pleased with the performance," said Mulcaster. "I thought both sides deserve credit for putting on a show of good football on what was a glue-pot of a pitch.

"If it was a league game I would have been unhappy with a defeat as I would have wanted a draw as we had one or two chances at the end.

"Defensively we were good today, in the middle of the park we were good, and up front we were good too which is very pleasing."

Town were looking to reach the final of this competition for the third year in a row but Mulcaster was forced into two changes to the side that had won 2-0 at Whickham a fortnight earlier. With striker Chris Burton cup tied, Danny McLachlan was recalled to the starting XI, while new signing Kyle Swankie replaced calf-injury victim Richie Dacombe on the left side of midfield.

On a quagmire of a pitch, Roofing were given the perfect start with a goal inside two minutes; Heads the beneficiary of a slip in the Town defence to chip over the stranded James Howarth from the edge of the penalty area.

But Mulcaster's side responded well to going behind and they were level just 12 minutes later. Colin Anderson played the ball back to Steve Banks and he cut in from the right before finding Elgie to slot home from 15 yards - the second game in a row in which he has found the target and his third goal in five appearances.

There was very little to choose between the sides after that although Town probably had the better chances before the break. They were unfortunate not to go ahead in the 38th minute when only a magnificent save from Roofers goalkeeper Andy Hunter kept out an Anderson header, while Swankie nearly marked his debut with a goal - a deflection off defender Jamie Marshall denying him.

It was a similar story in the early part of the second period as Roofing captain Dan Kirkup blocked an effort from Darren Kokes, 10 minutes after the resumption. But it was the hosts that regained the lead just before the hour.

Stu Nicholson, who had looked lively down the right all afternoon, switched the play from right to left and Heads was given too much time and space at the far post to drill the ball low into the right-hand corner of the net.

And it would have been game over soon afterwards when only a wonderful save from Town goalkeeper James Howarth kept out Liam McBryde's close-range volley.

The introduction of Mikey Stevens for Swankie gave Town a renewed vigour in the closing stages and it nearly led to what would have been a fully deserved equaliser. Twice the substitute created opportunities for Anderson - the first blocked, the second cleared off the line by Kirkup - before Kokes was denied by Hunter.

Mulcaster's side thought they had saved their cup dreams deep into stoppage time when Anderson turned home a great ball from the impressive Elgie but the assistants flag on the nearside cut short the celebrations and it finished 2-1.

Mulcaster said: "They came out of the blocks very quickly but we were the better side in the first half, there is no doubting that. Second half, they started quickly again but we played very well.

"The league is the priority and people will say this was chance of silverware, but its gone now. If you are going get beat than this is the way to do it; play well and be a little bit unfortunate.

"I think it's fair to say we have played three or four times worse than we have today and won. Then we play like this and get beat. But that's football isn't it."

Town are back in league action next Saturday with a local derby against Darlington RA at the Calvert Stadium. Kick off is 3pm.

JARROW ROOFING -  Hunter, Marshall, McDonald, Dixon, Myers, Kirkup, Nicholson, Martin, McBryde, Young, Heads. SUBS - Gardiner, Appleby, Reeves, Johnstone, Perry.

TOWN - Howarth - Unlucky with the two goals that beat him and showed safe handling throughout. Made a tremendous save from McBryde in the second half. 7/10

Banks - Another solid performance from the right back. Set up the goal with a typical forward burst, although was caught out for what proved to be the winner. 7/10

Hemingway - Was kept busy by the lively Nicholson down the Jarrow right but stick to the task well. 710

Hickman - Commanding at the back again and showed some lovely touches on the sticky surface. Relished the battle with the intimidating figure of Kirkup at set pieces. 8/10

Howlett - Superb display at the back. Won every 50/50 challenge. Outstanding. 9/10

Parkin - Typically tenacious midfield display from the skipper. 7/10

Anderson - Perhaps not his day, although he still helped create the goal and was unlucky not to score himself with a superb header. 7/10

Elgie - A masterful midfield display on a tricky pitch. Constantly drove Town forward and got himself another goal. Just pipped Jagger to man of the match. 9/10

Kokes - Like Anderson it was not really his day and he become frustrated, but put in another good shift. Needs a goal though. 7/10

McLachlan - Back in the side and looked like he had a point to prove. 8/10

Swankie - A decent debut from the young winger who looks to be a another good addition to the squad. 7/10

SUBS - Stevens - Replaced Swankie on the hour and looked sharp. His pace was a potent weapon against a tiring defence. 8/10

Porritt - Came on for Hemingway in the closing stages and almost set up the equaliser for Anderson with his first touch. 7/10

UNSUSED - Perry, Colman.

REFEREE - P. Osgood.


Saturday, 18 January 2014


Exclusive Peter Mulcaster interview

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Exclusive Gav Parkin interview

Exclusive James Howarth interview

Exclusive Chris Burton interview

Whickham gone for a Burton as Town start 2014 with a win

By Ricky Butler at Glebe Sports Centre

Highlights of this match are available here

FIRST half goals from Dale Elgie and new signing Chris Burton saw Town start 2014 with a comfortable away victory over ten-man Whickham at the Glebe Sports Centre on Saturday.

Having dropped down the table after three weeks without a game, this had become a must-win match for Peter Mulcaster's side if they were to keep themselves in the promotion race.

And after taking 15 minutes to blow away the cobwebs, Town went on to dominate for long periods. After Elgie diverted a shot from substitute Mikey Stevens into the roof of the net after 26 minutes to score Town's first goal of the New Year, Burton capped a fine debut with a powerful header just before the break.

Whickham's chances of a comeback were over when substitute Mark Pattison was sent off early in the second half and Town were able to ease to a first league away win since late September.

Mulcaster was rightly delighted with the performance of his side. He said: "Yes, I was very pleased, especially with the first half. It was good for Chris Burton who scored a great goal, and the team performance was excellent.

"The second half it was more a case of us having won the game and then they had a man sent off which helped us. But a win is a win especially at Whickham as they are always difficult to beat here."

Mulcaster gave debuts to Burton, signed from Thornaby just before the Saturday morning deadline, and Richie Dacombe, while goalkeeper James Howarth was fit to start after suffering a nasty head injury on his debut last month.

After such a long lay off, Town was a little slow out of the blocks and it was the hosts that created the first opportunity after 12 minutes when captain Michael Hedley headed a free kick from Jack Moulding just wide of the left-hand upright.

But Town dominated the remainder of the opening period. They should have been in front midway the half when Col Anderson and Darren Kokes both saw efforts cleared off the line following an amazing goalmouth scramble. But the deadlock was broken four minutes later.

Dacombe's debut lasted just 25 minutes before succumbing to a calf injury but his replacement, Stevens, made an immediate impact. A corner from the right by Gav Parkin fell to the substitute on the edge of the penalty area and his first time effort was diverted into the roof of the net by Elgie.

"An inspired substitution," as Mulcaster called it, and who could disagree.

Town looked comfortable now, although in a rare Whickham raid, Mark Hemingway was forced to head off his own goal-line after a clearance from Howarth had deflected off Chad Collins.

But Mulcaster's men always looked the more likely and they doubled their advantage six minutes before the break. Burton had just missed a great chance when he fired wide with only goalkeeper John Mordey to beat, but he made no mistake with a powerful header to Anderson's inviting right-wing cross.

"They say you normally miss the easier ones," said Burton. "I was shouting at myself and I think that was what sparked me to get the goal afterwards."

Whickham came out strongly at the start of the second half but any hope they had of getting back into the match was over within ten minutes of the restart. Substitute Pattison, who had only just been booked for a foul on Anderson, jumped in on the Town winger again right in front of the assistant on the near side and referee Martin Bunting had no hesitation in producing a second yellow card.

Whickham worked really hard after that but Town were now in almost complete control and it was just a matter of whether they would add any further goals. Darren Kokes headed over after another great cross from Anderson, while Anderson himself would have been celebrating had his shot on the turn not been deflected wide off the unsuspecting Kokes.

Then in stoppage time, substitute Mike Colman, who has spent most of the season on the bench, was denied what would have been a very popular goal by a fine save from Mordey down to his right.

"We were all wishing Mikey (Colman) would get a goal as he is a great lad," said Mulcaster.

On the promotion race, the Town boss said: "We need a good run now to keep ourselves up there. Two or three wins on the trot and we are back in the reckoning.

"We won't win the league, I know that, but we will keep putting pressure on other people. We are disappointed with some of the points we have dropped but we have a good set of lads. There was a good atmosphere in the changing room today which I was pleased about."

Town now face South Shields at the Calvert Stadium next weekend before a rearranged Ernest Armstrong Cup quarter final tie at Jarrow Roofing on Saturday 18 January.

WHICKHAM - Mordey, Moulding, Rook, Johnstone, Hedley, Martin, Falcon, Peareth, Aiston, Collins, MacIntosh. SUBS - Cavanagh, Burnett, Robson, Holmes, Pattison.

TOWN - Howarth - A fairly comfortable afternoon for the new goalkeeper but he looked assured throughout. 8/10

Banks - Got forward to great affect in the second half and was as solid and dependable as ever at the back. 7/10

Hemingway - Has made a massive impact since breaking into the side in late-November. Outstanding again. 9/10

Howlett - Possibly his best game in a Town shirt. Did not lose a header and was good in possession. Impressive. 8/10

Hickman - Like defensive partner Howlett, Grant was solid and strong in the air. Afforded Whickham very few opportunities. 8/10

Parkin - Typical captain's display. Kept driving the team on and unlucky not to score on one or two occasions. 8/10

Anderson - Is a defenders worst nightmare. If he not bringing fouls, he is weaving his magic. Once again the best player on the pitch. Unplayable. 9/10

Elgie - Scored the all-important opening goal and was once again strong in the middle of the park. 8/10

Kokes - Usual hard-working display up front and unlucky not to score on several occasions. 8/10

Burton - An impressive debut. Worked hard and took his goal extremely well. Looks to be a great addition to the squad. 8/10

Dacombe - Lasted just 25 minutes on his debut but looked lively down the left. 7/10

SUBS - Stevens - His first touch was to create the opening goal and it led to a strong performance. 8/10

McLachlan - Worked hard in the closing stages and was a useful outlet. 7/10

Colman - Finally given some minutes on the pitch and was very unfortunate not to score with a superb late effort. 8/10

UNUSED - Porritt, Caygill.

REFEREE - M. Bunting


Saturday, 4 January 2014


Exclusive Peter Mulcaster interview