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.


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