Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Exclusive Colin Anderson interview

Exclusive Graham Caygill interview

Caygill at the double as Town get back to winning ways

By Ricky Butler at Birtley Sports Ground

Highlights of this match are available here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN bounced back from two disappointing performances with a accomplished display at Birtley on Monday evening.

After a first half of missed opportunities, Colin Anderson finally found the target four minutes before the break with his 15th goal of the season, while Graham Caygill then scored either side of half time. With the points in the bag, Town eased off in the closing stages and allowed the hosts a late consolation from Adam Froggatt but not even that could disguise the delight of manager Peter Mulcaster.

He said: "Everything about our performance tonight was much, much better. The lads appeared to take in what we said on Saturday. Sometimes you get a feeling in the dressing room its going to be your night and I think it was tonight.

"First half I thought we were exceptional. We could have had another two or three more really to be fair. But 3-1 was a fair result so everybody is happy tonight."

Mulcaster was able to welcome goalkeeper Steven Hubery on loan from his former club Horden CW to help out in what has become a problem position in recent weeks. Elsewhere, Grant Hickman was back to shore up the defence while Darren Kokes was recalled in an unfamiliar left wing role.

With the disappointment of Saturday's defeat up the road at Chester-le-Street still fresh in their minds, Town looked determined to put things right against a side that began the night one place and one point above them.

Kokes wasted a good early chance to give Mulcaster's side the advantage but it led to a dominant first half display. The only real surprise was it took until four minutes before the break for the breakthrough to finally arrive.

Hickman had struck the post while Anderson had seen a header well saved by home goalkeeper Jack Wilson and another effort scrambled off the line when the winger nodded home Gav Parkin's well-flighted left wing corner in the 41st minute.

Town were then able to relax a little when Caygill doubled their advantage right on half time. The young forward with the boyband looks turned well on the half way line before running at the home defence and firing a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net from 25 yards.

Mulcaster's men took that form into the early stages of the second period and they made it 3-0, seven minutes after the restart, although there was some debate over who actually scored it.

Mark Hemingway's long range effort was tipped over the bar by Wilson but the resulting corner from the right by Parkin again found the head of Anderson. The ball appeared to cross the line before Wilson hooked it clear but Caygill was on hand to nudge it back over just to make sure. Referee Adam Williamson later confirmed that he had awarded the goal to Caygill, but either way it was very much game over for Birtley.

Town continued to dominate and Anderson hit the post before heading narrowly wide, but a flurry of late substitutions seemed to disrupt their rhythm.

The hosts pulled a goal back nine minutes from time when a cross from out on the left by Adam Froggatt somehow crept in at the near post and then only a fine save from Hubery prevented Matthew Soulsby making it 3-2.

That would have led to a nervy last few minutes but Town easily held on for the points that lifts them back in the top seven.

Mulcaster said: "The pitch was good tonight. The last two or three times we have played, we have played on pitches that have been really heavy and that didn't suit us. But tonight it was much better and we knocked the ball about reasonably well.

"Grant Hickman was a big plus for us and so was Steven Hubery. He made a great save to keep it at 3-1.

"This win has given us a big boost. Everybody wanted the ball, everybody was prepared to work and when we were under the cosh for the last ten minutes, everybody was working hard behind the ball. I am very pleased."

Promotion may still a step too far for this team but they have once again shown that on their day they are a match for anyone.

Next up is a trip to Brandon United on Saturday.

BIRTLEY TOWN- Wilson, Gurr, Froggatt, Lancaster, Soulsby, Lourie, Watson, Nicholson, Nichol, reaks, Foster. SUBS - Noble, Harkness, Lee, Oman, Lavery.

TOWN -Hubery - Had one or two shaky moments and will be disappointed with the goal that beat him, but overall looked assured. Made a great save at 3-1 which prevented a nervous last few minutes. 7/10

Porritt - Like most of his team-mates, Andrew was much improved on the weekend performance. Solid and steady at right back. 7/10

Hemingway - Got forward to great effect, almost opening his account for the club with a wonderful dipping effort which led to the third goal. 7/10

Hickman - Great to have the big man back in his natural position. Won every header and was unlucky with a first half effort which hit the post. 8/10

Howlett - Another assured performance at the back from Jagger, who has been one of the teams most consistent performers in recent games. 8/10

Elgie - Perhaps not his best game with the ball although he did break up the play to great effect. 7/10

Anderson - When he is in this mood he is simply unplayable. Scored one (or was it two??) and could easily have scored four or five. A threat all night. Possibly just pipping Caygill to man of the match, although it seems unfair to separate them. 9/10

Parkin - Had it not been for the fine performances of Caygill and Anderson, Gav would have won man of the match. Dominant and hard working display from the little fella. 8/10

Butterworth - Again employed up front, Martin worked extremely hard and showed strength and determination throughout. 7/10

Caygill - Superb display capped by two goals, or was it one? Either way there was no disputing the quality of his first strike and his all round performance. Joint man of match with Anderson. 9/10

Kokes - Played in an unfamiliar left-wing role and it took him a while to adjust. Missed a great early chance but was then unlucky with another effort that fizzed just wide. 7/10

SUBS - McLachlan - Replaced Anderson down the right and showed his usual energy and endeavour. 7/10

Stevens - Struggled to get into the game after replacing Kokes but worked his socks off. 7/10

Colman - Given a run out up front in the final fifteen minutes and really seemed to enjoy himself. You feel he would really benefit from a run in the side. 7/10

REFEREE: A. Williamson


Exclusive Peter Mulcaster interview post Birtley


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Exclusive Mike Colman interview

Exclusive Stephen Banks interview

Town's promotion dream in tatters after controversial Chester defeat

By Ricky Butler at Moor Park

Highlights of this match are available here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN'S fading promotion hopes suffered a potentially fatal blow on Saturday as they slipped to defeat in a controversial match at Moor Park.

In an incident-packed encounter which saw two penalties, two red cards and numerous other controversial incidents, this is a game that will long in the memory, although one which Town will quickly want to forget.

Things appeared to be going the way of the Peter Mulcaster's men when Colin Anderson gave them a first half lead from the penalty spot in an incident which saw Chester defender Kevin Dixon controversially dismissed.

But the hosts were level by the break with the first of a fine hat-trick from Damian Stevens and Town were reduced to 10 men themselves within minutes of the restart when James Howlett was sent off for an alleged professional foul on Stevens.

Stand-in Town goalkeeper Mike Colman saved Craig Marron's resulting spot kick but Stevens scored twice more in quick succession to put the Cestrians in control, before substitute Tony Healer headed a fourth. Town rallied with a late Darren Kokes goal but it was not enough to prevent a second defeat in three days.

"We were poor again," said a disappointed Mulcaster at the whistle. "We haven't turned up as a team. It was a silly sending off. The referee said it was a great tackle but he pulled him [Stevens] back, although we didn't see that, but I thought Chester were the better side anyway."

Mulcaster made several changes to the team that had been beaten by North Shields in midweek. With no recognised goalkeeper once again, and with midweek hero Grant Hickman unavailable, Colman was thrown in at the deep end between the sticks.

Elsewhere Mark Hemingway, Dale Elgie, Graham Caygill and new signing Martin Butterworth were all in the starting XI while Stephen Banks was making his final appearance for the club.

Playing with the strong breeze at their backs in the first half, Town started slowly. However, a fairly uneventful match sprung to life in the 35th minute. A corner from the right by Gav Parkin found the head of Anderson but the ball was cleared off the line by defender Dixon with a mixture of head and hand.

After consulting with his assistant, referee Chris Keighley pointed to the spot and produced a red card for the unfortunate Chester defender. Anderson brushed aside the controversy to coolly send goalkeeper Chris Rookes the wrong way from the spot and give Town the lead.

But rather than going on to take control, Mulcaster's side became sloppy and allowed the hosts to equalise right on the stroke of half time. Some static defending saw Stevens given far too much time and space inside the area to easily beat Colman from 10 yards.

The second half was less than a minute old when the match took another turn. Stevens got on the wrong side of Howlett and bared down on goal but the Town defender recovered superbly to deny him with a fine tackle. However, referee Keighley consulted with his assistant again and not only awarded Chester a penalty but produced a red card for the stunned Town defender. A case of evening things up, perhaps.

The drama was not quite over either as Colman marked his first appearance in goal for the club with a wonderful save down to his left to keep out Marron's penalty, although it was all downhill for Town after that.

Just three minutes later Stevens again got clear, and with the Northallerton defence appealing in vain for offside, the Chester front man lobbed the ball over the stranded Colman from the edge of the area.

Town were rocked back on their haunches now and Stevens completed a classy hat-trick moments later with another fine finish from 20 yards.

Mulcaster rang the changes - replacing Butterworth, Kyle Swankie and Graham Caygill with Kokes, Danny McLachlan and Chris Burton - but any hope of a comeback was over 16 minutes from time. Colman failed to hold a corner from the left and Chester substitute Healer nodded home from close range.

The big striker rather spoilt the moment by needlessly goading the Town 'keeper who reacted by pushing him to the floor. Once again Keighley consulted with his assistant but this time his cards stayed firmly in his pocket and it remained 10 vs. 10.

Town did rally with a goal nine minutes from time as substitute Kokes fired home from close range via a slight deflection off defender Daniel Hepplewhite but the game was long over by then.

Mulcaster said: "We've said in the changing room we will sit down and look at what's happened in the last two games. It is not the end of the world and what we do now is take it out on the next team we play, which is [Birtley] on Monday night.

"Everybody was positive in the dressing room. They all had the chance to say what they wanted to say about it and we are all in agreement. We were poor, it's not good enough and we've got to put it right."

Monday's night trip to Birtley, who sit one place and one point above Town in the table, now has a must-win feel to it.

CHESTER-LE-STREET -  Rookes, Dixon, Draper, Marron, Grant-Soulsby, Hepplewhite (D), Hamblin, Duggan, Hepplewhite (M), Stevens, Stafford. SUBS - Surrey, Honour, Graves, Telford, Healer.

Colman - Took over in goal at the last minute and made a superb penalty save. After spending most of the season on the bench he certainly seemed to enjoy his moment in the spotlight and did not let anyone down. Man of the match. 8/10.

Porritt - Like the rest of his team-mates he was below par. Worked hard but not a game he will look back on with any great fondness. 6/10

Hemingway - Returned to side but like so many others, looked a little off the pace. 6/10

Banks - Not the way he would have wanted his final game to finish, but he was one of the better performers on the day in an unfamiliar centre-back role. 7/10

Howlett - After a great goal in midweek he suffered a very unfortunate red card here. 6/10

Elgie - Worked hard in the frantic midfield battle but was unable to really influence proceedings. 7/10

Anderson - Town's most lively attacking player but that is not saying very much. 6/10

Parkin - Cut a frustrated figure for much of the match as the game began to go against his team. 6/10

Butterworth - After a bright start on his return to the club, Martin struggled to make an impact and was substituted in the second half. 6/10

Caygill - Looked desperate to make a mark on a rare start but it was not to be his day. 6/10

Swankie - Another who failed to shine in a below-par team performance. 6/10

Kokes - Added some spark to the attack in the closing stages and scored the late consolation. 7/10

McLachlan - Unlucky not to start and worked hard when brought on. 7/10

Burton - Not on for long enough to have much of an impact. 6/10

Dacombe, Stevens - unused.

REFEREE - C. Keighley


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Exclusive Peter Mulcastrer interview post Chester-le-Street defeat

Chester-le-Street 4 Northallerton Town 2

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Exclusive Andrew Porritt and Richie Dacombe interview

Exclusive Craig Perry interview

Town have no answer as leaders march on

By Dan Pinder at the Calvert Stadium
Additional reporting and player ratings by Ricky Butler

Highlights of this match are available here

GRANT HICKMAN'S heroics in goal could not prevent Northallerton Town losing to league leaders North Shields last night in what was a disappointing overall performance from Peter Mulcaster's side.
Heavy rainfall had waterlogged the pitch in recent weeks and this fixture was Town's first at home in 2014 and their first game anywhere since 18 January.

Things could not have got off to a worse start when goalkeeper James Howarth pulled out of the squad meaning Hickman would start in goal for Town; not be the first time the defender had played between the sticks.
Mulcaster was left with a depleted squad, missing key players Dale Elgie, Mark Hemingway and Stephen Banks. The defence had a new look to it with Craig Perry making his first start for the club, while Andrew Porritt came back in to the starting line-up. Richie Dacombe returned from injury and took Hemingway’s left back spot.

Mulcaster said: “We missed [Dale] Elgie and [Steve] Banks but no excuses, that’s what happened. 3-1 and we will go from there.

“Craig Perry came in tonight and did a great job and Jagger [James Howlett] had a good game but there were too many players out of it tonight.

“Overall, first half we were excellent; second half we were second best.”

Town could be pleased with their first half performance despite not creating a lot of chances. They were solid at the back and kept a clean sheet in the first half against the league’s leading scorers.

Hickman was tested after just three minutes when Daniel Smart saw his 30-yard effort saved comfortably by the stand-in keeper who looked at ease in an unfamiliar role.

Referee Scott Henry blew his whistle for many fouls and the game had a stop start feel to it. However he turned down a penalty appeal from Town after 10 minutes when Kyle Swankie appeared to have been fouled inside the penalty area.

Captain Gav Parkin came closest for Town in the first half when his effort from just outside the box curled wide of the right hand post after 25 minutes.

North Shields nearly took the lead after Gareth Bainbridge’s cross was deflected on to the post by Perry. Bainbridge then came close to putting the away side ahead just before the break but Hickman was there again to deny the striker.

However, it was Shields defender Joe Elliott who grabbed the all-important first goal of the game after 52 minutes. Hickman produced two outstanding saves with his legs to deny Dean Walker and Elliott but he could not prevent the third effort going in from 10 yards out.

Chris Burton, who had a quiet game, was replaced by Graham Caygill up front for Town while Swankie was replaced by Michael Stevens. Unfortunately neither seemed to be able to get into the game in what was a poor overall performance in the second half from Town.

Twelve minutes from time it looked like Elliott had put the game to bed when the defender got his second goal of the game firing in to the top corner from close range.

However a late fight back from Town saw Howlett grab a goal back from just outside of the box with two minutes left - his first goal for the club - which gave Town a little bit of hope in grabbing a late equaliser.

It just was not meant to be though as sloppy play from the defence saw the ball fall to Ben Richardson and his 25-yard effort looped and dipped in to the top corner in added time.

Mulcaster was full of praise for North Shields after the game. He said: “They are a good side, that’s why they will win the league, and that’s why they will do well.”

He then added: “The next three games, no disrespect to them but we have got a chance. Chester-le Street, who beat us here, we were poor against so we have got something to prove there. Birtley on Monday; we beat them 3-1 here so that will be tough. Then it is Brandon who have picked up in recent weeks.

“It is not over by any means. We will regroup again, we have got [Martin] Butterworth back in the squad, he will be there on Saturday, so we will be far, far stronger than we were today.”

Defender Porritt said: “We gave a goal away, a daft goal away,  Grant's made a good couple of saves to be fair to him. But obviously we were up against it at 2-0 down”

Speaking after the game, Dacombe said: “I think we tired near the end, we had heavy legs and I think that told in the end.

“They were very quick on the break and that was difficult to defend against.”

Porritt added: “We worked hard; we just did not have quite enough against a team like that.

“We haven’t had a game for six weeks, legs were tired towards the end but that’s no excuse really.”

It was evident that the lack of games this year due to waterlogged pitches played a factor in Town's defeat as fitness levels dropped midway through the second half.

Speaking about the club, new signing Perry said: “The club is a lovely club, the changing room is really good and the lads get on well together so it is absolutely great.”

Next up for Town is an away trip to Chester-le-Street this Saturday as they look to get three points and put their push for promotion back on track.

Hickman - Thrown in at the deep in just before kick off, Grant produced a superb display of goalkeeping. Man of the match. 9/10.

Porritt - Back in the starting line-up and produced a solid display at right back. 7/10 

Dacombe - Looked accomplished at left back although like many of his team mates, tired towards the end. 8/10

Perry - Excellent debut at the back. Was strong and looked comfortable on the ball. 8/10 

Howlett - Just gets better and better with every game. Pushed Grant all the way for man of the match and capped a fine display with a wonderful late goal. 9/10

Parkin - Battled hard in the centre of the park. 7/10

Anderson - Never really got going and came up against the only full back this season who has been able to keep him quiet. 6/10 

Kokes - Worked hard to stem the tide in the second half. 7/10  

Burton - A difficult night for the front men as they were starved of service for long periods. 6/10 

McLachlan - Worked his socks off for very little reward. 7/10

Swankie - Lively start in which he should have won a penalty but faded and was substituted after the break. 7/10

SUBS: Stevens - Replaced Swankie but had little influence on proceedings. 6/10

Caygill - Looked lively after replacing Burton. 7/10

Colman - Unused.

NORTH SHIELDS: Ball, Elliott, Grey, Richardson, Parker, Hughes, Scope, Wrightson, Bainbridge, Smart, Walker. SUBS: Hook, Forster, McKeown, Robinson, Holmes.



Exclusive Peter Mulcaster interview

Northallerton Town 1 North Shields 3

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Late goals blow Town's title push off track

By Ricky Butler at Southlands Centre

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

LATE goals from Ed Hebbron and Ross Teasdale sent title-chasing Northallerton Town Academy crashing to a shock defeat to bottom side North Ormesby on the 3G pitch at Southlands Centre on Saturday.

Having fought back from a dreadful start which saw Jack Cross and Bobby Holmes give Ormesby a 2-0 lead inside half an hour, goals either side of the break from Mikey Stevens, David Cooke and Adam Pearson looked to have given Town a vital three points.

But Hebbron and Teasdale both struck from distance in the final 20 minutes to give the strugglers only a second league victory of the season.

"It was a very disjointed performance," said Academy manager Dave Goodwin. "Ormesby maybe dealt with the conditions better than we did, they were more forceful. We tried to keep playing the passing football but it didn't work this week."

With the pitch at the Calvert Stadium still waterlogged, this home fixture was moved 25 miles away to the 3G pitch at Southlands Centre, and Goodwin's side included first team players Stevens and Colin Anderson. With Cooke, Scott McNichol and goalkeeper Jordan Aspinall also having played in the Northern League this season, it was a team that should have been good enough to see off the hard-working visitors.

But with the strong wind against them in the first half, it was the struggling Ormesby side that started well and they grabbed an eighth minute lead. Stevens lost the ball in midfield and a quick break saw Cross round Aspinall to slot home.

Town were struggling to get their passing game going at this stage and it was Middlesbrough-based side that doubled their advantage with the game not yet half an hour old. The goal actually started from a Town corner and another break saw Holmes given far too much time and space to pick his spot from the edge of the penalty area.

But a slight change of formation, moving McNichol to left back and Stevens to right midfield, saw Town begin a thrilling comeback. The two combined to give the Academy a lifeline just before the break when Stevens looped home a header from McNichol's left-wing cross, and the turn around was complete within 12 minutes of the resumption.

Captain Cook, who was born up the road in Middlesbrough, circumnavigated the world, but it was another captain Cooke, David, that circumnavigated the Ormesby defence to slot home the equaliser four minutes into the second half.

The increasingly windy conditions then played a part in the goal that gave Town a 57th minute lead. Ormesby goalkeeper Adam Green misjudged a ball from the right by Anderson and McNichol was able to return it into the six-yard box for Pearson to head home from close range.

But instead of using that as a springboard to take control, Town allowed the game to slip away from them. Hebbron curled home a superb equaliser from 25 yards with 19 minutes left before a shot from a similar distance from substitute Teasdale secured a shock Ormesby success.

Goodwin said: "We were disjointed all over the field. The combinations down the left hand side, down the right hand side, the two in the middle; normally that flows much better. Maybe that was the conditions, maybe that was them being more forceful than us, but normally it's better than this."

NORTHALLERTON TOWN ACADEMY - Aspinall, Pearson, Stevens, Cooke, Proud, Wright, McNichol, Fawcett, Baxter, Vernalls, Anderson.

NOTH ORMESBY - Green, Ramsey, Harper, Johnson, Moore, Cassidy, Hall, Holmes, Hebbron, Cross, Patchett. SUBS - Teasdale, Hardy, Murray.

REFEREE - D. Ward.