Tuesday, 25 February 2014

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


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