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.

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