Monday, 31 March 2014

Exclusive Gav Parkin interview

Exclusive Dale Elgie interview

Exclusive Gav Parkin interview

Mully talks...about the Thornaby victory

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Elgie at the double as Town end winless run

By Ricky Butler at Teasdale Park

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN ended a run of five matches without a win at Teasdale Park on Saturday as two goals from the returning Dale Elgie secured three points against Thornaby.

Elgie, who had missed last week's defeat against West Allotment Celtic through suspension, scored either side of the break to put Peter Mulcaster's side in control, although they suffered a late scare when David Wells pulled a goal back for the hosts four minutes from time.

A happy Mulcaster said: "The overall performance was quite good. Towards the end after they scored it was nippy bum time but I think overall we deserved to win.

"Until we got the second goal my concern was Tow Law again. We were in total control of that game and all of sudden threw it away. But Grant [Hickman] and Dale [Elgie] came back into the side today and they are both massive for us."

With  Hickman, Elgie and Colin Anderson all returning to the starting XI, the Town boss again went with the same 3-5-2 formation that had worked well the previous week. The big news however was in what has become a problem position in recent weeks. With young goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson unavailable, winger Christian Holliday, recently re-signed from Willington, became the 10th different player to don the gloves for Town this season.

The hosts came into the match on a good run of only three defeats in 12 games and they started brightly. Former Town striker David Onions threatened early on while in-form Ged Livingstone, with 14 goals in 20 appearances this season, also came close.

But slowly Town grew into the match. Chris Burton was unlucky again when his effort came back off the crossbar for the second week in a row while Anderson and Gav Parkin also threatened.

However, the goal Mulcaster's side had been threatening finally arrived four minutes before the break and came from what is now becoming a familiar source. After failing to score in his first 14 appearances for Town this season, Elgie made it six in his last 14 with a fine strike from 20 yards that nestled nicely into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Thornaby came out at the start of the second half with all guns blazing, although Town's three-man back line of Hickman, Craig Perry and Andy Ramsbottom kept them at arms length and Holliday did not have a clear save to make.

Mulcaster's men may have lacked the same fluency going forward after the break but they were able to add a crucial second goal 20 minutes from time to take complete control. Like so many of Town goals in recent years, this one was created by the set-piece delivery of skipper Parkin, and Elgie made another well timed third man run to head home from 8 yards.

Game over. Or so it seemed. But Town rarely do things the easy way and with four minutes remaining Richard Walker's shot was flicked neatly past Holliday from close range by Wells.

Suddenly it was completely different game. Thornaby threw everything forward in a late attempt to grab an equalizer but Town would not be denied. Hickman threw his body on the line not once but twice in stoppage time as Town held on to finally give their travelling fans, who made the journey in large numbers, something to cheer.

Mulcaster said: "We defended well today. We got blocks in when it mattered. Any defence with Grant Hickman in it has a chance and I've got to say Andrew Ramsbottom was tremendous today as well. All round its pleasing."

Town now face bottom side Ryton & Crawcrook Albion at the Calvert Stadium on Wednesday evening looking for a first home win of 2014.

THORNABY - O'Rourke, Pearson, Burton(J), Bythway, Morrison, Wells, Wilson, Walker, Onions, Livingstone, Melvin. SUBS - Woodhouse, Winter, Rowbotham, Edwards.

TOWN - Holliday - Was well protected by his defence but showed good handling and distribution throughout. 8/10

Ramsbottom - Another superb display at the back. Won every challenge and header. 8/10

Hemingway - In a slightly unfamiliar wing-role, he adapted well and once again gave a strong, solid performance. 7/10

Perry - Played his part in what was a very solid defensive display. 7/10

Hickman - Back after missing the last three matches and it was like he had never been away. Simply superb. 9/10

Elgie - Has added goals to his midfield artistry and proved to be the key figure again. Man of the match. 9/10

Anderson - Not 100 per cent fit and it showed but was still a handful for the Thornaby defence who resorted to literally kicking him off the park in the end. 7/10

Parkin - Seems to be enjoying the new three-man midfield and once again played a captain's role. 8/10

Burton - It is just not quite happening for him in front of goal at the moment but his all round game was once again very impressive. Needs a goal though. 7/10

McLachlan - No one works harder for the team but like Burto, it is not happening for him in front of goal. Must have covered every blade of grass ten times over. 8/10

Butterworth - The deeper role seems to suit him better and he produced another all-action display in the middle of the park. 8/10

SUBS - Porritt - Replaced Hemingway in the second half and helped see the team over the line. 7/10

Dacombe - Came on for the injured Anderson at the end but it was too late for him to have any real influence. 7/10

Colman, Kokes - unused.

REFEREE - C. Gilbraith


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Exclusive Andy Ramsbottom interview

Another WAC in the face for Town

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

Highlights of this match are available here

NORTHALLETON TOWN slipped to a third consecutive league defeat on Saturday as bogie side West Allotment Celtic once again left the Calvert Stadium with all three points.

The South-Tynesiders had won on all six previous league visits to Northallerton and first half goals from Stephen Little and David Dormand put them on course for another. Despite a battling performance from Peter Mulcaster's side, Tony Lancaster added a late third meaning Aaron Ramsbottom's 84th minute free kick was no more than consolation for Town.

But Mulcaster was pleased with what he described as another good display from his side. He said: "I thought the team performance was good, I was pleased today. I brought the two Ramsbottoms in who did extremely well, and young Mike Lee came on in the second half and did very well. But overall it was a good performance and I think 3-1 flattered them."

The Town boss was forced into several changes with eight players missing for one reason or another. Having signed Andy and Aaron Ramsbottom from Darlington RA this week, both started; Andy as one of three central defenders and Aaron up front alongside Chris Burton.

With Dale Elgie serving a one match suspension, Martin Butterworth was dropped into a three man midfield alongside Darren Kokes and Gav Parkin, with Ritchie Dacombe starting wide on the left.

The new formation appeared to have worked in the early stages as a terrific effort from Burton inside ten minutes came back off the crossbar with goalkeeper Chris Bannan beaten, and had that gone in it may well have been a different story.

But that seems to be the way things are going for Town at the moment as promotion-chasing Celtic took full advantage to score twice in six minutes midway through the first half.

The opening goal arrived in the 26th minute. Marc Dummett's corner from the right led to confusion in the Town area and Little's header found its way into the net via a wicked deflection off Butterworth.

Mulcaster's side had barely recovered from that blow when the visitors scored again. This one was created with a neat ball in from right by Michael Bell, and Dormand guided a header into the far corner of the net.

With goals hard to come by in recent weeks, it was always going to be a tough task for Town now but they are nothing if not resilient. Burton came close again when he his initial effort was blocked before his follow-up was somehow kept out by the legs of Bannan as Town finished the first half on top.

The hosts took that improvement into the early stages of the second period and Burton was unlucky to see a lovely chip disallowed for what appeared to be a foul on Bannan that was seen only by referee Geoff Marr.

But Celtic are a talented side and with forward players of the class of Sean Reid, David Henderson and Dormand, they always posed a threat. And so it proved. With just 12 minutes remaining, Dormand drilled in a low cross from the right and winger Lancaster had the simple task of tapping-in at the far post.

Mulcaster immediately threw on talisman Colin Anderson, still struggling with a long-term Achilles injury, and it did not take him long to show exactly what Town have been missing. With five minutes to go, the 15-goal top scorer was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Little, and Aaron Ramsbottom marked his return to the club with a wonderful free kick that curled into the top corner of the net.

Suddenly Town were transformed. Driven on by Anderson, they felt they should have had a 88th minute penalty when Dummett, who had already been booked, appeared to handle inside the area, but Marr waved away the penalty appeals and it finished 3-1.

Mulcaster said: "We had eight players missing today, five of which would have played. That is not an excuse but it the way it has panned out at the moment. Hopefully next week we will have everybody back.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room is good and we will bounce back. I am happier today than I was last week anyway."

Town travel to in-form Thornaby next Saturday looking to end of winless run of five matches, their worst spell of the season.

TOWN - Hodgson - Not really troubled apart from the goals, although he did produce one fine save in the first half. 7/10

Ramsbottom (An) - A superb performance on his return to the club. Did not deserve to be on the losing side. Man of the match. 8/10

Hemingway - While results have been going against the team in recent weeks, Mark's performances have been a real plus. Outstanding once again. 8/10

Perry - Punished for his only two mistakes of the game but other than that was strong and solid throughout. 7/10

Butterworth - Looked far more comfortable in a deeper midfield role. 7/10

Parkin - Unlucky not to score with a long range effort and covered every blade of grass. 7/10

McLachlan - Some poor deliveries from the right spoilt what was otherwise a fine, hard-working display. 7/10

Kokes - Like Butterworth, looked happier in a deeper role as he saw far more of the ball then in recent weeks. 7/10

Ramsbottom (Aa) - A great free kick to cap a lively all-round performance on his return to the club. 7/10

Burton - Really unlucky with a great early effort that came back off the crossbar and also with a second half effort that was harshly ruled out. 8/10

Dacombe - His best game for the club. Worked tirelessly for the cause. 8/10

SUBS  - Lee - Promising debut for the youngster signed from Stokesley SC this week. 7/10

Anderson - Has been badly missed. His return to full fitness can not come quickly enough. 8/10

WEST ALLOTMENT CELTIC -  Bannan, Pendlebury, Dummett, Dunn, Stoneman, Little, Ball, Henderson, Dormand, Reid, Lancaster. SUBS - Douglas, Ball, Ford, Lee, Chapman.

REFEREE - G. Marr.


Mully talks...about WAC defeat


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gav Parkin interview

Exclusive Danny McLachlan interview

Final Graham Caygill interview

Slow start and lack of cutting edge costs Town

By Ricky Butler at Nissan Sports Complex

Highlights of this match are available here

A DREADFUL start cost an under-strength Northallerton Town at the Nissan Sports Complex on Saturday as early goals from Chris Winn and Paul Kane saw them slip to a second defeat in four days.

While the Nissan Note is built in the factory next to the stadium, it is a lack of pound notes that is hampering Town's progress. As injuries have hit the already thread-bare squad, Peter Mulcaster has tried unsuccessfully to bring in new recruits, especially in the problem forward areas.

Meanwhile, Washington, with crowds you can count on the fingers of one hand, have managed to bring in two of the best strikers in this division, and on the day that proved decisive.

Winn, who scored over 40 goals last season for Ryhope CW, was on hand to tap the hosts ahead inside two minutes and when Kane then made it 2-0 six minutes later, Mulcaster's side faced an uphill task. Town did produce some nice moments in the first half but when Winn added his second just before the break, it was all over.

Mulcaster said: "It's a reversal of the last game where we played well for 75 minutes and the last 15 we were woeful. We lost this game in the first eight minutes.

"We played some good football to be fair, and their goalkeeper has made a good double save, but up front we are woefully short of someone to stick the ball in the net."

The Town boss, who celebrates a year back in charge next week, was forced into changes in defence. With Grant Hickman still unavailable and James Howlett injured, Mark Hemingway was moved to centre half with Ritchie Dacombe coming in at left back.

Elsewhere, Michael Gunnell was out with the ankle injury sustained at Tow Law in midweek so Chris Burton, who had scored from the bench on Tuesday, replaced him on the left side of midfield. Meanwhile, with striker Graham Caygill due to sign a professional contract with Philippine side Loyota Sparks this weekend, Martin Butterworth partnered Darren Kokes in attack.

But playing into the strong breeze in the first half, Town could not have got off to a worse start. Just two minutes had elapsed when Washington skipper Michael Coughlan drilled in a low cross from the right and Winn was on hand to tap home from close range.

Things soon got even worse when just six minutes later the Mechanics doubled their advantage. Winn broke clear from halfway and rounded Town goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson but Craig Perry got back to make a fine goal-line clearance. However, the ball fell to Kane who showed great composure to slot in into the far corner of the net from a tight angle.

But Mulcaster's side showed great character as they looked to find a route back into the match. Playing some of the best football they have for some time, Town were unfortunate as Butterworth headed narrowly wide before only a superb double save from Washington goalkeeper Neal Atkinson kept the score at 2-0.

Kokes' cross from the right found Burton at the far post but Atkinson pushed out his close range effort before recovering quickly to deny Butterworth's follow-up.

However, Town comeback hopes were over three minutes before the break. Perry misjudged a long ball in the wind and Winn was left one-on-one with Hodgson. The Washington striker never looked like missing as he confidently clipped the ball over the Town goalkeeper to make it 3-0 at half time.

With the wind in their favour in the second half, Town needed an early goal if they were to have any chance of salvaging something from the match, and they thought they had done so seven minutes after the restart.

Parkin's corner from the right found the head of Dale Elgie and when his effort was scrambled clear, Butterworth was on hand to force the ball home from close range. Referee Mark McKitterick, however, had already blown for a foul on Atkinson that only he saw, and Town's chance had gone.

Mulcaster said: "We asked the linesman who said there was nothing wrong with the goal, but that's the way it was.

"We had the wind in the second half and we tried to use it to our advantage but we didn't do it very well. I'm not sure if we are consistent or inconsistent as it is two wins, two draws and now two defeats.

"We had to have a makeshift back four so I'm out this week trying to get some players signed on. We tried to sign Johnny Alexander from Marske and the little kid from Brandon who did well against us, but it was a no-go."

After a tough few weeks, Town finally have a free midweek before a home meeting with promotion-chasing West Allotment Celtic next Saturday.

WASHINGTON - Atkinson, Roberts, McGuiness, Croft, Paxton, Cassidy, Fairley, Coughlan, Kane, Winn, Southern. SUBS - Davison, Johnson, Wardle, Catchside, Oliver.

TOWN - Hodgson - Has settled in well after the move from Stokesley. Had no chance with the goals that beat him and made one or two good saves. 7/10

Porritt - Has developed into a consistent and hard-working right back. 7/10

Dacombe - Up against the tricky James Fairley, Ritchie stuck to the task well and showed some nice touches. 7/10

Hemingway - In an unfamiliar centre back role, Mark found it tough against two of the best strikers in the league but never shirked the responsibility. 7/10

Perry - Suffered due to the early uncertainty at the back but recovered well to show his class. 7/10

Elgie - Neat and tidy in the middle of the park again but unable to really stamp his mark on the match. 7/10

McLachlan - Unable to repeat his wonder-goal from the reverse fixture and was afforded very few opportunities. 7/10

Parkin - Once again the skipper was the stand out Town performer. Tried to rally the troops after the disappointing start and pulled all the strings in midfield. 8/10

Butterworth - Unlucky not to open his account when his second half effort was harshly disallowed, and came close on one or two other occasions. 7/10

Kokes - Seems to be struggling to find his best form at the moment but no one can question his work rate. 7/10

Burton - Looked uncomfortable out wide on the left but was only denied another goal by a great save from the Washington 'keeper. 7/10

SUBS - Stevens - Replaced Dacombe in an unfamiliar left back role but should feel pleased with his performance. 7/10

Colman - Replaced Burton and showed some neat touches. Could he be the man to replace Graham in attack? 7/10

REFEREE - M. McKitterick


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Mully talks...about the Washington defeat


Friday, 14 March 2014

Exclusive Emerson Butler interview

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Promotion over as late collpase sees Town beaten by Lawyers

By Ricky Butler at Ironworks Road

Highlights of this match are available here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN'S fading promotion hopes were finally brought to an end on Tuesday evening as a late collapse at Ironworks Road saw them come away from Tow Law empty-handed.

Peter Mulcaster's side had looked in control as substitute Chris Burton's wonderful strike had put them in front, but a penalty from Dan Wilson and a strike from Town nemesis Adam Pinkney quickly turned the match in the Lawyers favour. Then in the final minute, with Town desperately seeking an equaliser, Wilson sealed the points on the break.

Mulcaster could not hide his disappointment at the whistle. He said: "I am angry, I am disappointed, but at the end of the day we have lost 3-1.

"For 75 minutes we were in complete control of the game. They never bothered us all night. But then they get a penalty and from that moment there was only one winner. We just totally lost it."

Mulcaster was forced into two changes from Saturday's battling draw with Jarrow Roofing. Grant Hickman was unavailable so James Howlett, suspended at the weekend, returned to the back four. Meanwhile, in-form striker Graham Caygill was out injured so Darren Kokes partnered Martin Butterworth in an attack that has found goals hard to come by in recent weeks.

As has been the case over the last few matches, the first half was a tight, cagey affair. On a ground where they had not won in the league since 1997, Town started reasonably well but created just one or two half chances.

Kokes, Butterworth and Howlett all came close in the opening half an hour before Dale Elgie, who had scored on Saturday, had the ball in the net again - heading home Gav Parkin's left-wing cross. But the referee's assistant on the far side had already raised his flag for offside.

Mulcaster was forced into an early change when Michael Gunnell, again impressive down the left, hobbled off with an ankle injury so Burton was brought on to replace him. And what an impact the substitute made.

Fifteen minutes of the second half had elapsed when the former Thornaby man grabbed his second Town goal. Butterworth's flick was sublime but the finish was even better - Burton hitting a first time volley into the far corner of the net from 15 yards.

But from a position of almost complete control, Town somehow contrived to throw away the game. The turning point arrived just 12 minutes after the goal. Howlett's slip on the edge of the penalty area allowed Wilson a rare opportunity to get in behind the Town back line.

Craig Perry, who had not put a foot wrong up until that point, produced a clumsy challenge on the Lawyers front man and referee Andy Cook immediately pointed to the spot. Wilson himself got up to take the kick and just managed to squeeze the ball past Town goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson.

Mulcaster said: "Young Ryan went down and got to the ball with his left hand but spooned it into the net. If that hadn't gone in, you never know."

But things were about a whole lot worse. Pinkney, who had already scored four times against Town this season for Willington, proved to be their undoing again; beating Hodgson from 12 yards after a cross from Michael Hall had been headed down by Scott Thompson.

Mulcaster threw on Colin Anderson, absent from the previous two matches with an Achilles injury and still nowhere near 100% fit, and he nearly created the equaliser 12 minutes from time. The winger's fine cross from the right was perfect for the late-arriving Elgie and his header was destined for the top right-hand corner of the net had it not been for a remarkable save from Lawyers goalkeeper Joe Longstaff.

It did not appear to be Town's night when just four minutes later Longstaff pushed out a powerful drive from Anderson and Danny McLachlan was unable to force home the rebound from a tight angle.

That proved to be Town's last chance of salvaging something from what was fast becoming a frustrating evening. Pinkney was denied a second by a great save from Hodgson but Tow Law did add a third in stoppage time. Wilson's shot appeared to lack the necessary power to beat the Town goalkeeper but he completely misjudged the ball and it rolled agonisingly over the line.

"We were absolutely coasting," said Mulcaster. "I can't believe that it just changed. It was like someone had just turned the lights out and we were in the dark.

"Let's not kid ourselves. The top three will come from the top four teams in the league. We can't compete with them and I've made no secret of that fact. I said at the start of the season, my aim was to finish sixth or above and that is still the aim."

Town are back on the road again on Saturday with a trip to Washington.

TOW LAW TOWN  - Longstaff, Ryder, Hall, Hendserson, Kelly, Ord, Wilson(A), Pinkney, Lee, Wilson(D), Parkinson. SUBS - Brassell, Thompson, McVickers.

TOWN - Hodgson - Will be disappointed with the third goal but was unlucky with the penalty and made a great late save to deny Pinkney. 7/10

Porritt - The birthday boy was unable to celebrate as he would have liked after a disappointing final 20 minutes. 7/10

Hemingway - Another solid if unspectacular performance from the left back. 7/10

Perry - Was possibly Town's best player for 70 minutes but then gave away the penalty and looked shaky thereafter. 7/10

Howlett - Back from suspension and it was like he had never been away until he suffered along with his team mates in the final quarter of an hour. 7/10

Elgie - Has started to add a real goal threat with his well-timed third-man runs into the area. Was unfortunate not to score with two fine headers and showed great composure in the middle of the park. Man of match. 8/10

McLachlan - Came close to grabbing a late equaliser which his hard-working display would have merited. 7/10

Parkin - Once again gave a captain's display in the middle of the park. 8/10

Kokes - Back in the starting XI in his preferred position but was unable to break his goal drought. 7/10

Butterworth - Created the goal with a wonderful touch and was Town's brightest forward player. 8/10

Gunnell - Impressed down the left again but was forced off before the break with an ankle injury. 7/10

SUBS - Burton - Took his goal really well and worked hard after replacing the unfortunate Gunnell. 7/10

Anderson -  Still not fit but almost dragged Town level with two typical pieces of quality. 8/10

UNUSED - Stevens, Colman.



Peter Mulcaster post Tow Law defeat


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Exclusive Dale Elgie interview

Elgie scores and sees red in Jarrow draw

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

Highlights of this match are available here

DALE ELGIE enjoyed an afternoon of mixed fortunes as Northallerton Town were held by title-chasing Jarrow Roofing in a stalemate at the Calvert Stadium on Saturday.

Elgie's superbly taken 72nd minute goal looked to have given Peter Mulcaster's side a vital three points in their late push for promotion. But after Liam McBryde's acrobatic equaliser seven minutes later, Elgie was shown a second yellow card by referee Stuart Kyle for kicking the ball away and Town were forced to hang on.

But Mulcaster was delighted with what he described as another very good display from his side. He said: "It was a great performance again. The work rate was tremendous and the attitude of the players was absolutely brilliant.

"It was not too dissimilar to Whitehaven. I thought we were the better side in the first half and they shaded the second. But I am very, very pleased."

The boss named yet another new goalkeeper in his starting XI as Ryan Hodgson made his debut following a move from Stokesley this week. Elsewhere, Elgie was back in midfield after missing the midweek trip to Whitehaven, Craig Perry replaced the suspended James Howlett in the back four, while Martin Butterworth partnered Graham Caygill in attack.

The big news however, saw Michael Gunnell make his first start for the club on the left-hand side of midfield after impressing in a midweek cameo, meaning Darren Kokes and Richie Dacombe dropping down to the bench.

Town started well and dominated the early exchanges although they rarely threatened the Jarrow goal. Giant Roofing centre-half Dan Kirkup has to be one of the biggest, most intimidating defenders in the league so Caygill and Butterworth were faced with the near-impossible task of negotiating a route past him.

Mulcaster's side were trying to play some good football on the difficult surface but the nearest they came to a breakthrough was an early effort from Caygill that flew just wide of the top right-hand corner.

Meanwhile at the other end, the much-lauded Jarrow attack of Stu Nicholson, Andy Appleby and McBryde - with almost 60 goals between them this season - never got a sniff as Town once again defended with great spirit and determination, seeking a third clean sheet in a row.

The second half saw the visitors gain the upper hand and slowly the chances arrived. Hodgson marked his debut with a good save to deny McBryde, while Nicholson and Appleby also came close.

But it was Town who grabbed the lead against the run of play, 18 minutes from time. Gav Parkin fed Gunnell who had popped up on the right. His low cross into the penalty area with his weaker right foot was looking for Caygill but the ball fell kindly for Elgie to sweep into the net from 12 yards - his 5th goal of the season.

But Jarrow were not about surrender their nine-match unbeaten run without a fight and they drew level seven minutes later. Corey Barnes whipped the ball in from right and McBryde twisted acrobatically in the air to smash an unstoppable scissors kick into the top left-hand corner from eight yards - a goal of the highest quality from one of the best finishers in the league.

The game really opened up after that but Town's chances of snatching victory looked over five minutes from time. Elgie, who had already been booked for a foul on Kirkup, was adjudged by referee Kyle to have kicked the ball away and produced a second yellow for the unfortunate Town man. This, lets not forget, the same official who dismissed three players at Willington the last time he took charge of a Town match.

The Roofers now sensed victory and they they threw Kirkup up front to create some mayhem but the ten-men almost snatched the points at the death. Hickman found himself in the right wing position and his superb ball across the six yard box was only just a fraction too far in front of the late-arriving Caygill and it finished 1-1.

"We are looking much more solid now but we are not scoring," said Mulcaster. "It's a bit of a strain on the rest of the team because when you play well you've got to score goals.

"At the beginning of the season we were scoring for fun but now we are not and it is a little bit of a worry, but we'll try to address that."

Next up is a trip to Tow Law Town on Tuesday evening followed by another away match at Washington next Saturday.

TOWN - Hodgson - Looked solid on his debut and made one great save in the second half. 8/10

Porritt - In what has now become a very settled back four, Pozza is looking comfortable and assured. Offers a great delivery from the right too. 8/10

Hemingway - Like Pozza has made the full back position his own and has been performing consistently well in recent weeks. 8/10

Hickman - Came up against the giant Kirkup on more than one occasion and refused to be intimidated. Another assured display. 8/10

Perry - In for the suspended Howlett and slotted smoothly into the defensive unit. Composed in possession and reads the game really well. 8/10

Elgie - Spoiled what had been an excellent midfield display with a late red card. Took his goal extremely well. 7/10

McLachlan - May not feel comfortable on the right but once again worked hard for the team. 7/10

Parkin - Magnificent effort from the skipper. Constantly drove the team forward and ensured they held on for a point at the end. Man of the match. 9/10

Caygill - Not to be his day in front of goal but worked his socks off once again. 7/10

Butterworth - Like Caygill, did not stop working but had a difficult job getting any change from Kirkup. 7/10

Gunnell - A great full debut for the club. Created the goal with his weaker right foot and showed composure in possession. 8/10

SUBS - Kokes - Come on for Gunnell in the closing stages but too late to really make an impression. 7/10

UNUSED - Stevens, Dacombe, Colman, Anderson.

JARROW ROOFING - Hunter, Barnes, Heads, Dixon, Myers, Kirkup, Nicholson, Gardiner, McBryde, Appleby, Graham. SUBS - Martin, Young, Davison.

REFEREE - S. Kyle.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Latest from the boss


Thursday, 6 March 2014

A case for the defence

IT is easy to recall that 6-5 thriller or the 3-3 draw that had you on the edge of your seat. But football is about more than just goals. The art of good defending can be just as exciting and just as important.

With that in mind there was certainly much to admire in Northallerton Town's 0-0 draw at Whitehaven on Tuesday night. Many of the fans who had made the 200-mile round trip from North Yorkshire may have gone home disappointed not to have a witnessed a goal but there was nothing sterile about a game dominated by good defending.

The Whitehaven central defensive partnership of Kevin Law and James Parker looked as good as any in the Northern League this season. The fact they restricted the Town attack to just two chances over the 90 minutes shows just how solid they were.

Both chances fell to the one man Town would have wanted them to. Graham Caygill had scored three times in the previous two matches, including a superb winner at Brandon on Saturday, but he was unable to add to that tally on this occasion.

The first chance arrived midway through the opening period. It was the best Town move of the night as Martin Butterworth fed Caygill on the edge of the penalty area and for a split second he seemed to have finally escaped the shackles placed on him so expertly by Parker.

At first glance it appeared to be a weak finish that lacked conviction and goalkeeper Ian Studholme was able to save with ease. But that would be doing Parker a disservice. The Whitehaven man recovered quickly and made it difficult for Caygill; a superb piece of defending.

The only other chance afforded to Town came in stoppage time. Perhaps the Whitehaven defence switched off momentarily as they were caught out by a long ball over the top from Butterworth, and suddenly Caygill was one-on-one with Studholme.

But with the visiting fans ready to celebrate what would have been a dramatic late winner, the Town striker rolled his shot agonisingly into the side netting; the result, perhaps, of the lack of opportunities throughout the night.

It was not just the Whitehaven defence that shone though. Grant Hickman and James Howlett have developed a superb understanding in recent weeks and a third clean sheet in the last six league matches that they have played together underlined the strength of their blossoming partnership.

Howlett's pace compliments perfectly with the more physical attributes of Hickman, and with both dominant in the air, it has brought a new solidity to the Town defence.

Meanwhile, behind them was yet another new goalkeeper; the fourth to play between the sticks in the last six matches. And Steven Walker, on loan from Richmond Town, could not have asked for a better debut.

He was not called upon very often in the first half, although he showed his class with a fine save with his legs to deny Gregg Quayle. But it was after the break that Walker really came into his own. A terrific double save from Fergus Jeans and Barry Armfield, again with his legs, was followed up by a superb one-handed stop to deny Armfield again; a match winning save of the highest order.

So while there were no goals to warm the hearts and hands of the fans at Whitehaven on Tuesday evening, there was still plenty to admire. 0-0 draws may not always live long in the memory but there is much to be said for the art of good defending.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Exclusive Steven Walker interview

Exclusive Danny McLachlan interview

Exclusive Steven Walker interview

Defences on top in Whitehaven stalemate

By Ricky Butler at the Focus Scaffolding Sports Complex

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN made their longest away trip of the season on Tuesday evening and came back with a hard earned point from what was a keenly contested encounter by the Irish Sea.

No one relishes a midweek trip to Cumbria but Town rolled up their sleeves and certainly deserved a share of the points against a Whitehaven side who belied their lowly league position.

In a game dominated by defences, Peter Mulcaster's side just shaded a tight first half but were grateful to debutant goalkeeper Steven Walker, on loan from Richmond Town, in the second as Whitehaven had the better of things.

But Town could have nicked it at the death when in-form striker Graham Caygill rolled an effort narrowly wide deep into stoppage time.

Mulcaster said: "It was a game of two halves. The first half, we were the better side but in the second half they were the better side. But it was a very good performance.

"I am over the moon with the lads because the work rate was unbelievable. We had two or three chances in the first half but Stevie (Walker), who was making his debut, made three great saves in the second half. A draw was a fair result and I am over the moon with the performance."

Mulcaster was forced into three changes from Saturday's hard-fought 1-0 win at Brandon. Walker was brought in on loan from Richmond to take on the problem goalkeeping position, while Colin Anderson and Dale Elgie were both unavailable due to injury and work commitments respectively.

So Martin Butterworth was pushed back into midfield, Darren Kokes partnered Caygill up front, while Danny McLachlan started on the right, and Ritchie Dacombe on the left. Meanwhile, Academy winger Michael Gunnell was included in the squad for the first time.

But despite the changes and the long journey, Town started well. Twice Gav Parkin came close to opening the scoring in the first half - firing over from 20 yards before being denied by Whitehaven goalkeeper Ian Studholme.

At the other end Walker marked his debut with a great save with his legs to deny the lively Gregg Quayle before Studholme did even better to keep out a Caygill effort just before the break.

The second half saw the hosts begin to get on top and Walker really came in to his own. He made a great double save to deny Fergus Jeans and Barry Armfield before turning an effort from Armfield over the top with a strong right hand.

Town created very little, even after Gunnell and Mikey Stevens had replaced Kokes and Dacombe, but they nearly snatched all three points in stoppage time. A long ball over the top by Butterworth sent Caygill clear but with just Studholme to beat he rolled his effort agonisingly into the side netting and it finished in a rare goalless draw.

"Whitehaven defended quite well but we maybe lacked a little sharpness up front," said Mulcaster. "It is not a case of two points dropped, it is a case of a good point won.

"The back four tonight were absolutely tremendous. Young [James] Howlett was unbelievable. Him and Grant [Hickman] have formed a great partnership together. We are just not scoring like we were and that is the problem now."

Next up for Town is the visit of title-chasing Jarrow Roofing on Saturday.

WHITEHAVEN - Studholme, Tudman, Hunter, Holliday (M), Parker, Law, Donald, Jeans, Armfield, Tymon, Quale. SUBS - Wooff, Pears, Holliday (J), Robson, Kennedy.

TOWN - Walker - A debut to remember. Made three great saves and kept a clean sheet. Man of the match. 9/10

Porritt - Another solid game at right back. 8/10

Hemingway - Has really settled into the side in recent weeks and was once again outstanding. 8/10

Hickman - His partnership with Howlett is fast becoming the best in the league. 8/10

Howlett - Just keeps getting better and better. 8/10

Butterworth -Looked far more comfortable in a midfield role and was at the heart of all the best Town moves. 7/10

McLachlan - May not enjoying playing on the right but once again put in a great shift. Was certainly of the brighter attacking players on a difficult for night for attacking players. 8/10

Parkin - Was determined that the team would not to come home empty-handed and he did as much as anyone to ensure they did not. 8/10

Kokes - Was kept quiet by a strong Whitehaven defence although he never stopped working. 7/10

Caygill - So nearly the match winner again but it just was just not meant to be for him this time. 7/10

Dacombe - Gave the side a balance down the left although faded in the second half. 7/10

SUBS - Stevens - Caused the Whitehaven a new problem with his pace after replacing Kokes. 7/10

Gunnell - A lively debut for the Academy youngster. 7/10

REFEREE: A. Charters


Exclusive Peter Mulcaster interview


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Exclusive Steven Hubery interview

Exclusive Graham Caygill interview

Exclusive Gav Parkin interview

Goalden Graham - Caygill strikes again

By Ricky Butler at Welfare Park

Highlights of this match are available here

A SUPERB second half goal from Graham Caygill on Saturday, his 3rd of the week, gave Town a very hard fought but important victory at Brandon United.

There had been very little to choose between the sides for much of this scrappy encounter played on a difficult pitch, but Caygill scored a goal of real quality 20 minutes from time to give Peter Mulcaster's side a second away win in five days.

Mulcaster said: "Brandon had a good result in midweek against North Shields so they were cock-a-hoop and they made us work hard. We didn't really get out of second gear which we are disappointed with really. But a win's a win."

The Town boss was able to name the same side that had played so well at Birtley in midweek, giving a second start to on-loan Horden goalkeeper Steven Hubery, while Caygill was looking to continue his good goalscoring form.

But Town were slow out of the blocks in a very low-key first half. In fact the most interesting aspect of the opening 45 minutes was a freak hail-storm that took everyone by surprise.

Neither side was able to fashion many chances and in fact the only one of real note did not arrived until eight minutes before the break when Colin Anderson's shot was easily saved by Brandon goalkeeper Chris Sawyer.

But Town began to turn the screw after the restart. Grant Hickman saw a header tipped over the bar by Sawyer before skipper Gav Parkin and Anderson again both came close.

And the pressure finally paid off 20 minutes from time. Dale Elgie played a lovely ball through to Caygill in the inside right position and he held off defender Mark Ferguson before chipping the ball over the stranded Sawyer from 20 yards.

But instead of pushing on from there, Town seemed happy to sit back and invite Brandon onto them. With the lively Andrew Blackburn looking dangerous down the right, the hosts almost salvaged a point in the closing stages.

Substitute Mark Bischuk perhaps should have done better with a close range effort flew wide of the right-hand upright, while Hubery then produced a great save to touch a Blackburn effort onto the post as Town held on.

Mulcaster said: "Graham [Caygill] scored a great goal again but we were not clinical enough. We had two bad results which we know about, and now we have had two good results. The performances could have been better but its results that matter.

It has been a very, very good week for us and we'll see what happens on Tuesday night [at Whitehaven]."

BRANDON UNITED - Sawyer, Wilson (S), Ferguson, Wilson (A), Hilder, Davidson, Harrison (D), Cocks, Harrison (J), Heckles, Blackburn. SUBS -Peterkin, Hird, Watson, Briscuk, Paylor.

TOWN - Huberry - Another solid display from the on-loan goalkeeper. Made a great late save and can be delighted with his contribution over the last two games. 8/10

Porritt - Played a full part in what was a very strong defensive display. 7/10

Hemingway - Found the tricky Blackburn a real handful but stuck to the task well. 7/10

Howlett - Hardly put a foot wrong. Again. Playing as well as anyone in a Town shirt at the moment. 8/10

Hickman - Strong at the back as usual and unlucky not to score with a second half header. 8/10

Elgie - Found the bobbly pitch difficult at times but created the goal with a beautiful pass. 7/10

Anderson - A quiet game for the enigmatic winger. Came close on a couple of occasions but nowhere near his best. 7/10

Parkin - Drove the team on looking for the breakthrough and must have covered every blade of grass. 8/10

Butterworth - Linked well with Caygill and worked hard but the ball is just not falling for him since his return to the club. 7/10

Caygill - In such a tight encounter his moment of magic proved decisive. Man of the match. 9/10

Kokes - Put in a good shift down the left even if it is not a position that comes naturally to him. 7/10

SUBS - McLachlan - Replaced Anderson down the right but did not have enough time to really make an impact. 6/10

Burton - Another late introduction, although he twice came close to sealing the points in the closing stages. 6/10

REFEREE - K. Beckett


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mully talks