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


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