Sunday, 27 April 2014

Exclusive Gav Parkin interview

Final day disappoinment as Town slip up at Norton

By Ricky Butler at Station Road

Highlights of this match are available here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN ended an up and down season with defeat at ten-man Norton & Stockton on Saturday to finish a disappointing seventh in the table.

Peter Mulcaster's side needed only a point to guarantee a second successive sixth place finish but despite the second half dismissal of Norton defender Michael Joseph, goals from Nicky Martin and Town old boy Marcus Laing saw the hosts finish sixth instead.

Colin Anderson did give the travelling Town fans something to cheer on the final day with his 20th goal of the season two minutes from time, but it came too late to prevent a 14th league defeat of the season.

In the absence of Mulcaster, his son Martin took charge of team affairs and he was pleased with the commitment of the players if not the result. He said: "I thought we battled very well, I thought we competed very well but if we're honest, we didn't we play particularly well.

"It's disappointing. I asked the lads this afternoon to put 110% effort, commitment and work in and I can't criticise them because I think they did that. Everyone in there is disappointed because we'd like to have finished sixth but it's unfortunate that we haven't done that."

Mulcaster's side showed two changes to the team that had drawn with Darlington RA last time out. James Howlett was missing so Craig Perry returned to the back three, while Dale Elgie replaced Michael Gunnell in midfield.

The two sides began the day level on points after 41 games and it was easy to see why. There was nothing to choose between them for most of the first half, although Town probably just shaded what few chances there were.

Elgie headed just wide of goalkeeper David Knight's left-hand post before Andrew Porritt perhaps ought to have done better when Elgie found him in space inside the penalty area.

Norton had their moments too as Town goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson produced a fine save to deny ex-Town striker Gary Mitchell, while Laing headed over the top.

Town had to reorganise midway through the first half when Martin Butterworth hobbled off with a dead leg - Darren Kokes replacing him in midfield - but in what has became a familiar tale in recent matches, Mulcaster's side were unable to find the breakthrough in a goalless first half.

But, just like at Heaton Stannington earlier this month, Town found themselves behind with a minute of the restart. Referee Kevin McKitterick may well have awarded Norton a penalty after a cross from Mitchell appeared to strike Perry on the arm, but the loose ball fell kindly to Martin who fired past Hodgson from 15 yards - his 25th goal of the season.

Mulcaster's men battled hard to find the all-important equaliser and things appeared to be going their way midway through the second half when Joseph pulled back Aaron Ramsbottom right on the edge of the penalty area. McKitterick had little option other than to produce a straight red card for the Norton defender for a professional foul and the hosts had more than 25 minutes to hold out with ten men.

But rather than take advantage of the extra man, Town found themselves 2-0 behind just four minutes later. A perfectly flighted free kick from the right by Michael Jameson found the head of Laing and the former Town midfielder sent the ball past Hodgson from 10 yards.

Town now had a mountain to climb and Mulcaster immediately threw defender Grant Hickman up front in a switch to a more attacking 3-4-3 formation. It almost paid dividends as Knight produced a world class save to deny Anderson before Town did finally get the goal they deserved two minutes from time.

A corner from Gav Parkin was only half cleared and when substitute Mark Hemingway recycled the ball back into the danger zone, Anderson smashed a volley past Knight from 8 yards - his 20th goal of an impressive season.

Suddenly a dramatic comeback looked on the cards as Town threw everything forward looking for the goal that would have sealed sixth place. Even goalkeeper Hodgson came up for a corner in one last desperate attempt to salvage a point but Norton, who had defended solidly throughout the game, held on for the points.

Mulcaster said: "We had the chances at the end but it was one of those where the ball just wouldn't go in. Everyone is disappointed but I can't fault the commitment, the effort that the lads put in today.

"It's games like the Alnwick's and Stokesley's where we have dropped points where we shouldn't have dropped points which is why we're in the position that we're in. But seventh. You've got to be positive and look forward. Hopefully next season we will push on."

So a season that promised much has ended in disappointment. 11 points less than last year have been won, 16 goals less scored. In many ways this game summed up much of the campaign. Plenty of hard work and endeavour but perhaps not enough quality in the final third when it really mattered.

But seventh place is not a disaster by any means and it is certainly something to build on for next season. If this squad can stay together, and with the addition of 2-3 new signings, then perhaps this time next year Town could have something to celebrate.

NORTON & STOCKTON - Knight, Andrews, Bell, Joseph, Mulligan, Laing, Seaton, Jameson, Mitchell, Martin, Charlton. SUBS - Farrington, Campbell, Hawkes.

TOWN - Hodgson - One of the signings of the season. An outstanding young goalkeeper who was once again assured throughout. 8/10

Ramsbottom (An) - Another great late-season signing. Has hardly made a mistake since re-signing in March was again strong and solid at the back. 8/10

Perry - Ended the match with another lump on his head, such is his commitment to the cause. 7/10

Hickman - Is there a better defender in the league? Showed he is not a bad striker either with a late cameo which almost helped bring the equaliser. 8/10

Porritt - Has finished the season in fine form. This was perhaps not his greatest game but he worked hard and was steady throughout. Had one or two chances to break his goal duck for the season. 7/10

Elgie - A great first season with the club. Returned to the side after missing the RA match but was unable to provide the goal-scoring threat that he has done in recent weeks. 7/10

Anderson - Was quiet by his high standards but was still a threat throughout and notched his 20th goal of the season - another superb finish. 7/10

Parkin - Popped up in a few more advanced positions than usual but could not end his five-month wait for a goal. 7/10

Butterworth - Limped off with a dead leg early on. Not the finale to the season he would have been hoping for. 7/10

Ramsbottom (Aa) - Always looked lively up front but was unable to find the goal that would have brought a much-needed point. 7/10

McLachlan - Drifted in and out of the game but produced some quality deliveries from wide areas at times. 7/10

SUBS - Kokes - Replaced Butterworth in the first half but struggled to find his best form. 7/10

Hemingway - Unfortunate to be only playing a bit part in recent weeks as his early performances were outstanding. Replaced Aaron Ramsbottom in the late tactical switch and helped created the goal. 7/10

UNUSED - Colman.

REFEREE - K. McKitterick


Mully Junior talks...

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Exclusive Grant Hickman interview

Ton up for Town but RA leave with a point

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

A FIRST half header from Grant Hickman on Good Friday was only enough to bring Town a point from their final home match of the season.

In front of a season's best crowd of 223, visitors Darlington RA led with a wonder-strike from Adam Sakr inside 90 seconds. But Peter Mulcaster's side hit back as Hickman rose to head home a Gav Parkin corner seven minutes later, Town's 100th goal of the season in all competitions, and that was the way it finished.

Mulcaster, however, was disappointed that his team could not produce a better performance for the bumper Easter crowd. He said: "I was a bit disappointed we didn't put on a better show with the great support we had today but I think at the end a draw was a fair result. I thought they had more play than us but we had quite a few chances in the last 20 minutes.

"Grant hasn't scored for a while so it was an important goal for us. We huffed and puffed at times and got the ball down and played very few times, and I thought [RA] played well I've got to say. But you've got to put your chances away, that's what it's all about."

The Town boss made two changes from the side that had won 2-0 at Willington the previous week. Dale Elgie was absent so Andrew Porritt returned in midfield, while Colin Anderson was back in attack looking for his 20th goal of the season. Darren Kokes dropped down to the bench.

On a day when a selection of the Town fans completed a 20-mile sponsored walk from the RA's Brinkburn Road ground to the Calvert Stadium, raising over £1,000 for the club, the team got off to the worst possible start, conceding inside two minutes.

The ball sat up nicely for former Willington striker Sakr, 25 yards out, but it still took some finishing, and finish it he did with a superb dipping volley that gave Ryan Hodgson no chance.

Sakr came close to a second soon after with a shot that flew wide, but that was the cue for Town to finally settle.

They were level after eight minutes with what was their first meaningful attack. The Ramsbottom brothers, two of several players playing against former colleagues, combined as Andy's cross from the right found Aaron who's effort was deflected wide for a corner.

In a combination that had worked so well for Town earlier in the season but had not bore fruit since November, Parkin's delivery found the head of Hickman who planted the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net - the big defender's 8th goal of the season.

Town perhaps had the better of it until the break as Parkin headed narrowly wide before Anderson somehow failed to covert a cross from Aaron Ramsbottom. Meanwhile at the other end, Hodgson had to be alert to keep out an effort from the dangerous Sakr.

Town had to reorganise early in the second half when first James Howlett and then Parkin limped off and the RA enjoyed far more possession, trying to utilise the pace of Sakr and strike-partner Mark Sims. But it was Mulcaster's men that carved out the better opportunities.

Aaron Ramsbottom would have loved to have scored against his former club and he came close on the hour - firing across the face of the goal after a mix up in the RA defence.

Ramsbottom then created the best chance of all with a cross from the left that found the head of Anderson and substitute Christian Holliday nodded against the base of the post from close range. Anderson himself was then denied by Matt Calvert in the RA goal.

Martin Butterworth, another looking to shine against his former club, thought he had won it when he chipped Calvert six minutes from time, but his celebrations were cut short by the assistant's offside flag; it looked a tight call.

So in the end this local derby finished with honours even and the point was enough to move Town into the top six on goal difference ahead of Norton and Stockton, who they meet in a final day shoot-out next Saturday.

"Realistically a draw would be enough," said Mulcaster. "But the team to watch now are Whickham. They have a couple of games in hand and could draw level with us, but if we win [next week] that will be enough."

With just one defeat from their last six matches, Town can certainly travel to Norton in good spirits as they look to finish the season in style.

TOWN - Hodgson - A fairly quiet night but once again demonstrated assured handling and produced a couple of good saves. 8/10

Ramsbottom (An) - Got forward well at times and was calm and assured at the back. The RA must be gutted to have lost him. 8/10

Howlett - Was having a very steady game until he was forced off in the second half with a nasty facial injury. Not the way he would have wanted his first match against his former club to end. 7/10

Hickman - Ended his five month goal drought in style although it was has been his work at the other end that has been capturing all the headlines. Another faultless display. Man of the match. 9/10

Butterworth - Unlucky to see his late effort ruled out for offside and another saved in the closing stages. Looked up for it against his former club. 8/10

Parkin - Limped off with an ankle injury just after the break and it will be a race against time for him to be fit for the last match. Superb delivery for the goal and almost scored himself with a rare header. 7/10

McLachlan - Unable to add to his recent goal-scoring exploits but once again worked hard down the right. 7/10

Porritt - Back in the side after missing the match at Willington and produced another all-action midfield display. 8/10

Anderson - Not his night in front of goal and was kept quiet by the RA back line, although one piece of magic almost won it at the end. 7/10

Ramsbottom (Aa) - No one wanted a goal more than him and he came close on several occasions. A constant threat. 8/10

Gunnell - Unable to really get into the game although he put in a good shift for the team before being replaced in the second half. 7/10

SUBS - Hemingway - Replaced the injured Howlett and slotted in seamlessly at the back. 7/10

Perry - Came on in a deep laying midfield role after Parkin's departure and added a calmness to proceedings. 7/10

Holliday - Came close to grabbing a late winner with a header that hit the post but was not really on long enough to make an impression. 7/10

UNUSED - Kokes, Colman, Stevens.

DARLINGTON RA - Calvert, Read, Muir, Whensley, Mitchell, Grainger, New, Webster, Sims, Sakr, Hanratty. SUBS - Johnson, Morrow, Upton, Dow, Allison.

REFEREE - M. Bunting.


Friday, 18 April 2014


Mully talks...about the draw with Darlington RA

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Exclusive Danny Mclachlan interview

Exclusive Aaron Ramsbottom interview

No drama this time as Town win at Willington

By Ricky Butler at Hall Lane

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

GOALS either side of the break from Danny McLachlan and Aaron Ramsbottom on Saturday secured a fourth win in five matches for a resurgent Northallerton Town at Willington.

McLachlan, who was sent off on his last visit here in September, headed home a Ramsbottom cross in the final minute of the first half before the two combined again for Ramsbottom to round goalkeeper David Moffatt and double the Town lead soon after the restart.

But a rather low-key encounter lacked any of the drama of their two previous meetings this season, which had seen 13 goals and three red cards, and manager Peter Mulcaster was just relived to come away with the points.

He said: "I think the best part of the game was the final whistle. It was a poor game to watch. The lads weren't happy with the way they played. We hardly strung any passes together but we won and that is the most important thing."

Mulcaster's team plans were ripped apart before kick off when Christian Holliday, who had scored twice in the midweek victory over South Shields, was stuck in traffic and had to replaced in attack by Darren Kokes. With top scorer Colin Anderson also unavailable, it meant a new-look front line as Ramsbottom was recalled, while Martin Butterworth replaced the absent Andrew Porritt in midfield.

After the immaculately observed minutes silence in tribute to the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough 25 years ago this week, and against a Willington side who came into the match on the back of a five match unbeaten run, Town started well. Twice Grant Hickman came close while Butterworth, Dale Elgie and Gav Parkin all threatened.

But a disjointed first half looked to heading towards a goalless conclusion when Town grabbed a deserved lead with the final kick of the half. Ramsbottom beat the offside trap and his cross from the left was perfect for McLachlan to nod home from close range - his 10th goal of the season.

Missing players of the calibre of Adam Pinkney, Corey Nicholson and Adam Sakr, Willington looked a pale shadow of the side that had thrilled us all earlier in the season, but they did look far more dangerous at the start of the second half. Ryan Hodgson was forced into a fine save to deny Jason White while Liam Whitworth fired high and wide. But it was Town who doubled their lead 11 minutes after the restart.

McLachlan turned provider this time; winning the ball on the edge of the penalty area before feeding Ramsbottom with a clever flick, and the striker rounded Moffatt before slotting home his second goal since re-signing from Darlington RA last month.

Willington enjoyed far more possession after that but another solid defensive performance from Town kept them at bay and it finished 2-0. Mulcaster's side now need four points from their final two matches to secure a sixth place finish.

After a final home match of the season on Friday evening against neighbours Darlington RA, they face a final day showdown at Norton & Stockton Ancients, who currently sit sixth, one point ahead of Town but with just that one match remaining.

WILLINGTON - Moffatt, Goodey, Hillary, Lazonby, Weston, Cairns, Lee, Seymour, White, Cumby, Whitworth. SUBS - Patton, Clarey, Price, Milner.

TOWN - Hodgson - Did not have a great deal to do but was solid throughout. Made good saves in each half which proved crucial in the end. 8/10

Ramsbottom (An) - Limped off in the second half but had another steady game at the back. 7/10

Howlett - Has settled smoothly back into the side since returning from injury last week. 7/10

Hickman - Has been outstanding in recent weeks and was faultless once again. Won everything in the air and was unlucky not to add a goal of two to his tally. Man of the match. 9/10

Butterworth - Back from illness and worked hard in the middle of the park. 7/10

Elgie - In a midfield lacking its usual fluency, he failed to have his usual influence of proceedings. 7/10

McLachlan - One goal and one assist. Should be pleased with his day's work. 9/10

Parkin - Not his greatest game but did not stop working. Led by example. 7/10

Ramsbottom - Lively throughout. Played an important part in the opener and then took the second really well. 8/10

Kokes - A last minute replacement for Holliday and worked hard up front. 7/10

Gunnell - Another impressive display down the left. 8/10

SUBS - Hemingway - Replaced Gunnell and settled in quickly at left back. 7/10

Perry - Came on for Ramsbottom in an unfamiliar right back role and was cool and calm on the ball. 7/10

Holliday - Would have started had he not been stuck in traffic and found it hard to get into the match after replacing Elgie in the closing stages. 7/10

REFEREE - M. Hedley


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mully talks...about the win at Willington


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Col Anderson post South Shields interview

Exclusive Ryan Hodgson interview

Bisto is different gravy as Town hit Shields for four

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

TWO GOALS each from the new-look strike force of Colin Anderson and Christian Holliday on Wednesday evening gave Northallerton Town a third win in four games in what proved to be a comfortable victory over South Shields.

Anderson opened the scoring midway through the first half with a late contender for Goal of the Season, while Holliday, known as Bisto, doubled the lead before the break.

Holliday then sealed the points nine minutes into the second half, before Anderson put the cap on a fine team performance on the hour with his 19th goal of an impressive season.

With goals hard to come by in recent weeks, manager Peter Mulcaster was delighted with his new-look attack. He said: "The biggest difference tonight was that we had two lads up front who were scoring. It gives everybody confidence. You think you're going to get something out the game.

"[South Shields] are always a difficult team to play against because they are direct. For the first ten minutes or so we were all over the place, they were forcing the game. But then we broke away and scored and after that we settled down.

"It was one of our best performances for a few weeks so I am very, very pleased."

Following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Heaton Stannington, Mulcaster was forced into three changes. Anderson returned up front following a hamstring injury and was partnered by Holliday in a new-look forward line, while Michael Gunnell was back in the left wing back position.

Against a big and aggressive Mariners side, Town were slow out of the blocks but they were given the boost an early goal. And what a goal it was. Andrew Porritt, again outstanding in midfield, found Anderson just inside the penalty area in the 17th minute, and his instant control with his chest set the ball up nicely to volley past Jak Wells.

Suddenly Mulcaster's men looked transformed. After lacking a forward threat in recent weeks, they were now attacking from all angles and the second goal was not long in arriving.

There was half-an-hour on the clock when Gav Parkin's corner from the right was headed onto the crossbar by Grant Hickman and when the big centre back forced the ball back into the six-yard box, Holliday had the simple task of tapping home.

Having gone in at half time 2-0 up the previous week against Ryton and then almost throwing it away in the second half, no one inside the stadium was taking anything for granted this time. But Town came out after the break looking determined to ensure a repeat was not on the cards and it took them just nine minutes to add the killer third goal.

Ironically against a side that are so dangerous from long throws, it was that very move which brought about Shields' downfall. Gunnell threw the ball into the heart of the penalty area and after Anderson flicked it on, Holliday arrived to head home his second from close range.

Town could now relax and they began to play the kind of football that makes you wonder just how they have not featured in the promotion race this season. The fourth goal on the hour illustrated this perfectly. Danny McLachlan skipped clear down the right and fed Dale Elgie on the edge of the penalty area. He in turn drilled the ball across the six-yard box for Anderson to slide the ball past Wells from six yards. Simple but oh so effective.

Town inevitably eased off after that and allowed Shields more possession, but with the back three of Hickman, Andy Ramsbottom, and James Howlett outstanding, Mulcaster's men were able to close the game out for a first clean sheet in eight games.

"We scored goals at the right time," said Mulcaster. "The confidence came back and it was nice to be able to relax after the third goal had gone in. We haven't been able to do that for a while."

Town will now look for a fourth win in five matches when they visit another in-form side, Willington, on Saturday. With 13 goals and 3 red cards from their two previous meetings this season, not to mention some national news coverage, that is a match not to be missed.

TOWN - Hodgson - Has settled in really well since arriving from Stokesley and gave another assured performance. 8/10

Ramsbottom - Has slotted in seamlessly in recent weeks. One of the (re)signings of the season. 8/10

Howlett - Had his hands full against some big, strong lads but was calm and assured all night. 8/10

Hickman - Unlucky not to score with a first half header that hit the bar but it was at the other end where he did his best work. Quite simply one of the best centre backs in the league. 9/10

Porritt - Outstanding in the middle of the park. Again. 8/10

Elgie - Bossed the midfield. One of the favourites for Player of the Season and this is why. 8/10

McLachlan - Perhaps did not see as much of the ball as he would have liked but his part in the fourth goal was superb. 8/10

Parkin - Back to his best. In a solid team performance, he once again played a captain's role. 8/10

Anderson - Goals win games and he once again delivered when it mattered. A fabulous opener and in the right place at the right time for the fourth. Joint man of the match. 9/10

Holliday - Two poachers goals and linked well with Anderson all night. Joint man of the match. 9/10

Gunnell - Back from injury and showed what a great prospect he is. A constant threat down the left. 8/10

SUBS - Burton - Worked hard after coming off the bench but was unable to find a much-needed goal. 7/10

Hemingway - Replaced Gunnell late on and helped steady the ship in the closing stages. 7/10

UNUSED - Kokes, Perry, Stevens, Colman.

SOUTH SHIELDS - Wells, Clarke, Riding, Holliday, White, Locke, Berhen, Richardson, Ramsey, Sweeney, Feasey. SUBS - Greenwell, Kwalangan, McLean, King.

REFEREE - L. Robinson.


Mully talks...about the South Shields victory


Monday, 7 April 2014

Exclusive Andrew Porritt interview

Danny McLachlan exclusive interview

Another Wright mess for Town

By Dan Pinder and Ricky Butler at Grounsell Park

Highlights of this match can be viewed here

NORTHALLERTON TOWN’S run of two consecutive victories came to an end at Grounsell Park on Saturday despite a late header from Danny McLachlan.

Jon Wright, who had scored both goals in Heaton's 2-1 success at the Calvert in October, had put the hosts 1-0 up again just after half time with a lob over Town goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson, before Dean Deagle sealed the points after 66 minutes.

Town manager Peter Mulcaster said: “You’ve got to give credit to the players because at that point I thought we could have just gone, but we didn’t. We forced the game, we got a goal back and we finished strongly.”

McLachlan grabbed his 9th goal of the season 11 minutes from time, however the home side held on to claim all three points.

Goal-scorer McLachlan, in reference to a near miss in midweek, said: “It was nice to get on the end of [the cross] to be honest, nice to see it not hit the crossbar. It got close to it though."

Mulcaster made three changes to the team that had beaten Ryton & Crawcrook 2-1 on Wednesday evening. James Howlett returned to the side after injury, replacing Craig Perry in defence, while Dale Elgie was back in place of Colin Anderson. Elsewhere, Chris Burton dropped to the bench in place of the recalled Aaron Ramsbottom.

Wright has proved to be one of the sharpest strikers in the league this season and he looked a threat from the start. The 34-goal marksman headed wide after just five minutes before almost finding strike-partner Lawrence McKenna at the far post, only for McLachlan to clear the ball.
Mikey Stevens then cleared a Joe Wear header off the line, while moments later Paul Mills picked the ball up in his own half before driving forward and unleashing a shot from 20 yards which produced a fine save from young Hodgson. The ball was not sufficiently cleared however, and when it was recycled back into the area, midfielder Paul Blakey hit the base of the post.

It was all Heaton at this stage and Ben Telford nearly put the home side 1-0 up after Elgie’s clearance fell straight to him. However his shot went just wide, although Hodgson appeared to have it covered.

Town’s first shot on target did not arrive until the half hour mark when Aaron Ramsbottom and Stevens linked up down the left before the latter found Elgie on the edge of the penalty area. However, the midfielder, who has been in great recent goal-scoring form, could only produce a tame effort which was comfortable for home goalkeeper Shaun Backhouse.

Wright started his team’s next meaningful move, switching the ball from right to left to Mills, who found McKenna in the box. He then laid the ball off to Wright who unleashed a fizzing shot that flew just over the top.

But in the dying moments of the first half, McKenna really ought to have put Heaton 1-0 up. Wright again created the problems with some good work down the left and his low cross found his strike-partner in front of an open goal. However, McKenna somehow managed to fire over the top from two yards.
With a lack of goals in recent weeks, it was always looking to be a tough task for Mulcaster's side when the impressive Wright opened the scoring just seconds after the restart. A goal kick from Backhouse was flicked on by McKenna, finding the striker clean through on goal and he calmly lobbed the stranded Hodgson.

Captain Wear was lucky not to gift Town an equaliser soon after as his header back to the 'keeper nearly looped over Backhouse for what would have been a calamitous own goal.
But that was as close as Mulcaster's side came to pulling themselves level and it was The Stan who doubled their lead after 66 minutes. A corner from the left by Mills found Blakey, who headed the ball back across goal to Deagle at the far post; the defender taking a touch before smashing it beyond Hodgson from close range.

With the game quickly slipping away, Town at least showed their character to find a way back. Substitute Christian Holliday had an effort from distance saved with 20 minutes left to play before McLachlan found the goal nine minutes later with a fine header from a left-wing cross by Gav Parkin.

It was too late for Town to mount any real threat of a comeback though, despite Aaron Ramsbottom coming close after linking up with Burton and Holliday two minutes from time.

“We dominated the last twenty minutes, it just didn’t drop for us. It hasn’t done all season when it comes to things like that,” said McLachlan. “I thought we battled well, played well.”
Andrew Porrit said: “I thought we worked very hard, put them under pressure at times. We were probably the better team [in the final twenty minutes], and a bit more quality and we would have maybe been in for better chances.”

However, the late flourish should not disguise a continued lack of quality in the final third. The free-scoring team which briefly led the table earlier in the season has been replaced by a workmanlike side who remain difficult to beat but are becoming far too easy to defend against. What would Mulcaster would give to have a player like Wright leading his attack?

Town now find themselves in seventh place as they welcome South Shields to the Calvert Stadium on Wednesday evening before a trip to old foes Willington next weekend. A return to winning ways is essential if Mulcaster’s men are to remain on course for a top six finish.

HEATON STANNINGTON: Backhouse, Telford, James, Blakey, Wear, Deagle, Mills, Johnson, Wright, McKenna, Dixon. SUBS: Smith, Hoggins, Carr.
TOWN: Hodgson - Could do nothing about the goals that beat him and made one or two decent saves. 8/10
Andy Ramsbottom - Struggled at times against the pace of movement of Wright but stuck to the task well. 7/10
Howlett - Not an easy match to come back in to following a three match injury lay-off, and he looked a little off the pace at times. 6/10
Hickman - A difficult afternoon against a lively Heaton attack but he refused to shy away from his responsibilities. 7/10
Porritt - Looks so much more comfortable in midfield and was neat and tidy in everything he did. Man of the match. 8/10
Elgie - Quiet by recent standards but went about his work with customary coolness. 7/10
McLachlan - Took his goal very well and it was just reward for another hard-working display. 8/10
Parkin - A great cross for the goal but was unable to really stamp his authority on proceedings. 6/10
Kokes - Succumbed to an early injury. 6/10
Aaron Ramsbottom - Never got a sniff in front of goal until the final few seconds and then almost grabbed a dramatic late equaliser. 6/10
Stevens - Always a threat down the left with his pace but was unable to produce enough quality with his final ball. 6/10
SUBS: Holliday - Replaced Kokes up front in the first half but was kept quite by a strong Heaton defence. 6/10
Burton - Unlucky to be dropped to the bench and came on too late to have any real influence. 6/10
Unused: Butterworth, Colman.
REFEREE - S. Dial.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Mully talks...about the Heaton defeat


Thursday, 3 April 2014

'Unacceptable' Town hang on for scrappy Ryton victory

By Ricky Butler at the Calvert Stadium

TWO first half goals from Colin Anderson, his 16th and 17th of the season, were just enough to give Northallerton Town a first home victory of 2014. But the performance against bottom side Ryton & Crawcrook Albion will not live long in the memory.

In fact so poor were Town in the second half that manager Peter Mulcaster described the performance as 'unacceptable' and 'the worst since I returned to the club.'

Yet things had started so well. Twice in the opening 25 minutes, Anderson was the beneficiary of quality deliveries into the box; first from Chris Burton and then Gav Parkin. But after having to reorganise following a nasty head injury to Craig Perry, Town never got going in the second half and they were forced to hang on at the end after David Backhouse's fine 65th minute strike.

Despite a second successive victory, however, Mulcaster could not hide his disappointment. He said: "To be honest we were garbage. That is the worst second half performance since I came to the club. There was no quality there, there was no willingness to win anything, and all round it was not acceptable.

"It was the lack of willingness to work hard that was the first and foremost thing. I am just thankful we were able to hold on."

Mulcaster was without Saturday's two-goal hero Dale Elgie, while Martin Butterworth and Mark Hemingway were also both unavailable. So Andrew Porritt, Darren Kokes and Mikey Stevens all returned to the side, while Ryan Hodgson was back in goal having missed the weekend victory at Thornaby. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsbottom returned from illness to take his place on the bench alongside Mike Colman.

After a bright start from bottom side Ryton, Town soon took control and they were unfortunate not to go ahead inside 10 minutes. Stevens did well down the left and Danny McLachlan saw his effort from close range come back off the underside of the crossbar.

But the opening goal was not long in arriving. Just four minutes later, Parkin sent Burton clear down the left, he beat full-back Alex Robinson before crossing for Anderson to score with a spectacular diving header.

And it looked set to be a comfortable evening when Town doubled their advantage 10 minutes later. Parkin whipped in one of his customary corners from the right and Anderson, who had scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, arrived to flick home a header at the near post.

But that was about as good as it got for Mulcaster's men. An injury to Craig Perry, who was left with a nasty lump on his head that required hospital treatment following a clash with Ryton's Josh Holland, led to a re-organisation and a switch back to 4-4-2 for the second half. However, Town just never got going after the restart.
It has been a difficult season for Ryton but they are a young side with bags of pace and energy, and they finally began to enjoy themselves. A comeback that had appeared so unlikely in the first half suddenly looked possible midway through the second period.
Following a sustained spell of Albion pressure, Backhouse drilled home a fine effort from 25 yards and for the second time in four days Town were forced to hang on for a win they really ought to have seen out far more comfortably.

In the closing stages Albion enjoyed a lot of possession and a succession of corners but they were unable to create many clear-cut opportunities and it finished 2-1.

Mulcaster said: "Give credit to [Ryton}.They are just local footballers, no disrespect to them, but they stuck at it and they were the better side in the second half, there is no two ways about it.

"Yes, we won and every now and again you say we played well and lost, and I've felt happier than I do tonight because it's the performance that matters."

Next up Town is a tough trip on Saturday to promotion-chasing Heaton Stannington, where the performance will need to be much better that this if they are to come away with a third consecutive victory.

TOWN - Hodgson - One of the few to come out of the night with any credit. His handling was generally sound and made one or two decent saves. 8/10

Ramsbottom (An) - Another solid game at the back for Ramma. 7/10

Stevens - Started well down the left but faded in the second half along with many of his team-mates. 6/10

Perry - Looked solid at the back again until a nasty head injury forced him off just before the break. 7/10

Hickman - Two wins since he returned to the side says a lot about his influence. Rarely put a foot wrong throughout. 8/10

Kokes - Back in the side in midfield but failed to find any rhythm. Hobbled off in the second half and that really summed up his night. 6/10

Anderson - Still not 100% fit but once again got the goals that mattered. Man of the match. 8/10

Parkin - Started well but like many others he hardly got a kick in the second half. 6/10

Burton - Played well in the first half, and his part in the first goal was crucial, but was largely anonymous after the break. 7/10

McLachlan - Did not get any kind of service up front and seemed more effective in a wider role in the second half. 7/10

Porritt - Outstanding in midfield in the first half and was solid and strong at right back in the second. Ran Anderson and Hodgson close for man of the match. 8/10

SUBS - Ramsbottom (Aa) - Replaced Perry at half time but struggled to make any impact. 6/10

Colman - Came on for Kokes late on, and on a difficult night for the forwards, never got into the game. 6/10

RYTON & CRAWCROOK - Gillespie, Robinson, Shickle, Backhouse, Christowski, Turnbull, Holland, Shanks, Sinclair, Gunn, Hodges (P). SUBS - McGill, Peacock, Phillips, Brown, Hodges (J).

REFEREE - K. Beckett


Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Mully talks...about the Ryton victory