2:36pm Friday 12th April 2013
A DEPLETED Northallerton Town side saw their promotion hopes dealt a blow with defeat at second-placed RyhopeCWlast Saturday,butthe 11 players who represented the club should feel nothing but pride for the effort and total commitmentthey showed throughout the 90 minutes.
With manager Peter Mulcaster and six players all missing, Town were always going to up against it, but their task was made even harder when three others failed to show on the day, leaving just the bare- 11.
When Burton, who had scored two goals in the last three matches, was then injured inside 15 minutes, that task became mission impossible. Burton battled on bravely until finally succumbing ten minutes fromtime andthat set the tone for a display that more thanmadeupfor inspirit what it maybe lacked in quality.
“Ithoughtit wasagreatbattling performance and effort from the lads today under the circumstances,” said stand-in manager Martin Mulcaster, who had come off his sick-bed to fill in for his father.
“I echo the disappointments of the players for the three lads that didn’t come today, two of which contacted us late and one who just didn’t turn up at all.
“We must now however forget abouttoday and look to get back to winning ways.”
The pre-match talk had been all about Ryhope’s ground, which recently failed an FA inspection, but that paled into insignificance when Mulcaster was thrown a curve-ball at the 11th hour.
Already missing Hickman, Steve Banks, James Bowman, Smurthwaite, Emson and Carl Chillingsworth, Mulcaster’s plans were thrown into completedisarray whenAnderson, Dan Clayton and Cooke all cried off at the last minute.
Despite the problems,Town started well and gave as good as they got for fifteen minutes or so until Burton went down with a nasty looking knee injury. He was patched up by physio Paul Jackson but was unable to move freely so was pushed up front with Parkin dropping back into midfield.
And the hosts went in front five minutes later. The Town defence could only half-clear a corner from the right by Lee McMahan and Chris Winn drilled the ball back past Briggs from 20 yards with the aid of a deflection to take him on to 40 goals for the season.
Mulcaster’s side regrouped and were close to an equaliser soon after. A shot from Parkin was tipped over the crossbar by Ryhope goalkeeper Chris Rooks, although he appeared to injurehimselfinthe process and failed to reappear for the second half.
By then the hosts had doubled their advantage. A clearance from Shoulder was charged down by Chris Trewick on the edge of the Town penalty area and the ball rolled into the empty net.
Town needed something quickly at the start of the second period but it was Ryhope who grabbed a third goal six minutes after the resumption.
The front two of Butler and Winn have found the back of the net nearly 90 times between them this season and they combined again. Butler, unable to add to his impressive tally on this occasion, slipped in strike-partner Winn in the inside right channel and he fired the ball across Briggs with the air of a man who knew he wasnotgoingtomiss.
But out of adversity, Town showed great pride to find a way back into the match. Just four minutes later Parkin flighted over one of his trademark free kicks, and after the slightest of touches from Dunwell, Winter arrived to finish with his left foot from ten yards.
Had Town managed to find another goal now it would have made for an interesting final 20 minutes, butthe nearest they came was a far post header by Steve Butterworth thatlandedjustthe wrong side of substitute goalkeeper James French’s right-hand post.
Burton, who had battled on bravely since the early injury, eventually hobbled off ten minutes from time and only the brilliance of Briggs prevented Ryhope adding to their tally in the closing stages.
Twice he denied Butler with saves of the highest quality before going full-length to tip an effort from Michael Charlton around the post.
Atthe final whistle,the travelling Town fans showed their appreciation for the boys in yellow and green, giving them a fully deserved ovation as they trooped off – beaten but in no way disgraced.
Northallerton entertain West Allotment Celtic tomorrow. Kick off is at 3pm with entrance £5 for adults and £2.50 consessions.
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