Clarke off the mark as Town are dominant

08 Sep 2019 in Match Reports

Clarke nets his first for Town

Byrne seals the deal

Michael Clarke’s first goal for Town set the blues on their way to a dominant victory against St Martins.

 

The rangy centre-back found himself utilising his aerial prowess in unfamiliar territory as he towered to plant his header home following a searching Jack Timmons cross towards the far post.

 

Brad Byrne cemented the victory late on when substitute Scott Spencer laid the ball across the danger area for the forward to slam inside the near-post from close quarters.

 

The victory sees us leapfrog our noisy neighbours into 5th place for the time being due to our far superior goal difference.

 

Town deservedly took the lead midway through the first half when the former Stockport County man rose imperiously at the far post to nod home and break the dead-lock following an enticingly floated ball in by Jack Timmons.

 

Being far more used to regimenting the back-line, Clarke admitted that “Keeping a clean sheet is even better than scoring a goal any day!”, just to highlight his sheer professionalism and defensive instincts.

 

Despite the solid defensive display, Town were left exasperated for large sections of the game as a plethora of chances continued to go begging as well as their keeper standing up impressively to the barrage that was rained down upon him.

 

Stuart Wellstead cut a frustrated figure as he appeared to be the St Martins number one’s main victim, preventing the striker from taking home the match ball twice over, most notably denying a looping header which he tipped onto the bar.

 

Cheers went up around Ericstan and chairman Chris Eaton was adamant the ball had crossed the line, but ultimately any decision made in that scenario would have been tenuous to say the least.

 

Callum Jakovelvs, like most of the people who filtered through the blue gates prior to kick off, remained a spectator for the majority, with his only real involvement of note was when he punched away a tepid freekick.

 

Casian Anghel was too thwarted by the man between the sticks when he cut inside onto his favoured right foot, but his reward for a scorching effort was a pair of mere stinging palms.

 

Scott Spencer was introduced from the bench as a replacement for Wellstead to add a different dynamic to the game and it paid dividends to the coaching staff as he provided a pin-point lay off to Brad Byrne to bury his fifth goal in all competitions.

 

Spencer praised the sharp thinking of Jerome Wright in the lead up to the goal.

 

“Quick freekick from Jez and I was opening up to shoot but I was a bit too wide, so I just put it into the box and Brad got himself on the end of it- good goal all round”

 

Town avoided a potential banana skin in this latest string of good form as we only took one point from last season’s two meetings but a classy, assured performance like this just highlights the changes that Town have undergone.

 

Well-deserved might be an understatement for the three points following yesterday’s exertions and now our attentions turn to Friday night when we take on Skelmersdale United in the second round of the FA Vase, looking to keep the dream of Wembley well and truly alive.

 

Post-match thoughts

 

James Kinsey- “I think that's probably the most chances we've had in a game. Stuart Wellstead has been unreal since he came in. Today it just wouldn't go in for him. His link up play was superb though.

 

“We just couldn't kill the game off and that's obviously something we would like to do. But the whole side has to take credit for keeping a clean sheet. Although we were always in control and should have been out of sight there's always moments where you worry at 1-0.

 

“But the lads defended well and got the second goal late on. That's six unbeaten now. We just have to take one game at a time and see where we end up.”

 

Brad Byrne- “Overall it was a solid performance from the lads, loads of chances created and a clean sheet as well.

 

“We lacked that clinical edge in front of goal yesterday which became frustrating at times as the game needed putting to bed. But the amount of chances we created is always a positive.

 

“It was a relief to get the second, as you know anything can happen late in games and a dominant performance can all of a sudden end in a point.”

 

-Harry Shephard

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