Tadcaster Albion 1 Cleethorpes Town 1
By David Simpson
7-UP FOR RESILIENT OWLS
A Joe Lumsden strike gained a point for the Brewers, after Josh Batty’s 15th goal of the campaign late in the first half had put the Owls ahead. It was a hard-fought contest on a blustery afternoon in North Yorkshire, with both sides having chances to claim all the spoils.
There was a welcome return to the squad for Brody Robertson and Danny North after injury, both of whom started on the bench. No surprise though that manager Dave Smith kept faith with the same starting XI that performed so well in the 4-2 victory over Pontefract Collieries. The side lined up as follows:
Goal: Theo Richardson
Defence: Tim Lowe, Paul Walker, Oli Donald, Sam Topliss
Midfield defence: Jack Richardson, Alex Flett (captain)
Midfield attack: Andy Taylor, Lewis Collins, Jon Oglesby
Attack: Josh Batty
Subs: Craig Disley, Loz McKay, Danny North, Brody Robertson, Mark Gray
Clee were playing with the advantage of an intermittent strong breeze as the contest started but it was Albion who had the first chance. Lumsden pulled the ball back in the 4th minute and Donald bravely blocked Davidson’s fierce drive.
Both teams had settled down quickly on the decent playing surface and home stopper Hodges saved from Walker with 13 gone. The Owls’ central defender then saw the first yellow for obstructing the restart. Once again, the same player was involved in the 17th minute when the ball appeared to strike his hand in the box but the referee ruled it accidental, much to Tadcaster’s dismay.
Keeper T Richardson was on his guard to carefully watch a deflected shot from Whitehouse and then, just before the halfway mark of the opening period, the visitors thought they had gone ahead. A floated free-kick from captain Flett was nodded home by Batty. The striker’s delight was cut short by the assistant’s flag, who correctly ruled that the Owls’ man was marginally beyond the last defender.
It was end-to-end stuff to keep the crowd entertained and the well-organised visiting rearguard did well to snuff out a dangerous moment, after clever trickery near the by-line by Lumsden. Whitehouse then curled in a cross, which almost found an onrushing striker but, again, the defence stood strong.
Lowe, who was getting through plenty of work at both ends of the pitch, had an opening after 37 minutes but Albion smuggled the ball to safety. However, there was to be no reprieve for the Brewers with 41 played, as the Owls grabbed an important lead.
Flett, who as usual was influential in midfield, surged into the area through the inside right channel. The captain’s low cross drifted beyond everyone, apart from Josh Batty. The striker had ghosted in on the blind side of his marker and gleefully stroked the ball home from 5 yards, before keeping his celebration topical by performing the Leeds United “binoculars” routine!
HT Tadcaster Albion 0 Cleethorpes Town 1 (Batty 41)
Batty had a chance shortly after the restart to add a second but Hodges spread himself well to deny the Owls’ front-man. This proved to be a turning point, with Tadcaster restoring parity after 55 minutes.
Whitehouse unleashed a low drive, which T Richardson did superbly to turn away. However, the stopper could count himself unlucky, as Joe Lumsden was first to react to the loose ball and the dangerous forward scrambled it home from close range.
A setback for the visitors and Albion, having gained confidence from finding the net for the first time in four outings, upped the tempo. Lumsden was a constant thorn-in-the-side of the Owls but the defence was showing great fortitude to refuse to succumb to the growing pressure. When Tadcaster did fashion a shooting opportunity, T Richardson was reliably on hand to parry away a shot from the Brewers’ scorer after 67 minutes.
Danny North, Brody Robertson and Craig Disley all came on, as the management team looked to preserve a valuable point by freshening the team up. Taylor, Oglesby and Collins gave away and the Owls also received 2 further cautions, in the shape of Lowe and Topliss.
The travelling faithful were providing great support and Donald went close to snatching a dramatic winner after 85 minutes. The defender’s snapshot agonisingly cleared the crossbar by inches. In fairness, the Owls’ forays forward were becoming increasingly isolated and it was Tadcaster who nearly claimed it at the death.
After J Richardson received the 7th booking of a feisty game, it was all hands on deck in the away penalty box to secure a draw. In the 2nd minute of added time, Whitehouse found the head of Coates. The Brewers’ defender looked to have won it but man-of-the-match Lowe appeared through the massed ranks to divert the ball to safety.
The final whistle came shortly afterwards and the visitors could be well satisfied with their 100% commitment, as the unbeaten run extended to seven.
FT Tadcaster Albion 1 (Lumsden 55) Cleethorpes Town 1 (Batty 41) Attendance: 388
A pretty bruising Evostik match and a hard won point!
Tadcaster will probably be wondering how they didn’t win but the Owls organisation was there for all to see. The defence coped admirably in the second 45 as the pressure came on and Tim Lowe gets my man-of-the-match award. For once(!), most of our fans and indeed a couple of the home committee were in agreement with this.
We had plenty of attacking moments as well, particularly in the opening half. I managed to view some mobile phone footage of Josh’s disallowed header from dead in line with the incident. The assistant was correct but it was very close – certainly no more than a foot offside. Fine margins…
Overall, we can be well pleased to extend the unbeaten run. I would place Albion in the top 5 in this division, so to fully compete with them shows our improvement since the 5-1 reverse against the Brewers in October.
On to Gresley next week and, on paper, a great chance for another 3 points. The Moatmen appear to be struggling at the moment but, as we know, it is a VERY competitive league and we will need to be at our best to avoid an upset.
Saturday 19th January – 3pm
Gresley FC – Evostik East
Linden Club, Clee Road, Grimsby, DN32 8QL
Adults £8, Concessions (over 65s and 16-18) £4, Under 16s £2
UP THE OWLS!