Tadcaster prove too strong for Long Eaton

Long Eaton's Shaun Rickford is pictured in possession at Tadcaster Albion on Saturday.
Long Eaton's Shaun Rickford is pictured in possession at Tadcaster Albion on Saturday.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

NCEL Premier Division

Tadcaster Albion 3

Long Eaton United 0

LONG Eaton’s young side failed to follow up their hard-earned point at home to Parkgate the previous week as Tadcaster recorded a fairly straightforward 3-0 victory.

The fragile nature of United’s squad, in terms of experience, is ensuring manager Mick Galloway endures a difficult time as he endeavours to shape his options for next season.

Ominously, and in light of United’s poor scoring record this season, they faced a side who they had failed to register a single goal against in the last three meetings between the two teams.

Although both sides began the contest with a distinct lack of rhythm to their approach play it was ultimately the home side that settled soonest.

Fortunately for United, they failed to take advantage of a number of gilt-edged opportunities that came their way and the defensive quartet of Michael Armstrong, Isaac Marshall, Kial Thurman and Andy Rhodes were all working manfully to keep their side in the game.

Colin Murdock was introduced early in the first-half after Blaine Hancock failed to recover well enough after a clash of heads, and took over an unaccustomed role in the centre of midfield.

Will Mellors-Blair and Michael Armstrong both fired in attempts toward the Tadcaster goal from long range that drifted wide and Scott Webb, in United’s goal, survived a ricochet off both post and his body in the 40th minute which at that point left some watchers thinking it wasn’t going to be the home side’s afternoon.

However, moments later, a long throw-in from the right was not dealt with effectively enough and Tadcaster’s Russ Headley was able to add the lightest of touches to steer the ball past Webb as a moment of hesitancy prevented a more emphatic touch being added by a United defender.

After the interval, the home side appeared to grow in confidence and their passes found their intended target with more regularity, though they added their second goal during a period of United’s most concerted, though short-lived, period of pressure.

After Jimmy Hunter, Josh Hooley and Mellors-Blair combined to try to set up a chance, the home side broke quickly after the hour mark and two incisive passes resulted in Billy Law cutting in from the right to ease the ball past a stranded Webb and add Tadcaster’s second.

Only five minutes later the game was closed out by the home side when Law was again on hand to take advantage of a poor clearance to once more give United’s beleaguered ‘keeper little chance.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Murdock fired in three excellently struck shots from distance that almost gained some consolation for United and questioned a barren scoring record that has seen him fail to register a single goal for the club in over 120 defensive appearances.

Late in the game, Matt Jarvis and Duane Barton were given run-outs and in the final minute Jacob Webster, who had perhaps produced United’s best performance, almost got his name on the scoresheet with another long range effort that just cleared the crossbar.

The defeat was United’s tenth game without a victory, seven in which they have failed to score, and it is only the equally poor form of Selby Town, Maltby Main and Lincoln Moorlands that, at present, keeps the spectre of relegation at bay.

United: Webb, Armstrong (C), Thurman, Marshall, Rhodes, Hunter Webster, Hancock (Murdock 23), Mellors-Blair (Jarvis 75), J. Hooley (Barton 75) Rickford.

On Saturday, United face yet another difficult away trip to fourth-placed Winterton Rangers, who have the best home record in the Premier Division and have won their last nine league games at their West Street Ground.