NORTHALLERTON Town ended a run of five matches without a win at Teasdale Park last Saturday as two goals from the returning Dale Elgie secured three points against Thornaby.
Elgie, who had missed the previous week’s defeat against West Allotment Celtic through suspension, scored either side of the break to put Peter Mulcaster’s side in control, although they suffered a late scare when David Wells pulled a goal back for the hosts four minutes from time.
A happy Mulcaster said: “The overall performance was quite good. Towards the end, after they scored, it was nippy bum time but I think overall we deserved to win. Until we got the second goal my concern was Tow Law again.
“We were in total control of that game and all of a sudden threw it away. But Grant Hickman and Dale came back into the side today and they are both massive for us.”
With Hickman, Elgie and Colin Anderson all returning to the starting XI, the Town boss again went with the same 3-5-2 formation that had worked well the previous week. The big news. however.
was in what has become a problem position in recent weeks. With young goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson unavailable, winger Christian Holliday, recently re-signed from Willington, became the tenth different player to don the gloves for Town this season.
The hosts came into the match on a good run of only three defeats in 12 games and they started brightly. Former Town striker David Onions threatened early on, while inform Ged Livingstone, with 14 goals in 20 appearances this season, also came close.
But slowly Town grew into the match. Chris Burton was unlucky again when his effort came back off the crossbar for the second week in a row, while Anderson and Gav Parkin fired narrowly off target.
However, the goal Mulcaster’s side had been threatening finally arrived four minutes before the break and came from what is becoming a familiar source. After failing to score in his first 14 appearances for Town this season, Elgie made it six in his last 14 with a fine strike from 20 yards that nestled into the corner of the net.
Thornaby came out at the start of the second half with all guns blazing, although Town’s three-man back line of Hickman, Craig Perry and Andy Ramsbottom kept them at arms length and Holliday did not have a clear save to make.
Mulcaster’s men may have lacked the same fluency going forward after the break but they were able to add a crucial second goal 20 minutes from time to take complete control.
Like so many of Town goals in recent years, this one was created by the set-piece delivery of skipper Parkin, and Elgie made another well-timed run to head home from eight yards.
Game over, or so it seemed, but Town rarely do things the easy way and with four minutes remaining Richard Walker’s shot was flicked neatly past Holliday by Wells from close range. Suddenly it was a completely different game as Thornaby threw everything forward in a late attempt to grab an equaliser, but Town would not be denied.
Hickman put his body on the line twice in stoppage time as Town held on to finally give their travelling fans, who made the journey in large numbers, something to cheer.
Mulcaster said: “We defended well today.
“We got blocks in when it mattered. Any defence with Grant Hickman in it has a chance and I’ve got to say Andrew Ramsbottom was tremendous today as well. All round it’s pleasing.”
Town are on the road again tomorrow with a trip to promotion- chasing Heaton Stannington (kick-off 3pm).