TOWN ended their home campaign with a hard earned win against in-form Pickering Town.
A strong wind blowing down the length of the field made this somewhat a game of two halves but ultimately, the lethal finishing of Tom Matthews with a hat trick turned the game in Town’s favour.
Town dominated the first half and pushed Pickering back.
A through ball from Greg Porter nearly got Matthews in on goal but he was crowded out, and a Danny Hull cross saw him head just wide within the first five minutes.
Town skipper Nick Jaggar came up from the back to head a James Sutcliffe free kick which Adam Mitchell saved on nine minutes.
A minute later, Pickering broke and took the lead with their first attack of the game. Town gave the ball away and Steve Baxter punished them with an excellent finish.
Town continued to press forward. Danny Hull brought a routine save from Mitchell from 20 yards and Leon Henry’s curling near post cross was fumbled away for a corner by Mitchell soon after.
Town deserved a goal and it duly arrived on 18 minutes. Anthony Haigh’s pass found Matthews on the edge of the box. He flicked the ball over the last defender and volleyed it past the keeper.
Town piled on the pressure with Haigh hitting the post on 25 minutes after a pass from Matthews and some good link-up play from Sutcliffe, Matthews and Haigh eventually saw Matthews’ cross taken by Mitchell.
Town got the second goal their dominance deserved on 27 minutes.
Matthews played the ball wide to Sutcliffe and he picked out the run of Hull into the box the midfielder to finish well to give Town a 2-1 lead.
Town did not let up and looked for more goals. Jaggar was unlucky to miss the far post by inches as he stretched to meet a Haigh cross on 32 minutes.
Then Matthews headed a simple looking chance from a Sutcliffe corner over the bar.
As the half came to a close, Adam Wilson had to be alert to defend a cross from the right wing, but Pickering equalised against the run of play on 40 minutes, although it was another great finish by Baxter to score his second of the game.
Greg Porter had time to hit a powerful shot over the bar before the break.
The conditions were now in Pickering’s favour and it showed as the visitors enjoyed more of the play and Town’s more defensive minded players Ryan Brook and Porter came to the fore.
Baxter had a close range effort blocked for a corner and Ben Imeson made a good save from a 20-yard effort.
On 64 minutes, it was Town’s turn to score against the run of play, when Matthews netted a fine solo goal.
He collected a long clearance on halfway which he controlled, turned, and ran at the Pickering defence.
He found himself with only the keeper to beat and made it 3-2.
Play was more even after the goal, with Dan Naidole and Henry looking dangerous down the Town left flank.
Paul Quinn made a double substitution on 74 minutes, replacing Sutcliffe and Haigh with Tom Brown and Ben Grech-Brooksbank to make sure Town kept the energy levels high in the final stages.
Imeson saved well from the Pickering fullback’s effort from 20 yards and Baxter fired wide from an acute angle on 80 minutes as Pickering showed they had not given up.
The hard working Naidole was replaced by Sam Akeroyd with 10 minutes left and the young midfielder was soon spreading the ball wide for Leon Henry to cross for Matthews to head over.
Matthews completed his hat trick on 88 minutes and killed the game off by coolly placing the ball past Mitchell after running on to a pass from Grech-Brooksbank.
Town relaxed and nearly got caught with a long through ball that Carl Stewart latched on to and lobbed over Imeson but Brown raced back to clear.
The win kept Town third in the league table with only two games left, the long away trips to Bridlington and Lincoln MR.