Town slog it out for away victory

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IN contrast to last weeks’ excellent performance against Retford that was full of free-flowing attacking football, this game was a real slog.

Nostell have a reputation for being a very hard-working side that put a lot of emphasis on stopping the opposition from playing and they certainly lived up to that in this game.

Town made one change to last weeks’ side, Ryan Brook coming in as captain, replacing Nick Jagger who was a late withdrawal through illness.

The first 15 minutes were extremely scrappy but Town were in complete control.

Brook and fellow defenders Adam Wilson, James Sutcliffe and Tom Brown looked very comfortable in containing the Nostell forwards who did not manage a worthwhile effort on goal during the first half.

It was 15 minutes into the game before Town started to turn their dominance into chances.

Luke Gibson started to get hold of the ball and run at the home defence and a back post cross from Sutcliffe had Town players appealing for a penalty as Dan Naidole looked to be impeded in the box.

Anthony Haigh then laid the ball across the six yards line for Danny Hull, but the youngster could not get the ball out of his feet to get a shot away.

More pressure from Town forced a corner, Naidole finding Hull who crossed for Greg Porter to head over.

Town had raised the tempo and Nostell were struggling to cope and they finally cracked on 21 minutes.

Gibson showed great attitude to win the ball back for Town near halfway, and then release Naidole down the left flank.

The skilful winger hit a first time cross that found Hull bursting into the box and he made perfect connection on the half volley to steer the ball into the corner of the net to make it 1 - 0.

Haigh headed a Sutcliffe free kick over the bar and Hull nearly got on the end of a Naidole through ball but was thwarted by home keeper Sam Dobbs as Town pushed for a second goal.

Tom Matthews broke away just before half-time and hit a low shot that was fumbled by Dobbs but he got away with.

Half-time came with Town leading but maybe disappointed their dominance had not yielded more than the single goal and Town keeper Ben Imeson was only called on to make a couple of routine catches as Nostell failed to create any chances.

Within six minutes of the restart Nostell created their first chance and predictably scored from it.

James Eyles crossed from the left and Brandon Kane swept the ball home at the near post to equalise.

Town responded well and took the game to Nostell.

Matthews broke and laid the ball back to Hull whose shot was blocked for a corner.

When the ball came in, Anthony Haigh forced the ball home after a frantic goalmouth scramble but the goal was chalked off for offside.

Haigh then had a header from Naidole’s free kick saved by Dobbs.

On 60 minutes Imeson had to make his first real save of the game as he got down smartly to turn Kane’s low shot round the post.

Within a minute Town had regained the lead. Tom Brown’s through ball was misjudged by Toby Rutter and Matthews was on it in a flash to score from a narrow angle after he had rounded the advancing keeper.

Imeson then produced a brilliant reaction save to tip a header from David Watts over the bar.

But he could do nothing to prevent Eyles equalising with a powerful shot despite looking suspiciously offside when he received the ball.

Town replaced Haigh with Shane Hamilton and the big striker bustled his way through to have a sight of goal but shot over as he made an immediate impact.

Town showed great resolve to hit back and regain the lead on 73 minutes.

Matthews played a ball to the back post and Luke Gibson’s first time half volley went in off the post to make it 3-2.

Nostell were not giving up and Eyles hit the post on 75 minutes with a shot following a corner.

Town weathered the pressure and nearly made the game safe when Naidole curled a free kick into the top corner but Dobbs saved well.

Sam Akeroyd replaced Naidole in the final stages to bolster the midfield and see the game out for Town without too many more scares.

In a different way this victory was just as satisfying as the 4-0 win against leaders Retford last week.

The game never flowed on a tricky surface against dogged opposition but the players stuck to their task and got the job done in the end.