Crook Town



First Team

Sat 18 Jan 2020 | Northern League Div 2 | Away


Millfield, Crook




Nigel Bamford



Ryton put in their worst performance of the season in a dismal showing at Crook who ought to have won by a bigger margin. Jamie Dunn & Scott Jasper did at least get on the scoresheet but there was little else to cheer on an afternoon to forget for RACA.


Albion travelled to Crook on a run of six games unbeaten and handed a starting debut to Michael Bell while Ross Thirlaway was named amongst the substitutes. The Black And Amber had themselves had gone on a fantastic run of picking up 25 points from a possible 27 before a surprise derby defeat to Tow Law last time out so it was a clash of two in form sides. The Millfield pitch survived an 11:30 inspection but was going to be energy sapping with the area in front of the stand particularly heavy.

In a portent of what was to come, Crook almost opened the scoring in the second minute when Daniel Kent combined with Nathan Stephenson whose low shot was well saved palmed away by Ryton keeper Josh Graham. In a scrappy opening period both sides struggled to come to terms with the pitch that was cutting up and a poor clearance from Graham in the 22nd minute saw the ball land at the feet of Crook No7 Callum Johnston who laid it off to Kent who curled it past the keeper to make it 1-0 to the hosts. As RACA continued to struggle, Crook began to find some fluidity & in the 27th minute Jordan Fielding fired a low cross across the Ryton box that Kent just couldn't quite make contact with & the ball was hooked away to the relative safety of a corner. Bell's debut took a turn for the worse as he had to come off with a tweaked hamstring on 39 minutes to be replaced by Dan Blewitt. Crook continued to press Albion but couldn't extend the lead their dominance merited, the closest being Kent hitting the crossbar and a 42nd minute effort from Johnston that Graham comfortably saved.


The hosts were on the front foot after the interval but on 54 minutes Albion briefly spluttered into life when a fine move involving Sam Norris, James Thompson and Scott Jasper saw Jasper's close range blocked & the rebounded effort from Jamie Dunn was deflected out for a Norris corner from which Dunn leapt highest to head home a leveller. Ryton had little time to enjoy the parity as Crook were back on the offensive when Nathan Stephenson was judged to have been unfairly brought down in the box by Graham and referee Mr Bamford awarded the hosts a penalty. Kent stood up to take it but his low dive was well saved by Graham, but to the keeper's dismay Mr Bamford ordered a re-take for encroachment. Kent wasn't to be denied a second time and the Black And Amber were back in front. Crook were looking to put the game to bed & for a while there was a tide of Amber attacks with Johnston and sub Christian Holliday in particular tormenting the Ryton defence. Kent got his and Crook's third on 71 minutes following another quick break forward, Holliday finding him with an inch perfect pass & the hat-trick man slotted past the exposed Graham. Thirlaway was brought on for his first taste of action for RACA, but it was always going to be a baptism of fire and Crook duly went 4-1 up on 73 minutes when Holliday beat the offside trap & fired home to put the result beyond any doubt. Or so it seemed but barely had the home spectators in the 133 attendance sat down when Jasper popped up in the Crook box shoot past the hitherto unemployed Ronan Makepeace to make it 4-2. That proved to be a false dawn as Crook continued to make the most out of Albion's off-day & Holliday almost got his second on 87 minutes when he headed a Kent cross narrowly wide. But fellow substitute Arthur Connolly was to get his side an easy fifth in the dying embers of the game, albeit looking distinctly offside, but it was his team who deservedly picked up all three points as Ryton had a day to forget.






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