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Match Report - Hanley Town FC vs Newcastle Town FC


By Chris Sweetman

It was a deserved win for Newcastle, who followed up their win on Saturday over Mossley to make it a bank holiday weekend to celebrate.

It was Newcastle’s best performance of the season so far, in what was a frequently breathless and frenetic game.

Newcastle showed plenty of early attacking ambition, with Lewis Holdham and Jack Derbyshire proving keen for goals.

The breakthrough came midway through the half as Derbyshire was brought down for a penalty.

Jack Van der Laan’s spot kick was saved by Hanley keeper Adam Whitehouse, but he got to the rebound first to stab home.

Whitehouse went off injured soon after, and former Newcastle captain James Askey had to take on the gloves.

Minutes later, Holdham doubled the lead, finding acres of space on the left, cutting in the centre of the box and firing into the top corner.

Hanley came out firing after the break, with Kieran Brown’s composed finish bringing the hosts back into contention.

However, moments later Newcastle captain Tommy Van der Laan headed home from a free kick to restore the two goal margin.

From there, Newcastle withstood waves of Hanley attacks, but the hosts were able to muster only one further shot on target, which was easily dealt with by keeper Joe Slinn.

The first half was initially a scrappy but end-to-end affair, with neither side able to initially take control of the game.

Newcastle showed plenty of early ambition in attack, with a few promising moves breaking down before the shot came.

The first attempt on target went to Newcastle, as Holdham broke down the left, and played across the box, before heading the return straight at Whitehouse on the angle.

Hanley were keeping it even as the half continued, but could not fashion a clear chance to score themselves.

Instead, the visitors should have taken the lead, as Holdham surged into the box, and his ball across the face only needed a touch for a goal, but none was provided.

Derbyshire was also proving a handful in attack for Newcastle, as he three times found room to shoot, even forcing a save from Whitehouse.

On one such surge into the box, he was brought down by Hanley player-manager Ryan Shotton to earn a penalty.

Jack van der Laan stepped up to take, but saw his initial spot kick saved by Whitehouse, but got to the rebound first to open the scoring.

Shortly after the goal, Whitehouse – who had already gone down once – had to come off with an apparent back injury, with Askey sent in goal to replace him.

Newcastle fans had seen some heroics between the sticks from their former captain last season, but Askey would lose his cleansheet minutes later.

Holdham had proved a handful on the Newcastle left-wing all afternoon, and he broke free into space, before cutting back into the centre of the box and firing into the top corner to double the lead.

From there, Newcastle were able to see out the last few minutes of the half without further drama, to take a deserved lead into the dressing room.

The second half saw Hanley come out the traps firing, and it was the frenetic first ten minutes of the half that ultimately decided the game.

Straight from the kick off, Newcastle’s Joe Hurst tried an ambitious shot from range that flew well wide.

Minutes later, Hanley were back in the game, as a long ball bypassed the Newcastle defence, and Brown put a composed finish past Slinn to half the deficit.

On almost the next play, another Hanley long ball again bypassed the visitor’s defence to find Tyrone Ofori, but this time Slinn could get out to save.

Hanley were resurgent and threatening the comeback, but Newcastle were able to kill those hopes off moments later.

Jack Van der Laan’s free kick was played perfectly into the box for his brother and captain Tommy Van der Laan to head the ball past Askey.

It was the first time the Van der Laan brothers had both scored in the same game for Newcastle, and ensured the points would be coming back to the Lyme Valley.

However, Hanley did not go quietly, and they dominated possession and territory for the rest of the game, but could not fashion another scoring chance.

Instead, after enduring almost half an hour of Hanley besiegement, it was Newcastle who had the best chance to add to the scoring, as Patryk Mazurkiewicz hit the post after being set up by Callum Speed.

Hanley only mustered one further shot on target – a looping header by Reece Jones that, while it needed saving, was comfortable for Slinn.

That made it easy enough for Newcastle to close the game out to secure consecutive wins after just five matches – something that proved challenging last season.

Meanwhile, for Hanley, it meant they are yet to win any of their first four games and currently sit bottom of the table.

Newcastle are up to ninth, level on points with four other clubs, and have a chance to break into the playoff places when they welcome 19th placed 1874 Northwich to the Red Industries Stadium on Saturday.


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