By Chris Gibbs
Late equaliser puts brakes on Castle progress
Newcastle 1, Avery (7)
Clitheroe 1, Barlow (90)
A last-minute equaliser from Clitheroe substitute Matt Barlow checked our recent brilliant run of results in the league and left the lads feeling slightly deflated despite putting in another fine effort in a highly competitive 1-1 home draw.
Fielding an unchanged XI following on from our superb 3-0 win at Avro last weekend, we got off to a perfect start when some determined play down our attacking left from Joe Berks was rewarded when his ball across the box was side footed home by Jake Avery – his second goal in three games.
We had plenty of bright moments, but the better opportunities tended to fall to the visitors. However, as we have done throughout January, our defence was steadfast and came within a whisker of keeping a third consecutive clean sheet,which would also have made it four wins on the bounce.
Joe Slinn put in another huge performance between the sticks making crucial saves at vital moments. A right boot kept out Domaine Rouse’s low strike on the stroke of half time and when the big man made a brilliant save four minutes from the end from Clitheroe’s centre half Andrew Teague, it felt like it was going to be our day.
But Clitheroe’s serial goal scorer Sefton Gonzales popped up with a fierce shot as the game moved into the final minute which Slinny did well to parry and as Tommy Van der Laantried to clear, it seemed like he was pulled back. Nothing was given and Barlow tapped home to secure a draw for the Lancashire side.
On the balance of play, a draw was a fair result, and the point means that under Neil Baker we have now taken 11 points from a possible 15 in his first five games in charge, which in anyone’s money is a very decent return.
As we move into February the games keep coming. Next up is another home game with Widnes who thrashed 1874 Northwich 5-0 today. The progress we are making is there for all to see, and despite this slight disappointment today, we are in excellent shape and ready to keep progressing.
Come on ‘Castle!
Team: Slinn, Derbyshire, Ritchie, T. Van der laan (c), Jordan, Stubbs, Graham, Sherratt, Avery, Jones, Avery, (J. Van der Laan).
Man of the match: Josh Jordan