Flanagan is spot-on to earn Town three points

September 13, 2021

Parkgate 1 Selby Town 2

Parkgate’s biggest league crowd of the season so far witnessed a hard-fought match with both defences mainly on form on Saturday (September 4), as Selby Town FC came out on top.

The Robins came away with all three points courtesy of sterling defensive work, mixed in with some poor finishing from their hosts.   In central defence, Ryan Gothard returned to partner new boy Blake Drury, and Myles Lawman returned to the midfield, in place of the absent Charlie Clamp.  The opening 20 minutes contained little action for either set of supporters to get excited about. Parkgate’s two tall central defenders, Haydn Ward, and James Stafford, gobbled up anything that Selby tried to fashion aerially. This made it difficult for Town to create anything of note especially with their persistent long balls. The ball kept coming straight back at their defenders. This was a continuing pattern throughout the game. 

For Selby, Luke Sellers fed Harry Clapham out wide, but he was unable to find a killer cross. Meanwhile, Myles Lawman picked the ball up in midfield, and drove at the defence only to shoot well wide. Liam Flanagan was able to make progress down Selby’s left, cutting in to make room for his shot. Unfortunately, his attempt for the far corner was well wide. Moments later, Flynn McNaughton tried his luck wide on Town’s right, but his cross was claimed by the Parkgate goalkeeper. Myles Lawman, again, advanced only to scuff his shot, which didn’t trouble the goalkeeper. Parkgate were being neat and tidy with their passing, but the Selby defence and midfield were doing a very good job of keeping their opponents away from goal. Dylan Parkin was not troubled by a shot from distance, but soon after, had to make a brilliant point blank save, as a Parkgate attacker got behind Town’s defence. The ball rebounded out, and fortunately for the Robins, the follow up was blasted over the bar.  With the minutes ticking away in the first half, Parkgate took control of the game, and Selby’s attacks became something of a rarity. Town were giving away free kicks and Parkgate were proving themselves to be dangerous from set pieces, whether they were free kicks, corners, or long throws. On 31 minutes, Parkgate had the ball in the Selby net, only for their celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.

Parkgate had three separate headers from set pieces, which were glanced just wide of the Selby goal.  Selby’s best chance of the half came moments from the half-time whistle when a Flynn McNaughton’s cross from Selby’s right was met by Harry Clapham’s head, as he stretched at full speed to reach the ball. Unfortunately, what was a rocket header, flashed just wide of the goal.  Goalless at half time, with the half just shaded by the hosts.  At the start of the second half, Jon-Paul Vass entered the fray, with Myles Lawman being withdrawn. He didn’t have chance to touch the ball before Parkgate opened the scoring.  With the first attack of the half, Zak Khalifa, who was a thorn in the Selby side all game, made progress toward the by-line on Town’s right. A cross into the middle caused panic stations. A couple of shots were blocked, one a wonderful point blank save from the floor by Dylan Parkin. However, the ball bounced just outside of the penalty area, and sat up nicely to enable the advancing Will Wraith to smash the ball into the net. Whatever is said about the Selby Town team, it certainly cannot be said that their heads drop after conceding a goal. Town set about restoring parity, and it didn’t take them long. Flynn McNaughton took the ball on Selby’s right. With something that has become familiar so far this season, he turned inside, defender in his wake, before smashing a left foot shot beyond the goalkeeper. Parkgate were not going to take this lying down, and battled to regain supremacy. Soon, the defence was being bombarded with free kicks and corners.

A header went just over the bar, and a header from a long throw trickled wide of the far post. Dylan Parkin pushed a shot around the post at full stretch, as Town’s back line stood tall, and refused to give their opposition an inch.  Dan Davison was struggling with injury, and was replaced by Gracjan Klimczak, who immediately gave the opposition defence something more to think about, linking well with those around him. It was this link up play that set up the ever willing Harry Clapham on a run toward the by-line. In full, flight he was clipped by a Parkgate defender. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.  Up stepped Liam Flanagan, the king of the set piece, to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.  Despite going a goal up, Parkgate streamed forward once again. There were anxious moments, particularly from set pieces, but in the main, the hard-working Town players were able to keep Parkgate at bay. Mainly, Parkgate shots were from distance, and not threatening, but, again, a couple of headers were not far away.  In the later stages, Selby were counter attacking. Clapham and Vass both had attempts that skimmed just wide of the goal.  With everyone, bar the Parkgate goalkeeper, in the Selby Town half for a free kick, the final whistle was blown, just after Parkin made a great claim under pressure from attackers and defenders alike.  Three well-earned points against a team that always seem to make it hard for the Robins. Not a flamboyant attacking performance, but a hard-working, solid performance, giving nothing to their opponents. 

Following the match, chairman of Selby Town FC, Dave Haddock, reflected on the victory and the season for the Robins thus far. He said: “It was a well-fought three points gained today at Parkgate who are always a tough team to beat at home. “Hopefully the results of the last couple of games will help to calm some of the negativity that seemed to be growing in places. “Are we perfect? Of course not, and the lads and management team are their own biggest critics, they know what needs to be done and having conceded just two in the last three games it’s a massive step in the right direction. “But in the dressing room, spirits are high, the lads are happy with no less than a win, and on the pitch some of the individual performances from players have been nothing short of outstanding. “There’s a long road ahead of us, but we’re definitely on the right track and picking up speed. Well done to the lads and to the management team, keep up the good work.” Report by Phil Dearnley and photos by Ian Manewell.

Liam Flanagan steps up to give Selby a 1-2 lead against Parkgate. (09-09-32 SU)

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