Hat-trick Harry has Robins taking flight

August 30, 2021

Brigg Town 3 Selby Town 4

The meeting of two unbeaten teams saw the Robins emerge victorious after their best performance to date.

A superb attacking performance, especially by hat-trick man, Harry Clapham, saw them three goals to the good before lost concentration nearly allowed Brigg to complete an unlikely comeback after being reduced to ten men. The result means that Selby are joint top of the fledgling league table, only third by goal difference. Selby Town welcomed their captain Ryan Gothard to his usual central defensive position. This allowed Luke Sellers to revert to his left-back slot.

Danny Snaith and Harry Sheppard continued as central defender and right-back. The midfield three and front three were as last Saturday. The first 15 minutes saw neither side assert their match-winning credentials. Early on, uncertain Selby defending allowed a Brigg shot that flashed just wide, but a fine run by Kain Rogerson saw him round the back of the Zebras defence. This time, it was his shot that zipped wide. There were signs that the Brigg defence was finding the pace of Harry Clapham, Flynn McNaughton and Liam Flanagan too hot to handle. Flanagan drew applause with a neat twist and turn, followed by a shot that whistled just over the top.

In response, a Brigg Town set-piece rattled the Selby bar and dropped down into the six-yard box, before being scrambled away by an anxious Selby defence. Moments later, McNaughton proved too quick for his markers, running to the by-line before seeing a desperate Brigg defender do enough to prevent Liam Flanagan from converting his cut back. Repeating the move, Flynn McNaughton set up Harry Clapham whose shot was scrambled away by the under-pressure Zebras defence inside the opening 20 minutes. Dylan Parkin was called into action on a couple of occasions, as the Selby defence was pushed back.

However, Brigg were not able to create gilt-edged goal chances. Flynn McNaughton, revelling in his relative freedom, had a couple of chances only to see the home keeper was equal to them both with excellent saves. It was looking as if half-time would arrive with a goalless stalemate, but this thought was shattered by the first of Harry Clapham’s goals. His pace was causing some real problems, and a pass played behind the Brigg defence, between the back line and goalkeeper, was perfect for the pacy forward to reach first and head beyond the exposed goalkeeper. Although close to half-time, Liam Flanagan was far too quick for the defence and bore down on goal, only to see the goalkeeper pull off a goal-saving, point-blank stop. A goal to the good at half-time, and if there was to be any criticism, it would be that Selby should have scored more.

The second half started with Selby looking to put the game to bed. Charlie Clamp fired over when the ball was pulled back to him, but it was Clapham whose quickfire double put the Robins in control. Played in behind the backline with too much pace for the attending defenders, he made no mistake when one on one with the goalkeeper. In the blink of an eye, he repeated the feat, in behind, and one on one, to score his second of the half to complete a hat-trick and continue his impressive run of form. Brigg Town kept plugging away, and a free-kick was played into the box, drawing a foul from a Selby defender. The referee did not hesitate to point to the spot, and the resulting penalty was coolly despatched beyond Dylan Parkin. Hearts were in mouths as Brigg continued to attack, and it took a brave point-blank save from Parkin to prevent another Zebras goal shortly after. Any anxiety was quickly dispelled, as another run down the flanks saw the ball passed inside to Flynn McNaughton. At the edge of the box, with two defenders for company, he calmly worked himself some space, before smashing a shot into the back of the net.

Selby were 1-4 in front, and that should have seen them calmly controlling the game to an inevitable conclusion. That was not to be, as a ten-minute disruption of play seemed to unsettle The Robins. They seemed to lose concentration, and their play lost all the cohesion that had made them so dangerous. This break saw mayhem around the Selby dugout and resulted in the Brigg Town manager and stand-in Selby manager, Ryan Cooper, being sent to the stands. The referee didn’t stop there, as a Brigg substitute was shown a red card. Not taking his medicine and walking off, the player advanced menacingly towards the dugout. More mayhem, as the player was restrained and persuaded to leave the field. When play resumed, the referee was soon brandishing another yellow card in a Brigg player’s direction. Three goals to the good, and with a man advantage, a Brigg Town comeback was not expected, but that is exactly what happened. Somehow fired up by events, Brigg Town set about mounting a challenge. Careless defending allowed Scott Phillips in on Dylan Parkin. He coolly slipped the ball past the goalkeeper.

A couple of minutes later, and the sleeping Selby defence allowed another, all too easy, Brigg goal. Looking nervous at the back and lacking cohesion in the midfield and attack, it looked like an unlikely equaliser was only a matter of time. Sam O’Malley came on to replace Ryan Gothard, who had taken a shot full in the face. The big man was a steadying influence. Selby’s defence managed to scramble their way back in the game, denying Brigg Town any clear cut chances. Whilst the Robins midfield had lost all semblance of control, Brigg Town were leaving big gaps in the defence. It took another point-blank save from the goalkeeper to prevent Harry Clapham from adding to his tally. Later in the half, Liam Flanagan was totally on his own behind the defence with only the goalkeeper to beat. Instead of easing the agony of those from Selby, he somehow managed to miss the target. Time added on following the disruption seemed endless, and all from Selby were very glad to hear the final whistle.

Selby Town celebrate their 3-4 victory against Brigg Town. (19-08-113 SU)

Report by Phil Dearnley and photo by Harvey Brewster.

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