REPORT | Opening Day Defeat For Albion
By Jay Taylor
Tadcaster Albion kicked off the new season in disappointing fashion as two second half goals saw Carlton Town leave Yorkshire with maximum points.
After an uninspiring first half, the visitors broke the deadlock on 56 minutes courtesy of Oliver Robinson before Aaron Mpoku sealed the win late on with a classy free-kick. The Brewers are yet to avoid defeat in their Evo-Stik history after previous losses at Hyde and Ramsbottom. After a positive pre-season, this performance definitely left a lot to be desired as the hard work starts now.
The management team opted to go with Mitch Langton ahead of Corey Roper after the former North Ferriby man impressed across the course of pre-season. Leeds United goalkeeper Harrison Male made his Tadcaster debut deputising for number one Michael Ingham. Morton and Collins also handed a competitive debut to Jack Vann in defence with Josh Barrett missing the three previous Saturdays.
The season was just five minutes old when Male was called into action for the first time. A travelling half-volley from full-back Oliver Robinson was terrifically pushed onto the upright by the young Leeds United stopper.
Carlton started the contest much the brighter with Albion struggling to get out of their own half and having to hack several corners and crosses away to safety.
Tadcaster’s back three of Vann, Coates and Barkworth were happy enough to share the ball between themselves but it quickly broke down when playing into the forward areas.
The home side, who would have certainly been deemed favourites for this fixture, finally ventured forward with purpose and intent. A couple of neat touches from Ellis Barkworth and Aiden Savory set Casey Stewart free to drive into the penalty area only for the attacker to jink inside and fire straight at Jack Steggles in the Town goal.
Stewart went even closer to finding the net moments later when heading Aaron Hardy’s clipped free-kick on target only for Steggles to superbly spring a hand up in double quick time to tip over.
It was certainly an improvement from the Brewers as the half went on and the Carlton keeper was tested again on 35 minutes. After a lengthy period of possession, Billy Whitehouse played a promising one-two with Savory before Mitch Langton struck goalwards but the shot lacked power.
Steggles was in inspired form for the visitors as he was positioned perfectly once again. Before the chance materialised, the raucous Carlton management team berated the officials as they felt Stewart had fouled number six Jordan Pick, nevertheless play went on. Stewart cleverly skipped by Edward Clarke and drove forward before sliding Aiden Savory in down the left-hand side who’s low strike was well read by Steggles.
After a laborious start from Taddy, there were positive signs going into the second half as a breakthrough looked likely. However, it was Carlton who came out strong after the break taking the lead eleven minutes in.
Riece Bertram’s lofted in free-kick caused to be Albion’s undoing as Harrison Male came to punch but misjudged the flight of the ball leading to Oliver Robinson finding the net, how much of it he knew about remains to be seen.
Messrs Morton and Collins had to make a change as things weren’t improving, they opted for a double change with Josh Barrett and Joe Lumsden entering the fray. The latter, who wasn’t 100% fit after only returning back from injury last week, did make an impact as Taddy eventually began to turn the screw.
With 20 minutes left to turn their fortunes around, intensity started to be increased with the ball moving quicker through the thirds, but the efforts on goal from Lumsden and Savory continued to be tame and lacking in power.
Having said that, Josh Barrett was next to go close and his thunderous strike certainly wasn’t lacking in power as it soared agonisingly wide with Steggles at full stretch.
As frustration began to grow around the ground, Taddy were pushing hard for a way back into the opening day contest and Lumsden’s introduction was unlocking certain doors. A clipped ball down the right-hand channel set the forward away with fifteen minutes to go but his guided volley was comfortable for the keeper.
For as much as Steggles’ name has been mentioned, his save to deny Stewart in the first half was the only eye-catching one but he did pull off another impressive stop to keep out the same man with ten minutes to go. Hardy’s free-kick was nodded down by Harry Coates and instinctively nodded towards the corner by Stewart only for Steggles to fly to his left and push clear.
As tensions expectedly rose going into the dying stages, Albion had a glorious chance to draw level when Billy Whitehouse set Joe Lumsden in behind Bertram but the striker couldn’t quite touch the ball round the advancing Steggles who gleefully claimed.
With the Brewers throwing all but Barrett and Coates forward in the hope of salvaging something, this obviously left the option of a counter on for the visitors and they almost exploited this opportunity when substitute Mamoke Akaunu burst into the box but was denied brilliantly by Male.
However the win and the points were well and truly sealed three minutes from time when Aaron Opoku beautifully bent a free-kick around the wall and into the back of the net from 25 yards out. Carlton's hunger and desire proved to be the difference on a day where the Brewers were lacklustre.
This confirmed Taddy’s poor start to their third season in the Evo-Stik, performance levels will have to be upped going into Tuesday night’s trip to Sheffield FC.
Full-Time: Tadcaster Albion 0-2 Carlton Town
Tadcaster: Male, Hardy, Walters (Lumsden 67), Coates, Vann, Barkworth (Barrett 67), Whitehouse, Langton (Baker 78), Savory, Davidson©, Stewart
Unused: Roper, Mycoe
Carlton: Streggles, Robinson, Fletcher, Bertram, Clarke, Pick, Kyhle, Smithson, Opoku (Frost 90), Hutchinson© (Akaunu 76), Tomlinson
Subs: Stovell, Frost, Akaunu, Stokes
Referee: Matthew Sowerby