PICKERING Town will be glad to have Liam Salt back for the quick-fire return visit of derby rivals Tadcaster Albion on Saturday.
The 21-goal top scorer, inset, sat out the 2-0 defeat at Parkgate at the weekend due to a one-match suspension for collecting five cautions – and he was badly missed.
The defeat ended a mini-revival for Jimmy Reid’s men which had begun with a surprise 2-0 win at Tadcaster a fortnight ago.Parkgate started well on Saturday, with Craig Fletcher going close early on following a cross by Sam Smith.
The Pikes had a good chance when Liam Shepherd, left, was denied by a good block by debutant home defender Callum Westney, but opportunities continued to come at the other end, with Fletcher and Smith sending efforts off-target, the latter after creative play by David Cockerill.
Just before half-time, Adam Shepherd supplied a lovely through ball for Fletcher to run onto, but Pikes goalkeeper Arran Reid saved superbly to maintain the stalemate.
Parkgate played the better football after the break.
A well-taken Cockerill free-kick looked promising but came to nothing, before the opening goal of the game arrived after 61 minutes when Adam Shepherd supplied a pass through to Smith, who did not have to break stride as he stroked the ball into the corner of the net.
The Pikes stepped up their game looking for an equaliser but Parkgate’s defence were in determined mood, so much so that their ’keeper, Rob Poulter, had a quiet time.
Parkgate doubled their lead after 83 minutes when substitute Martyn Lee strongly held off a defender to supply Fletcher, who struck home confidently to seal victory and complete a league double over the Ryedale outfit, following a 4-0 win at Mill Lane in early September.
Reid’s men, now 14th in the standings, will have to step up their game to likewise complete a double over Tadcaster, who currently lie sixth 11 points ahead of their Ryedale rivals, albeit having played two games more. Albion have stuttered lately, though, their loss to Pickering being followed by another 2-0 home defeat to Heanor on Saturday.
Pickering: A Reid, T Reid, Gowen, Readman, Sturdy, Taylor (Craig 62), Ramm, Heads, Danby, Dalton (Clarke 55), Shepherd (Fenwick 71). Attendance: 86.
Meanwhile, Pickering Under-19s have been drawn at Eccleshill Utd in the quarter-finals of the Northern U19s Alliance’s Pat Rice Trophy, with the game to be played in the second week of January.
• Ex-Pickering players bagged seven goals between them as leaders Bridlington Town rattled up the biggest win of the Northern Counties East League premier division season on Saturday – thrashing strugglers Nostell Miners Welfare 11-0.
Josh Greening hit a hat-trick, Carl Stewart two, and Chris Batchelor and Nathan Cook one apiece. Craig Hogg (2) and Ashley Allanson (2) were the other marksmen.