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Football: Strickland rolls back the years for Kirkbymoorside
2:31pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in Sport
PLAYER-BOSS Alex Strickland gave a virtuoso centre-forward performance which rolled back the years and inspired nine-man Kirkbymoorside to a thrilling 3-2 victory against Prudhoe Town.
The Moorsiders had Chris Rhodes sent off the in the first half and saw goalkeeper Marc Tansey follow late on – both for raising hands to opponents.
But they clung on for the three Wearside League points, led by veteran Strickland, who may not have the pace of years gone by but can still lead the line to great effect.
Top-half team Prudhoe recently beat Kirkby 3-1 in the cup but this time came up against a skilful and resilient outfit. The opening exchanges saw both sides have half-chances. Strick-land had a neat finish ruled offside and then forced a great stop from Prudhoe ’keeper Mark Fish.
But, after quarter of an hour, a loose Sarjo Cham pass was cut out and a simple ball over the top saw visiting striker Steve Foster outpace the defence and slot the ball home.
The Moorsiders roared back from the restart and Jordan Rivis found Jonathan Brown with a raking pass. Brown squared it to Strickland who finished first time to level.
End-to-end football followed at a furious pace and it took a combination of fine saves and heroic defending to keep it level.
The game then took a 40th-minute twist as Rhodes was sent off after a needless altercation, the visitors perhaps being fortunate to remain at full-strength.
It left Kirkby with an uphill task but, on the stroke of half-time, a Danny Bradbury corner was met by a towering Strickland header for a 2-1 advantage.
The visitors came out with a roar in the second half and levelled with a neat finish from the impressive Foster.
The home side still battled valiantly, with Tansey making several outstanding saves while fit-again Lee Bannister and his fellow defenders were throwing themselves in the way of everything.
Then, on 67 minutes, Brown picked the ball up near half-way, burst past two men and beat the advancing Fish with ease to restore the Moorsiders’ lead.
Prudhoe pressed hard again and, as home legs tired, Strickland was replaced by Jack Chadwick and Bradbury by Connor Campbell.
Still the home side clung on even after Tansey, on 89 minutes, became the second player to be red-carded, after a flare-up with an opponent who was trying to retrieve the ball for a quick corner.
Jordan Rivis took the gloves and the Moorsiders negotiated five frantic minutes of added time.
The confidence boost aside, Strickland knows he must stop the needless cards which, with fines and suspensions, depletes the squad for a heavy schedule from now until the end of the season, starting with Saturday’s visit of second-bottom Annfield Plain.
Kirkbymoorside: M Tansey, J Birbeck, P Hodgson, K Richardson, L Bannister, S Cham, J Rivis, C Rhodes, A Strickland, J Brown, D Bradbury. Subs: J Chadwick, C Campbell. Attendance: 25.