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Key week afoot for Pickering Town
2:56pm Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Sport
A SURGE of form which has powered Pickering Town to the semi-finals of the North Riding Senior Cup and a season’s best sixth position in the Northern Counties East League premier division now faces its biggest scrutiny.
The next eight days could well determine just how successful the campaign will be for manager Jimmy Reid’s revitalised ranks.
They entertain Thackley on Saturday in the NCEL top tier hard on the heels of an impressive 4-0 mauling of Hall Road Rangers and then play host to Guisborough Town three days later in the bid to reach the North Riding Senior Cup final.
That crunch cup collision is then followed by a league trip to table-topping Scarborough Athletic.
Said Reid: “It promises to be a cracking three matches over those eight days and will hopefully show that we are going the right way.”
The Pikes boss was thrilled by the rampage his men revelled in to see off Hall Road for their third premier division win on the spin.
Said a delighted Reid: “It wasn’t a great pitch but we stuck at it.
“We knew that once we’d get a goal that we’d get more and after Chris Gowen scored their heads went down.
“But to get a clean sheet and four goals is what every manager is looking for and it shows we are still going along in the right way.”
A poor surface hardly helped the Pikes at Hall Road but they still took control in the second half.
Substitute Gowen opened the scoring after 68 minutes with an angled tap-in before Liam Shepherd doubled the advantage six minutes later with a well-taken free-kick from 22 yards.
Steve Baxter, with three minutes left, and a header from Joe Danby 60 seconds later completed the rout.
Pickering: Bramley, Reid, Cass, Readman, Sturdy (Gowan 45), Taylor, Patterson, Heads, Baxter, Salt (Danby 77), Shepherd (Dalton 81). Sub not used: Braithwaite.
Reid’s men booked their Guisborough tie with a 2-0 win against nine-men Grangetown, played at Thornaby’s Teesdale Park ground because the home side’s pitch does not have floodlights.
Grangetown knocked the Pikes out of the competition last year so the visitors were looking for revenge.
Liam Salt twice went close, his second effort appearing to go over the goalline but not given by the match officials, before Grangetown were reduced to 10 men on 27 minutes when Alan Shepherd was sent off after his second bookable offence.Salt had the chance to put his side in front but home ’keeper Brendan Slater saved well from his spot-kick and, after the two teams went in level at the break, it was Grangetown who started the second half in more determined fashion.
But when Darren Morrison was dismissed for using foul and abusive language, it was only a matter of time before the Pikes got on top.
Salt scored after 54 minutes with a free kick and Gowen and John Heads both had good chances for the Pikes before the game was won by Ged Dalton, who fired into an empty net from 35 yards after Slater had gone up for a Grangetown corner.
Pickering: McDowell, Reid T, Gowen, Readman, Sturdy, Taylor (Danby 59), Patterson, Heads, Baxter (Dalton 75), Salt (Fenwick 84), and Shepherd. Cass not used.
Thackley, who visit the Recreation Ground on Saturday (3pm kick off), are currently a place below the Pikes in the NCEL table and both teams have 52 points from their 30 games. Pickering lost 1-0 in the reverse fixture back in September.
• PICKERING Town Under-19s booked their place in the semi-finals of the Pat Rice Trophy with a 4-1 win at Eccleshill United.
Sam Calvert and Eddie Cass put them into a 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes and, although Austin Hart pulled a goal back for the home side, a second Calvert goal a minute before half-time restored the Pikes’ two goal advantage.
In the second half, Jack Riley’s goal made it an emphatic victory.