Pickering Town suffer Liam Salt blow – but goals still flow

Gazette & Herald: Liam Salt Liam Salt

ALL-TIME club record goalscorer Liam Salt may miss the rest of Pickering Town’s season following surgery.

The goal-getter had an operation on Christmas Eve as he bids to get to the root of a knee injury that has kept him out since pre-season.

Salt, inset, went down in a friendly against Scarborough Athletic and a scan revealed a cartilage tear.

It was initially hoped he might be back for Christmas but manager Mitch Cook said he would probably now miss the rest of the Northern Counties East League premier division campaign.

Joe Danby has filled the gap admirably in his absence – netting 25 goals so far this season, two of which came in the Pikes’ 6-1 demolition of 10-man Maltby Main on Saturday.

“I watched the game where Liam got injured,” said Cook. “You knew straight away it would be a long time before he played again.

“He had an operation on his knee on Christmas Eve and, hopefully, it gets to the root of the problem.

“It will probably be a month or two before he is looking to get back into it and, realistically, that could be him out for the rest of the season.”

Without him, Pickering are still the premier division’s most prolific scorers this season with 88 goals in 28 games following their sextet at the weekend.

This result moved the club up to sixth in the table, and the catalyst for the rout came when Maltby’s Shawn Mitchell was red-carded after a quarter of an hour when he brought down Danby with the Pickering forward clean through.

Ged Dalton then gave the home side the lead with 33 minutes on the clock, and they doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time when Danby tapped in from close range from Robbie Hawkes’ cross.

Sam Forster gave 10-man Maltby a brief ray of hope 10 minutes into the second half with a superb 25-yard volley.

It meant little, however. Chris Batchelor’s free kick, within three minutes, restored Pickering’s two-goal advantage and Danby then hit a post and shot wide as the visitors tired. The dam burst in the last 10 minutes.

Simon Hickey put through his own net, Daniel O’Connor – a teenage substitute – got on the scoresheet for Pickering and Danby netted again from close range after O’Connor surged away down the wing.

Pickering: Myers, Hawkes (Burns 80), Batchelor, Patterson, Hackworth, Calvert (Nock 63), Dalton (O’Conner 76), Taylor, Danby, Beadle, Greening. Sub not used: Giles.

Cook said: “We kept passing the ball and moving it around and they tired out. We were pleased with what we did. We had an opportunity to go for goals and we did that.

“It’s brilliant to have scored 88 goals before the turn of the year.”

Asked about his hopes for 2014, Cook added: “Without it wanting to sound like a cliché, with the way I came into the club and the upheaval it caused you just hope the players you have can stay fit.

“We approach every game in a really positive manner and we try to play football. Each game we go for three points and we will see where that takes us at the end of the season.

“As for the rest of the year, we will look at whether we can improve the squad.

“Liam Salt should be available at some point through the year and we will look to bring another couple of players in. The lads will be giving it a real go and we will look to utilise the under-19s.”

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