Albion brought the curtain down on their season with a difficult looking trip to North Yorkshire to face mid-table Northallerton Town. In what was to be manager John Wilson’s final game as team manager, Ryton got off to a dreadful start finding themselves a goal down within two minutes of the kick off when Phil Hodges brought down Town’s Thomas Atkinson in the box & referee Matthew East had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick. Andrew RAMSBOTTOM stepped up to slot the ball past recalled keeper Greg Purvis to give the Yorkshiremen a dream start & leave RACA with a familiar uphill battle.
It was the hosts applying the pressure as Ryton sat deep & Purvis had to be alert on 9 minutes to cut out a dangerous low cross from Andrew Ramsbottom to namesake Aaron who’d ran into a menacing position. Town continued to enjoy most of the possession without threatening to increase the lead as Albion defence restricted their hosts to the odd wayward shot from distance.
RACA began to push further forward & the move was to have an instant effect as they created their first chance on 25 minutes when Ryan Burnyeat struck in a decent shot that Town keeper Matthew Calvert had to dive low to block. A minute later, Burnyeat played in Mario Kastrati whose shot was pushed out for a corner. RACA were starting to play some of the attractive football that had been their hallmark earlier in the season, & on the half hour mark Josh Holland & Will Forsyth linked up well, Forsyth laying the ball to Burnyeat who cleverly lobbed Calvert only for Andrew Ramsbottom to heroically dive down to head the ball off the line injuring himself in the process. However BURNYEAT had only to wait another minute to get his goal when Forsyth found him in space & he stabbed the ball home to score Albion’s first away goal in 431 minutes of football on the road. There was to be nowhere near as long to wait for the next goal, a mere nine minutes when Holland went on a mazy run before laying the ball off to Darren GRAHAM, & the defender fired the ball through a forest of legs & into the net to get his first goal for the club.
Northallerton were looking rattled but responded well on 43 minutes when Atkinson latched on to a clever through ball, then raced forward into the Ryton box, but before he could get his shot in he was dispossessed by a great sliding tackle from Callum Turnbull & the narrow advantage was preserved.
HT NORTHALLERTON 1 RACA 2
Town replaced Atkinson with Stuart Owen at the interval to try & liven things up front & on 50 minutes Andrew Ramsbottom made a great run then put in a dangerous cross which Leigh Shickle did well to hook to safety with a posse of black & white shirts bearing down on him. Albion were next to threaten the goal on 55 minutes when Kastrati beat two men then found Holland darting forward, but Calvert did well to close Holland right down before he could get any angle on his shot.
Owen forced Albion to concede a corner when Shickle had to knock his cross out on the hour mark, & from the corner Jason Newall epitomised Town’s shooting performance when he scooped the ball over Purvis’s bar.
Albion went closer on 63 minutes when Forsyth played the ball to Phil Robinson who raced through & fired towards goal only to see Calvert just flick his foot up as he dived & clip the ball out for a corner.
For all Town’s endeavours to get a leveller, they were thwarted by a solid Ryton defence with Adam Chrostowski in particular right back to his very best, putting in a whole host of telling tackles to frustrate the hosts. Colin Anderson & Ben Darville were brought on for Town & after a spell of Northallerton pressure, Darville shot not too far wide, while James Muir got one on target but it was an easy gather for Purvis. If there was to be another goal, Albion looked the more likely to get it, & on 74 minutes Holland burst forward then fired a square ball to Burnyeat who dummied it, catching out the Town defence as the ball ran on to Forsyth who struck a decent shot that went narrowly wide.
Holland was involved in the last chance of the game, beating the offside trap but being denied by Calvert who had closed him right down & blocking the shot.
Albion brought on Scott Gunn for the last four minutes, his first appearance since his long term toe injury, & his fresh legs caused the Town defence a few problems. However there was to be no more goalmouth action & Mr East’s whistle heralded the end of a pleasing performance for Albion & an even better season.
FT NORTHALLERTON 1 RACA 2
Albion completed an unexpected double over Town & jumped two places to finish a very credible 12th position with 58 points. Northallerton finished 10th & will hope their 63 point haul will see them qualify for next season’s FA Cup.
NORTHALLERTON- Calvert, Muir, Gunnell, Newall, Tunstall, Butterworth (Anderson 65), Andrew Ramsbottom, Knox, Atkinson (Owen 45), Aaron Ramsbottom (Darville 65), McLachlan. Subs Not Used- Mellanby, Reaks
ALBION- Purvis, Graham, Shickle, Hodges, Turnbull, Chrostowski, P Robinson, Kastrati, Burnyeat (S Gunn 86), Holland, Forsyth. Subs Not Used- Stoddart, Gillespie, Upperton, McMeekin
REFEREE – Matthew East