Thackley returned to league action yesterday evening, facing Pickering Town in a match within the NCEL Premier Division. Adjustments were made to the lineup compared to the FA Cup match over the weekend. Ellison-Top took the place of A. Mitchell on the flanks, while Greaves assumed the role up front instead of Green.
Thackley initiated their offensive efforts in the 5th minute, as Ellison-Tope aimed a shot from outside the penalty area, met by the keeper’s save. This seemed to awaken Pickering Town, who responded with a header attempt wide in the 8th minute, followed by a shot from the edge of the box sailing over the bar in the 11th minute. On the 27th minute, J. Mitchell unleashed a powerful strike from the outskirts of the area, but the Pickering Town keeper managed to fend it off.
The 29th minute saw Greaves and a defender from the visiting team each receiving yellow cards following a confrontation. This incident sparked a series of opportunities for Thackley.
Claridge found himself in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, but resilient defending thwarted his attempt, allowing the keeper to make the save. In the 36th minute, Greaves attempted to chip the keeper, but his shot narrowly missed the target.
Moments later, Ellison-Tope had an opportunity at the back post, but his shot sailed just over the crossbar. The final chance of the first half went to the visitors, but their close-range effort cleared the bar.
Greaves made a notable effort for Thackley in the 50th minute, displaying nimble footwork inside the box to create space for a well-struck shot, only to be denied by the keeper.
Thackley’s goalkeeper, Wilson, then made a significant impact on the match, executing impressive saves. In the 55th minute, Wilson thwarted a close-range shot after a favourable bounce for the visitors.
In the 61st minute, Wilson made a crucial fingertip save, redirecting a left-sided shot around the post. Substitutions were made on the 62nd and 71st minutes, with Chippendale being replaced by Green and Haigh stepping in for Billy. Yellow cards were swiftly shown to Parsons in the 75th minute and Green in the 76th minute. A double substitution occurred in the 79th minute, as Claridge and Ellison-Tope made way for Donovan and A. Mitchell.
As the match seemed to be heading towards a draw, Thackley intensified their efforts and secured the necessary goals. In the 86th minute, Greaves showcased skilful ball control within the box, evaded a defender, and struck a high shot into the net.
In the initial minute of added time, Green extended Thackley’s lead. A. Mitchell’s exceptional work in the corner enabled him to retrieve the ball, passing it to Green, who executed a remarkable strike into the upper left corner, sealing the victory and earning three points.
However, a slight twist emerged as Green received a second yellow card in the 96th minute, subsequently being shown a red card. This followed an apparent provocation from the visiting players.
Final Score: Thackley AFC 2 – 0 Pickering Town
After enduring late concessions in both league and FA Cup matches, Thackley displayed resilience and secured two late goals, culminating in a satisfying victory. The change in management for Pickering Town seemed to energize their team, contributing to a challenging encounter with few opportunities on either side. Nevertheless, the Thackley squad exhibited determination and claimed the coveted three points. The title of Man of the Match was awarded to full-back Ben McCready.