Tadcaster Albion rise to historic table topping position

hsb  Tadcaster Albion v Nostell Miners Welfare. Number 3.  (130914M5a)
hsb Tadcaster Albion v Nostell Miners Welfare. Number 3. (130914M5a)

Tadcaster Albion rose to the top of the NCEL Premier for the first time in their history after four second-half goals disposed off Long Eaton United 4-1 at the 2inspire Stadium.

Striker Carl Stewart scored two sublime goals minutes after the restart before Josh Barrett and captain Nick Thompson settled the three points.

United added a late consolation to deny Albion a clean-sheet but for most of the second period the East Midlanders looked rattled.

And with league leaders Thackley failing to overcome Bridlington Town, Paul Marshall’s men climbed into pole position, their highest ever placing in the football pyramid.

The three points also stretched The Brewers unbeaten league streak to 10 games.

An air of optimism surrounded Ings Lane before kick-off as supporters gossiped about the vision of a new ownership deal with York company Inspire2Independence.

Many of those conversations continued long into the match as both sides cancelled each other out in a drab first period.

The East Midland visitors started brightly and threatened twice down the left flank, but on both occasions a weak final ball made the moves easy to clear.

Albion youngster Barrett snarled down the right wing, taking on his man when space emerged. And the winger found Stewart on the edge of the area, only for the striker to acrobatically fire his shot over the bar.

Barrett was again in the action after switching from right to left, dragging a half-volley into the ground and a yard past the post.

The match lacked quality. Too many passes were being misplaced, dribbles over-run or ideas mixed up.

Albion forwards Stuart Rice and Vincent Dhesi struggled to find any rhythm as the United defence swallowed up any progressive attacks.

And the visitors kept searching for outlet Brad Wells to carry their front-line. The left-winger carved his opposing full-back Hiza open with consecutive breaks, and he was unlucky not to earn a penalty when both players tangled just inside the area.

Complacency etched across several Albion faces. They sauntered back to the dressing room at the break short of ideas.

But Marshall re-engaged his troops.

And within two minutes, Tad broke the deadline. Stewart and Rice poured forward from a long ball from ‘keeper Leon Wrigglesworth.

A defensive howler presented Stewart with the ball on the edge of the area and the prolific hitman eased the ball over stranded visiting goalkeeper Tom Gutteridge.

United also came out of the blocks quickly. Left-back Danny Gordon stung Wrigglesworth’s palms with a low drive.

But the game was soon taken away from them. Dhesi was fouled 25 yards out, and Stewart floated a magnificent free-kick perfectly inside the top corner. Gutteridge was again left awe-struck.

Marshall’s high-fliers soon found a sharper comfort to their play.

And Barrett added a third strike in 15 minutes as he nodded home a deep Rice cross.

With the points as good as secured, Stewart, who played with a heavily strapped knee, was given a 30 minute rest.

However, Albion continued to pry for more.

Terry Taylor’s shot dribbled along the floor before captain Thompson surged through to toe-poke in his side’s fourth.

That goal summed up an improved showing from the skipper, especially once moved further up the field as Richard Batley replaced Dhesi.

Josh Barrett’s brother Dan also made a lively introduction up front, cutting inside onto his favoured right boot and clipping the outside of the post with a shot from distance.

There was still time for Eaton’s skipper Shaun Rickford to bag a consolation, a solitary reminder his side were in the contest.

That goal denied Albion a clean-sheet they deserved.

But the three points wrapped up a historic moment for the club and they celebrated rising to the pinnacle of the Toolstation NCEL Premier.