After three defeats on the bounce, Shirebrook Town made a welcome return to winning ways with a comfortable 4-2 victory over North Yorkshire side Selby Town at Langwith Road on Saturday, and a brace of goals apiece for skipper Lee Bowler and recent signing Jake Vernon.
Shirebrook were not quite at full strength for the game and manager Gary Castledine picked himself to play the whole of the 90 minutes, and he said afterwards: “After the last couple of games it’s not only nice to get a win, but it’s also the manner of it.”
“I thought we passed the ball quite well, and we scored a few goals too, so all-in-all it’s a good three points.”
“Obviously we made a couple of mistakes, but if we try and pass the ball and try and do the right things then I’m not going to have a go at the players for making mistakes.”
It was only just over a fortnight since the sides last met at Langwith Road in the first round of the League Cup, with Shirebrook winning that one 2-1, but Selby were the first to show when home keeper Steve Boot was forced into an early fingertip save off David Heron’s rising shot from the corner of the box on the right.
But Shirebrook settled after that and Bowler set them on their way with a looping far-post headed goal that dropped in under the crossbar from Castledine’s corner on the right after nine minutes.
However, Boot was in action again at the other end with 21 minutes gone, denying Heron once more and then saving from Selby skipper Tom Summers off the corner that followed.
Nevertheless, Shirebrook continued to look to press home their advantage and Vernon scored his first goal for the club a minute later, doubling the home side’s lead from 12 yards, following good work by Antony Rowley down the left that had Selby keeper Tom Osborne and his defenders at sixes-and-sevens trying to clear the winger’s low cross at the near post.
Just after the half-hour keeper Osborne denied Vernon his second and three minutes before half-time Shirebrook had the ball in the Selby net again, but what would have been recent signing Christian Harrison’s first goal for the club was ruled out for offside.
Then, against the run of general play, Selby pulled a goal back right on the stroke of half-time when the ball fell kindly for Paul Jones after keeper Boot had saved well, and Jones scored across goal from 14 yards on the right.
In truth, Shirebrook should have been out of sight by half-time and any harsh words said in the home dressing room during the interval appeared to have the desired effect with Bowler restoring the home side’s two goal lead just before the hour, making it 3-1 with his second telling header of the game, Castledine once again the provider, this time from a 25-yard free-kick on the left.
And the points should have been safe for the home side from then on and, on 77 minutes, Rowley had a shot cleared off the line at the near post after taking the ball past Selby keeper Osborne in the box on the left.
But, with five minutes of the game remaining, Shirebrook overplayed the ball and gifted Selby a cheap corner, and the visitors clawed their way back into the game with a neat header from Liam Bennett into the far side of the net from Jones’ driven kick that came to him quickly at head height on the penalty spot.
Potentially, that made for a nervy end to the game, but three minutes later Vernon settled things down once more, drilling the ball into the Selby net from 16 yards off substitute Michael Taylor’s neat square pass that put him clear on the edge of the box.
Shirebrook are next in action with a trip to West Yorkshire side Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Bank Holiday Monday for a 3 o’clock kick-off.
And next Saturday Shirebrook are on the road once more, this time to Doncaster side Askern Villa, again for a 3 o’clock kick-off.
Shirebrook Town: Boot, Burgess, Newman, Timons, Bowler (Bray 88), Vella (Wilson 77), Rowley, R Cheetham, Harrison (Taylor 55), Castledine, Vernon. Subs not used: Parsons, Depass.
Selby Town: Osborne, Pearse, Dinsley, O’Neill, Summers (Emery 86), Grant, Bennett, Robinson, Heron, Jones, Jackson (Brigham H/T). Subs not used: Moore.
Referee: Michael Brownsett (West Yorkshire)