By John Clothier

Tadcaster Albion 0 Marske United 2

A BITTERLY cold afternoon welcomed the players on to a pitch ready for battle despite the inclement conditions of the previous few days.

The Brewers had a full squad from which to choose – new manager Paul Quinn was in the stand to cast an early eye over his new charges as Steve Waide took his place in the dug out.

There was a minute’s silence for Remembrance Sunday as a lone bugler played the Last Post.

A long Marske throw signalled the visitors' intention early on but Andy Milne calmly headed it away. Taddy came straight back with a slick move between Will Annan and Donald Chimalilo but the final ball out to Kevin Santos on the right of the box was just too far for the winger.

With five minutes gone, Louis Johnson, whose speed and flair would be a thorn in the Brewers' side for the entire match, raced down the left flank, cut inside and forced the agile Aaron Burn into a low save whilst the home side’s first goalmouth action saw Alex Wiles hit and hope from distance but it was off target.

Marske looked eager and dangerous in the early exchanges and really should have opened the scoring on nine minutes when Johnson was thwarted by the excellent positioning of Burn at point blank range. Wiles skipped beyond two blue shirts but the low shot was straight at keeper Norton.

On 14 minutes the Seasiders made a strong penalty appeal quite correctly ignored by referee Bacon but as they continued to bombard the Taddy goal, Maloney slewed a gift of a chance wide of the post. Burn was quite brilliant in denying Johnson in a one on one but the Marske sharpshooter was adjudged offside regardless.

With the Brewers very much under the cosh and restricted to breakaways, it seemed inevitable that the visitors would soon take the lead. The man most likely, Johnson, won a free kick just outside the left of the box and as the ball was driven across the face of the goal, Ioan Evans turned it off his head and onto the underside of the cross bar before the ball dropped into the back of the net.

Credit to the men in Yellow and blue, they were straight back looking to the redress the balance and on any other day Wiles 20-yard screamer would have been enough but on this occasion it was deflected onto the top of the bar.

At the mid-point of the half Craig Golf blasted the ball into the car park and moments later Curtis Round followed suit but it was indicative of the pressure Taddy were under. Mitchell Pattinson put in a good run down the wing finding Santos near the by-line but he was swamped before he could get the cross in.

Maloney also cleared by bar on the half hour and on 32 minutes Stephenson met a 25-yard free kick to head into the back of the net but fortuitously he was offside. Two minutes later Tadcaster had to thank both the cross bar and a fabulous tip over from Burn, again at point blank, range for keeping the deficit down to a single goal.

A second Marske goal duly arrived on 39 minutes; Johnson powered down the flank and dinked the ball to the waiting Round who had a simple tap in.

Annan tried a speculative 25 yarder which was not so far away as half timed beckoned whilst Santos went on a Chimalilo type run beating three defenders, before being dispossessed. The Brewers hung on for the sanctuary of half time but there needed to be changes if anything was to be salvaged from the match.

Lebrun Mbeka was on for Jake Rose for the start of the second half and although it heralded a much better start, Tadcaster were soon chasing back as Round shot down the left flank finding Stephenson who went perilously close. That said Taddy looked more like their old selves for the remainder of the game but it seemed a mountain to climb against a well organised Seasiders' defence and the very fast free flowing attacks.

On 54 minutes Jake Day showed all his strength as he held off two defenders, flipped the ball over his head but pulled the final shot wide. Jack Walters put in a good chip to Day but Norton got there first. Alfie Beestin replaced Annan to re-energise the home midfield.

Johnson unleashed a finger stinger just passed the hour mark but Burn was as steady as a rock and Mbeka’s presence in the middle of the park was starting to pay dividends. Chimalilo and Santos combined well on 67 minutes before the cross was headed wide. Walters put Santos away to the by-line but Day took the delightful chip off the head of the waiting Evans.

Chimalilo did well to put Day through but again Norton read the situation and produced a fine low save near the far upright – the Seasiders shot stopper needed the physio but was able to continue. At the other end Johnson continued to cause problems but again his goal-bound effort on 75 minutes was touched over by Burn.

With Dipo Olaosun replacing Pattinson it was very much the last chance for the Brewers to salvage something from a much better second half performance and with eight minutes to go it was so close; a free kick for Tadcaster was floated into the six yard area – Wiles's initial effort was cleared but only as far as the waiting Beestin but he could not find space through a melee of defenders to get sufficient power in a shot - a toe-poke would have been enough but Marske were in no mood to surrender anything!

In the last minute of normal time Wiles pulled the ball back from the by-line but Milne was off balance and could not do justice to the chance. In the second minute of added time Chimalilo tried a speculative 25 yarder but it was over the bar.

It ended 0 -2 and the Brewers dropped to sixth in the league one place outside of the play offs. Paul Quinn will have seen enough to suggest that this team is still a force to be reckoned with.

Next Saturday’s game with Clitheroe will not be easy - they sit in third position in the table with 24 points from 24 games against Tadcaster’s 20 from 17 games. And Marske? – up to second, three points behind Workington with two games in hand on the league leaders. It’s tight at the top!

Burn, Pattinson (Olaosun), Walters, Rose (Mbeka), Evans, Milne, Chimalilo, Wiles, Day, Annan (Beestin), Dos Santos. Subs Not Used; Porritt, Lomelin-Fox.

Attendance: 327