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Match report: Selby Town 0 - 2 Beverley Town

Beverley came away from this Boxing Day local-ish derby at Selby with two goals, another clean sheet and a valuable three points that keeps them handily placed, despite having several matches in hand on most of their rivals. In fairness, the Robins offered little goal threat and Beverley were able to win despite not being at their best, with a heavy pitch and lack of gametime for many taking its toll in a scrappy second half. While this might not have been a Christmas cracker, the visitors easily avoided being made to look like turkeys (that’s the end of the Christmas references – maybe).

Festive fixtures can throw up any number of challenges and surprises, and Beverley showed great professionalism in avoiding this particular banana skin, wonderfully organised by James Piercy and Matt Plummer at the back, with Nathan Hotte controlling midfield. The return of Josh Batty after more than three months out through injury, with his last appearance ironically being against Selby in the 5-1 home thrashing in early September, was a huge plus, as was the fact that so many players got some minutes under their belt to go with the mince pies, following a frustrating lack of action throughout November and December.

There were three changes to the side that impressed in the 3-0 win at Harrogate Town, with Batty, Luka Suluburic and Luke Sellers replacing Scott Phillips, Olly Baldwin and Lawrence Heward, with a strong bench including Nathan Ofori, back from suspension. Cheered on by a wonderful following of Beavers (and squirrels), who drowned out a Selby crowd seemingly still sleepy from overindulging, Beverley were the better side in the opening exchanges, and keeper Alfie Burnett did well to save Grant Tait’s strong free-kick after 10 minutes. Two minutes later, Beverley took the lead, with Plummer’s flick-on being spilled by the keeper under pressure, and Piercy jabbed the ball home from close range for his second of the season, and just the start Beverley had hoped for. Plummer was booked shortly after by referee Joshua Brayshaw, who controlled the game well and, along with his linesmen, got the vast majority of the decisions right.

Selby lacked the pace, precision and experience to show any signs of equalising, with the Beavers having the better chances in the half, albeit none of them clear cut, and Joe McFadyen, Batty and Tait all went close without seriously threatening the back of the net, and both sides were guilty of gifting away possession too easily to build up momentum. The second half started to the strains of Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M (not something I ever thought I’d be writing in a match report), and there was little in the second half to suggest that the Beavers wouldn’t be driving home for Christmas with three points in the bag. The only blot on the landscape was a concerning injury to the outstanding Kai Larkin five minutes into the half, with Ofori coming off the bench to form an effective midfield partnership alongside Hotte.

Batty had the clearest chance to double the lead on the hour as he was played through, but blazed his shot over the bar, although 10 minutes later he finished arguably a more difficult chance with aplomb. Once again played through the defence as Selby pushed up, Batty curled a powerful shot over the keeper and into the top corner, with less time to think than his earlier chance, and his instinctive finish was just reward for a great first match back in the starting line-up. Tired legs were replaced in the final quarter, and Selby still couldn’t muster a clear chance, with Ben Hinchliffe going close on a couple of occasions, before the home side were put out of their misery and the final whistle ended a thoroughly productive afternoon for the Beavers.



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