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Match report: Beverley Town 5 - 1 Selby Town

Beverley Town served up another thrilling evening of entertainment under the lights at Norwood Park, as they returned to winning ways with a 5-1 thrashing of Selby Town, with the 395 spectators in attendance adding to a brilliant atmosphere. The intensity and tempo that was sadly missing in the goalless draw at Horbury Town was here in full measure, creating an action-packed and frenetic match, with Selby ultimately having no answer to Beverley’s pace, power and energy. And some stunning goals added the icing to the top of a very tasty cake.

Lawrence Heward, Kai Larkin and Grant Tait returned to the starting line-up for the Beavers, who started strongly and should have been ahead in the opening 10 minutes, with all three of the recalled players to the fore. Heward’s cross found Larkin in space in the area, but the midfielder’s shot hit one of his own players and rebounded onto the post, and another cross from the left from Heward gave James Piercy a free header at the far post that was glanced wide. Tait’s cross-shot had the Selby keeper struggling before it sailed over the bar, and the visitors gradually grew in confidence as they kept their goal intact, carving out an excellent chance after quarter of an hour, only for midfielder Danby to send his free header well over the top.

Selby seemed to have weathered the early storm, but actually, inadvertently, brought about their own downfall. They had wisely cottoned on to the fact that Beverley like to play out from the back as much as possible, and started to cover the Beavers’ defenders to prevent them from doing so. Then what happened? Beverley scored twice in three minutes courtesy of long balls forward, which continued to cause Selby’s defence all manner of problems all evening, as the likes of Olly Baldwin, Scott Phillips and Ben Hinchliffe ran them ragged. Lacking a couple of ball players at the back, Selby could only resort to either conceding throw-ins in their own half, or punting the ball back to Beverley.

Phillips broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after 21 minutes when Baldwin latched on to a long ball forward before being brought down by the keeper, and the striker staked his claim for goal of the season shortly after with an absolute belter. Selby again failed to deal with the long ball, which rebounded to Phillips around 30 yards out, and his vicious dipping shot left the keeper with no chance. For those of a certain age, think Graeme Sharp for Everton v Liverpool in 1984 and you’re somewhere in the right area. Bookings for Hinchliffe and Connor Harman demonstrated once again how strictly referees are clamping down on players kicking the ball away or delaying play, but that failed to detract from an outstanding passage of play by Beverley, which eventually brought about a third goal.

Phillips almost scored his hat-trick goal, but his shot was deflected just wide, and Baldwin was off-target having latched on to another through ball, but Tait got his first of the season after 33 minutes with a strike that summed up his endeavour and contribution. First, his whipped free kick from the left caused panic in the box, and when the ball was half cleared, he was already in position over on the right to fire a powerful curling shot into the bottom corner. Still there was no respite for Selby, with Hinchliffe going close twice and Larkin forcing the keeper into a quality save low down to his left to end a breathless first half.

Selby’s response to the aerial battering they’d been subjected to was to bring on an even bigger centre-half at the interval, but in fairness they were being outplayed in all areas of the field, be it in the air or on the ground. The pace was still frantic and Beverley showed no interest in simply holding their advantage. Tait and Phillips went close again, before Baldwin went even closer, controlling a ball through and teeing up one of his right-foot specials that we’ve all come to know and love, only to see his curling shot clatter against the post and out to safety. Manager Dave Ricardo started to ring the changes and empty his strong-looking bench, with Nathan Ofori and Josh Batty replacing Harman and Tait respectively, while Eric Onyeka became the third Beaver into the referee’s notebook, somewhat harshly for the right-back, who hardly put a foot wrong all evening.

Worse was to follow on 73 minutes as Beverley were caught short-handed on the halfway line. Selby cleverly shipped the ball over the left, exploiting the shortfall all the way, and Matt Plummer was adjudged to have fouled his man in the area. It comes under the ‘seen them given’ category, but only just, and Iwan Heeley made no mistake from the spot to give Selby an unexpected lifeline. They almost made it two a few minutes later when they clipped the outside of the post, but that was the end of their attacking threat, as Beverley finished in style. Alex Knaggs, Luka Suluburic and Harry Griffin all came off the bench to add some energy and dynamism back into the play, and Suluburic finished off a crisp passing move around the edge of the box that carved open the Selby defence quite beautifully. An ankle injury to Batty left the Beavers to finish the game with 10 men, but that failed to stop their momentum, and the final goal summed up their performance. Ofori gained possession in his own half and nutmegged his opponent before the ball was threaded through to Suluburic on the edge of the area. His delicate layoff was perfect for the loitering Phillips, who slotted past the keeper for his third of the evening and his ninth of the season. With none of their closest rivals in action Beverley move up to the third in the table, demonstrating the goal threat they have when they play at high tempo and intensity, and the depth of squad that will be fully tested with plenty of matches to come in September.



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