Stewart fires Tadcaster to maximum points at Clitheroe
Casey Stewart's second-half header was enough to ensure that Tadcaster Albion returned from Saturday's Evo-Stik North trip to Clitheroe with all three points.
The Brewers followed up last weekend’s win over Skelmersdale and a midweek draw at title favourites South Shields with another excellent display, emerging victorious by a 1-0 scoreline against the promotion hopefuls.
Goalkeeper Tom Young deputised for Michael Ingham between the sticks and wasn’t given much time to bed himself into the contest in his first league start for the club, being forced to flick Kurt Willoughby’s cross-cum-shot around the post inside three minutes.
That was the only real incident of any note during the opening stages, and it wasn’t until the 28th minute that the game stirred into life.
Stewart cleverly curled a ball in behind the home defence, setting Aiden Savory away down the right and his dangerous ball down the corridor was turned just wide by sliding former Leeds United youngster Billy Whitehouse.
Albion continued to press and enjoyed a good spell, Whitehouse volleying over from close range when he really should have hit the target.
Play then switched to the other end and it was Clitheroe’s turn to spurn a golden chance to take the lead.
Alex Newby spotted the run of Kurt Willoughby down the middle of the pitch and he sent the striker clean through on goal, but gloveman Young stood tall and produced an exceptional save.
Willoughby had two further efforts kept out by Young before the half drew to a close and the interval arrived at a good time, with Clitheroe starting to build a head of steam.
Early in the second period, Taddy’s Corey Roper saw a left-footed strike from the edge of the box deflected just over the cross-bar as the match came to life.
Clitheroe squandered another clear opportunity to break the deadlock when Joe Mitchell’s chip to the back post found a completely unmarked Dimitri Tuanzebe, but the pacy winger couldn’t convert from two yards out.
Stewart showed his threat inside the home box with a pair of headers, before Young made another impressive intervention, this time to keep out Tuanzebe’s fizzing strike.
The game’s decisive moment arrived with 19 minutes left to play. Subsititute Conor Sellatrs whipped in excellent curling free-kick that was impressively met by Stewart who glanced home his first league goal of the campaign.
Brad Carroll went close to equalising for Clitheroe shortly afterwards, but as his 30-yarder swerved agonisingly wide of the post at the last moment.
As darkness began to descend in Lancashire, the home side started to throw everything at Taddy, but Fraser Papprill - on just his second start of the season - remained resolute at the heart of the Brewers’ defence alongside the ever-impressive defence.
The hosts continued to create chances, however, and substitute Danny Byrnes did everything right when recycling a corner back into the box, only for on-loan Shrewsbury midfielder George Hughes to head over on the stretch.
Papprill almost set up a second goal for Albion four minutes from full-time when the towering defender stormed out from the back and into Clitheroe’s half before sliding Savory in behind, but gloveman Chris Thompson just managed to beat the stand-in skipper to the ball.
Nevertheless, the one goal was all it took for Tadcaster to win the day and make it seven points out of a possible nine in their last three league outings.