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 Post subject: Northallerton Town 0 Billingham Town 1
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 178
NORTHALLERTON TOWN (0) 0
BILLINGHAM TOWN (1) 1 Hutchinson 24

We knew Billingham Town could play scintillating football. What we didn’t know for certain, was whether they could go to Northallerton and do a job - to virtually end their opponents promotion credentials, whom have so often created problems for Town in the past. We needn’t have worried! History paid no part tonight. Tersely put, job done with minimum of fuss. Beforehand, much had been said by Northallerton, Thornaby or possibly neutral fans believing the pressure was on Billingham Town to keep winning games. My view did not follow that train of thought. Throughout the season, Billingham have faced little pressure because of the run of results and their ability to fight back when required. Victories breed confidence and this Town squad knew that the pressure was not on them tonight either. Northallerton had to win this game and at no stage did that outcome look likely. In previous encounters, Billingham may have struggled with the physical aspect of this fixture. Northallerton are not a tall side, but they have plenty of industrious working players who are strong in a challenge and tonight, Billingham went head to head and matched them toe to toe. They played the better football overall and had the better chances albeit at limited intervals. Lewis McDonald was a virtual spectator, in part because of a superb defensive display in front of him. Lee Moore, Mark Dixon and Stephen Oakley have been eulogised at various stages this season but tonight, Dan Flounders deserved the plaudits. He read the game astutely and was always well placed to clear and intercept play. Flounders and Oakley have kept three clean sheets together and it’s unlucky for Kris Summers who may have to bide his time and earn a return to the line-up. Ultimately though, it’s a squad game now, and team selection has become objective. The majority of players have a case when it comes to team selection but 16 into 11 doesn’t go! There will always be disappointment and so there should be. After all, this is potentially a championship winning squad, everybody playing their part. In a game of few chances, it was pleasing to win with such a majestic strike by Craig Hutchinson. Poor Tom Dawson looked crestfallen in the Northallerton goal but he needn’t have. He was beaten by a wonder goal and stood no chance of keeping the ball out. More on that goal to come. The result meant that realistically, only Thornaby can challenge for outright promotion after they won comfortably at Bedlington Terriers on Saturday.

The home side had the early possession as they searched for runners in behind the channels - their best sighter on goal fell to Aaron Ramsbottom who fired over from outside the left hand side of the box. Although Billingham had selected pace on the wings, both Matty Robinson and Elliott Beddow we’re disciplined in protecting the full backs which forced Northallerton to play through the middle or force the long ball approach. The home side’s early play fizzled out as Billingham nullified the attacking threat of both Ramsbottom and Nicky Martin. At the other end, Craig Hutchinson’s shot on the turn was at a good height for Dawson to collect. And then the moment that decided this tactical of encounters. HUTCHINSON, back to goal, turned inside and beautifully curled the ball into the top corner with the outside of his left foot. Undoubtedly, goal of the season, much to the delight of the vast away following on the terraces. Jack Connor & Joe Hillerby we’re winning the midfield battle against Chris Emms & Stephen Cheesman, allowing Ash Lavan the opportunity to probe. Dawson had to be at his reactive best to keep out Lavan’s goalbound strike and then Beddow almost knocked Hillerby out cold with a fiercely struck effort, just before half time.

HT NORTHALLERTON TOWN 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 1

The pitch was starting to cut up badly which made heavy going for both sides. Matty Robinson saw his header roll wide while Chessman couldn’t direct his header past McDonald. Billingham went in search for a second goal but Lavan and Beddow’s low efforts on goal lacked the power to trouble Dawson. Lavan showed great determination to power down the left and found Connor on the edge of the box but the midfielder dragged his effort wide. Dawson then made the vital decision in rushing out of his goal to prevent Beddow the chance of prodding the ball past him. Sensing a goal would be enough, Billingham were content in protecting what they had. Northallerton tried to push forward. Martin headed wide at the back post and clattered into the advertising boards for his troubles! Then deep into injury time, substitute Kerry Hedley fired straight at McDonald - Northallerton’s first shot on target! When the full time whistle went, the Town squad and staff went over to the strong travelling contingent and thanked them for their support.

FT NORTHALLERTON TOWN 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 1
Att: 320

Town: McDonald, Moore, Dixon (Jackson), Connor, Oakley (c), Flounders, Beddow, Hillerby, Hutchinson, Lavan (Carter), Robinson (Hogan). Unused: Summers, Mcphillips.


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