Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:54 pm
REDCAR ATHLETIC (0) 0
BILLINGHAM TOWN (0) 2 Beddow 2 Hutchinson pen 62
There isn’t a more tranquil ground in division two than Redcar’s; maybe Easington Colliery or Brandon United’s come a close second and third. And although yesterday, there was a thick mist in the distance and cloud above the Cleveland Hills, Billingham Town’s performance was serene in it self. For the third game in a row, Town kept a clean sheet and restricted the opposition to attempts that were off target; Lewis McDonald a virtual spectator. No mean feat when you bear in mind Redcar Athletic had not lost at home in the league since October when Bedlington Terriers ran out 3-0 winners. No doubt about it, Redcar have improved since then and they can reflect back on an excellent first season since promotion from the Wearside League. For Town, it was another job done in search of the title. An early Elliott Beddow goal and a Craig Hutchinson spot kick were sufficient enough to take the points and that’s all that counts at this stage of the season when game management came to the fore. In ‘Layman’s Terms’ the task is a simple one - win the two remaining games against Birtley Town and Heaton Stannington and the division two trophy returns to the north of the river Tees! (Stockton Town were champions in 2017) Meanwhile, Thornaby secured a nail biting 3-2 win at Easington Colliery, and have the advantage of playing on Tuesday night at the salubrious surroundings of Tow Law Town. Any slip ups at altitude would then give Billingham the opportunity of securing the title on Saturday against Birtley. All hearsay but salient all the same. A magnificent crowd of 260, including a sea of blue on the far side of the ground witnessed a fully committed encounter but ultimately, Towns extra quality shone through when it mattered. Billingham will be looking for a strong attendance next weekend for their last home game of the season.
The Town management retained the 3-5-2 formation that had served them so well defensively since its introduction against Easington and squad wise, Matty Robinson & Liam McPhillips were amongst the substitutes. The visitors wasted little time to get a foothold in the game. Hutchinson who has been influential all season, lofted the ball in behind the defence, enabling BEDDOW to guide it past the onrushing Will Lawrence. This was an impressive start from Billingham who should have extended their lead on six minutes. Lawrence misjudged the flight of Ashley Lavan’s cross from the right allowing Stephen Oakley the chance to head home but the skipper could only find the side netting. Despite Billingham’s buoyant opening, Redcar retained plenty of possession and were finding space down the flanks, particularly through Sam Preston but so too did Lee Moore in the opposite direction. Kris Summers seemed to win every header while Matty Garbutt & Jack Connor were industrious, trying to conjure up some creativity in congested areas. It was end to end action though. Garbutt’s low drive was well saved by Lawrence and Lance Skelton saw his strike blocked inside the box. After a hectic opening twenty minutes, the remainder of the half proved to be uneventful.
HT REDCAR ATHLETIC 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 1
Similar to the first half, Town were on the front foot; Hutchinson dragged his shot wide after neat play from Moore & Connor and then after a driving run from Moore, Jamie Davis bundled wide, leaving himself with his head in his hands. Those missed chances didn’t prove to be costly as Billingham extended their lead on sixty three minutes. Redcar had difficulties with balls played over the top and when Lavan headed onto Hutchinson, Stuart Browne clumsily brought down the striker, earning himself a yellow card in the process. Up stepped HUTCHINSON who found the bottom corner - his penalty misses firmly forgotten. Redcar tried to reply immediately; Skelton blazed over from the edge of the box and Preston fired into the side netting with the outside of his right boot. Quarter of an hour remaining, Preston who impressed throughout, pulled his low shot past McDonald’s left hand post. The only other chance of note was an Oakley header that didn’t trouble Lawrence. Town defended an aerial bombardment with composure, Oakley in particular standing tall in Redcar Pier fashion. A lovely day at the seaside, enjoyed by all in blue.
FT REDCAR ATHLETIC 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 2
Town: McDonald, Flounders, Moore, Connor, Oakley (c), Summers, Garbutt, Lavan (Robinson), Hutchinson, Davis, Beddow. Unused: Hillerby, Kirkbride,McPhillips, Dixon.
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