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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 288
THORNABY (1) 2 Bailey 25, Howes 62 pen
BILLINGHAM TOWN (1) 1 Beddow 41

For the first time of what is becoming a fascinating tussle, Thornaby are the new league leaders of division two. Overall, they deservedly took the spoils for their dominant second half display but Town will be disappointed they didn’t earn a point after missing an added on time penalty kick. An impressive crowd of 480 were in attendance; a large number no doubt attracted to the free barbecue on offer after the game! This was a tense affair, particularly in the first half with so much at stake but both sides were determined to get on the front foot. The main difference in the end was Thornaby’s superior physical strengths. Yes, they received several yellow cards for some over zealous challenges, but in Jack Bailey and Ian Ward they had a robustness that Town lacked on the day. And when they got their noses in front for a second time after some cunning play by Kurtis Howes, Thornaby were in no mood to relinquish what they had. The scenes at the end were akin to winning the title and Thornaby may yet pull off a remarkable comeback after trailing for much of the season. For Billingham, the defeat will be a bitter blow but the championship is still in their own hands and it will take all of the managements skills to galvanise a squad that is suffering from injuries to key personnel. Town lost Mark Dixon and Elliott Beddow during the second half and those forced changes unsettled their equilibrium. Billingham’s run in isn’t an easy one on paper while Thornaby also have several tricky fixtures to come on the road. It would take a foolish man to believe the title had been decided when Ash Lavan missed his spot kick!

Barry Oliver & Paul Edwards rewarded the team that defeated Tow Law so convincingly last week by selecting the same eleven. As expected, Elliott Beddow faced a man marking job by veteran Andrew Burton that at times was like watching come dancing! At the other end Kyran Clark and Ward were handed the job of ruffling Dan Flounders & Kris Summers and all of these individual battles made interesting viewing. The opening ten minutes saw little action as the home side gave away several needless free-kicks in dangerous areas. The visitors looked the more comfortable on a pitch that on first viewing, appeared to be in good condition but in fact was causing the ball to bobble uncontrollably. Matty Robinson had the first chance and his low effort was kept out by James Dawson’s legs. Jamie Poole’s upfield punt put Town’s defence in a predicament and after neat play between Ward and Clark - Ward’s weak effort lacked the power to trouble Lewis Macdonald. Craig Hutchinson did well to gain possession inside the box and found Joe Carter on the left but his shot deflected wide for a corner. Twenty five minutes in and Thornaby took the lead. After the home side had earned a free-Kick, Poole laid the ball back to Bailey who found the bottom corner with a fine low strike from the edge of the box. The home side, brimming with confidence searched for a second goal. Another link-up move, this time from Joe Posthill & Bailey resulted in Posthill firing over the crossbar. Billingham should have equalised five minutes before half-time. Carter’s cross was met by a flicked on header from Beddow to Robinson but the former Thornaby winger dwelt and Dawson was able to make the save. The league leaders deservedly equalised a minute later though. Hutchinson released the cheetah like BEDDOW who had evaded Burton - the in form number ten coolly placed the ball past Dawson and into the back of the net; a fair scoreline after forty five minutes of frantic play.


The second half was a different story all together. Thornaby showed persistence & perseverance as Town struggled to contain Posthill and Howes movement on and off the ball. The Teessider’s had two good opportunities as they pushed for an early goal. Posthill saw his half-volley sail over the bar and Clark should have done better with his weak effort inside the box. By this stage, Luke Hogan replaced Dixon who had to be substituted with suspected ligament damage and later on, Beddow limped off with a hamstring strain. Thornaby eventually regained the initiative on sixty two minutes when Howes used his pace to earn a penalty after Lee Moore made contact with the forward. Howes has an excellent record from the spot and placed the ball to McDonald’s left to put Thornaby ahead. As the game entered the final ten minutes, Billingham went in search for an equaliser, but despite having the possession, they were unable to create clear cut chances. Lavan’s looping header was cleared off the line and all hope seemed to have evaporated. However, deep into added on time, an aerial ball into the box caused problems for a rearguard that had performed well throughout. Flounders got to the ball first but as he moved away from goal, a rash challenge earned Town a penalty. Hutchinson had missed his two previous spot kicks and nobody appeared to want to take it. Lavan, who had scored so many penalties last season, stepped up and took on the responsibility. Dawson guessed correctly and dived to his right to seal the points for Thornaby- cue pandemonium behind the goal! In the end, it was just three points Thornaby had won on the day. Time will tell, if the win was truly significant. The challenge now for Thornaby is to remain there till the end of April!

Att: 480

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

Sent from my iPad



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