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Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:01 pm

BILLINGHAM TOWN (0) 4 Davis 66, Hutchinson 77, 87 pen, Moore 89.
BIRTLEY TOWN (0) 1 Whybrow 61

What do all three of the following home results have in common: Willington 2-1, Redcar Athletic 3-1 and now Birtley Town 4-1? If you’re the opposition at Bedford Terrace, and you score first, then expect a defeat by full-time! Billingham Town supporters could be forgiven for a few nerves or jitters when Lewis Whybrow put his team ahead, against the run of play, but we know from experience that twists and turns are a given in such a scenario. As a consequence, the decibels reached new levels in the stands, a cacophony of sound rarely heard, especially at this level of football in the National Pyramid and it makes you wonder what this club could be capable of with long term investment and security. Town really were a sleeping giant and are starting to show their undoubted noisy potential. Whatever happens next week at Heaton Stannington (two supporter/team buses so far), everybody connected with the club should be proud of on and off the pitch achievements but that story is for another day entirely. Today’s win means Town travel to Tyneside next Saturday requiring a point for the title barring a mathematical landslide. It’s incredible to think that a side that has lost only three league games all season, going into the final fixture and not 100% certain of promotion. However, looking at the updated pyramid tables on Saturday night, it’s looking good for at least two clubs in our division. A win at Grounsell Park, would also make all of the above irrelevant and alleviate any delays in planning for next season.

Billingham, once again went with an unchanged side and had the benefit of the wind behind them for the opening forty five minutes. Only several minutes had passed when Birtley had difficulties in clearing their own lines and were conceding too many free kicks inside their own half. Such folly would eventually, contribute to their own downfall but so early in the game, they defended in numbers and it worked to a point. Only a combination of good goalkeeping and wayward finishing kept the scoreline at 0-0 as the clock passed the twenty minute mark. Stephen Oakley saw his early header strike the side netting and then Ash Lavan’s advances into the box ended in his goal bound effort deflected off Whybrow for a corner. From Lee Moore’s resulting set-piece, Jonathan Bolton got down low to his near post to keep out Oakley’s header. More creativity followed; Craig Hutchinson dragged his shot wide and then Kris Summers header was cleared off the line. Birtley were holding on somewhat fortuitously. Good play between Hutchinson and Moore allowed Ashley Lavan a sight on goal but he fired wide and shortly afterwards, sent another rocket off target. Matty Garbutt, who had seen plenty of his flighted free kicks fall into dangerous areas, floated another set piece towards goal and Bolton was lucky that his air punch didn’t prove to be calamitous one. The visitors did have one excellent opportunity though when Joe Barwick released Aaron McEwan on the right and his pull back to Ricky Tanoh was a perfect one but the attacking midfielder side swiped his shot over the crossbar.


Despite having a fair amount of chances in the first half, the tempo was a slow one. Managers Barry Oliver & Paul Edwards were forced into a tactical rethink at half time due to Lavan’s injury and although the move didn’t produce instant rewards, it did change the tempo. Mark Dixon came on, himself returning from injury and the formation change looked an attacking one. Town were camped inside Birtleys half and yet the plucky men in green and white had a five minute spell that stunned Town supporters. McEwan fed Barwick from the edge of the D and Lewis McDonald had to get down low to make the save. Just past the hour mark, Birtley took the lead. Barwick’s in-swinging corner was met by Whybrow who bundled the ball into the net. The lead proved to be an ephemeral one! Another foul in deep territory gave Garbutt more quarterback like duties! His free kick found Oakley lurking with intent at the back post and the skipper headed across goal towards Jamie DAVIS who guided the ball past Bolton. Town already had the possession - now they had the momentum. Oakley, a handful throughout, scooped over the bar after several pinball shots and Dan Flounders run ended with his effort deflected off Whybrow, who incidentally, was only selected due to several absentees. The second goal was coming and came with twelve minutes remaining - yes it was as late as that but didn’t feel like it at the time! Summers headed Elliott Beddow’s corner towards HUTCHINSON who’s shot on the turn gave Bolton no chance of making a save. I wonder what Alexander Graham-Bell would have thought of the decibel levels emanating across Billingham? The game was over as a contest when Russell Little showed his inexperience to earn a second yellow card for a robust challenge on Garbutt and with space opening up, Beddow was now in full flow. Once he gets on one of his runs and the ball sticks to his foot, players panic. Barwick, helping out defensively upended Beddow inside the box for a clear penalty. HUTCHINSON, placed the ball past Bolton who didn’t move. There was still time for a fourth. Beddow again, causing problems, pulled the ball back for Hutchinson but Bolton did well to deny the striker a hat-trick, however MOORE tucked home the rebound to double his goal scoring tally for the season. Comebacks are part of the entertainment at Bedford Terrace. Hopefully, things will be somewhat more straightforward next Saturday!


Town: McDonald, Flounders, Moore, Connor, Oakley, Summers (McPhillips), Garbutt (Hillerby), Lavan (Dixon), Hutchinson, Davis, Beddow. Unused: Kirkbride, Jackson.

Sent from my iPad


Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:20 am

Very accurate report. We really struggled to get players available due to players being away and a colossal amount injured. Nevertheless we are very pleased with the 2 16 year olds who played their first and second games for the club against such a good side and actually kept your lads out for an hour. Our goal scorer Lewis Whybrow just back from a horrendous shoulder dislocation in our first game of the season, you would have noticed that our no 4 Surrey limped through the best part of the game, on another day he wouldn't have started. Connor who came on late on has been out for 3 months also. Anyway these things happen and it just got to be dealt with.
Good luck next week , the 2 best teams are going up regardless of the results next week and both thoroughly deserve it. Roll on next season . :) :)


Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:05 pm

Cheers bigcbeat.....I didn’t realise it was Little’s debut... shame for the lad...yeah I noticed Surrey was struggling in the second half... Whybrow had a great game considering what you told me. Thanks once again....good luck next season.
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