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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:10 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 272
HEATON STANNINGTON (1) 1 Campbell 22
BILLINGHAM TOWN (2) 2 o.g 14, Hutchinson 36

The sun shines on the righteous, and all good things come to those who shineth under it! On an incredibly hot day, in a city where football is a religion in itself, Billingham Town and their faithful apostles witnessed a miracle. In footballing terms, Town’s resurrection began exactly a year ago when the club came close to extinction. Supporters, management, chairman and committee began the long road to Damascus, a journey with a clear destination: The Northern League Division Two title and promotion. Jesus could walk on water - our own messiahs Barry Oliver, Paul Edwards and Paul Beddow faced a tougher task when they took the helm of a club that habitually, would shoot itself in the foot! Stability was the keystone required but Oliver, Edwards and Beddow are not the kind of people to stand still. Forward thinking, ambitious and incredibly hard working, their efforts procured silverware in the glittering rays of light - darkness, despair and destitution a thing of the past. The scenes when the full time whistle went will live long in the memory, more so than the match itself which felt like it would never end. Any preconceived notions that Heaton Stannington were just there to enjoy the Mediterranean like climate were quashed by a spirited second half display as they put Towns rearguard under intense pressure. Thankfully, Dan Flounders, Stephen Oakley and Kris Summers are experts in aerial bombardment tactics along with Lee Moore & Mark Dixon mopping up on the flanks. It was nervy at times, as you would expect but at no stage did Billingham not have the game under control. The turning point of the season was undoubtedly the defeat at Thornaby. Had three relatively quick defeats eroded the confidence within the squad? Did they have the mental resolve to start a fresh and get back to winning ways? Matty Garbutt’s arrival from near neighbours Stockton Town proved to be the magical moment, the rabbit out the hat as it were. Admittedly, today was not one of his better games, but his signing gave the squad a timely boost and since then, Town have won every game. Looking back, Thornaby’s after match pitch antics did Billingham a favour. The celebrations although understandable, were somewhat premature because it refocused the minds of everybody connected at Town. Did we want this title - the answer was a resounding yes! For some there were tears in the eyes, for others, sheer jubilation as reality sunk in. Billingham Town - Northern League Division Two Champions! In all fairness, the players deserved it; Town had practically led the way all season and although Thornaby produced an unbelievable sixteen match winning run, Billingham proved to be the more consistent throughout the season. For some bizarre reason, they struggled against the struggling teams! Defeat to Durham City, points dropped at home to Brandon United and a 4-2 lead at Esh Winning thrown away. But Town have never done things the easy way and that is part of the clubs charm and character. In the end, both clubs will deservedly be promoted, Thornaby having to wait for confirmation as the the non league pyramid season comes to an end nationally in seven days time.

The match report is rather a rudimentary one! The occasion took precedence over duty! I was expecting a quiet opening but Billingham took an early lead and it was handed on a plate to them. Mark Dixon’s corner seemed harmless enough but Dan Regan inexplicably dropped the ball over his own goal-line. A perfect start to ease the nerves for Town supporters. The Stan did look dangerous going forward and they soon levelled matters as they cut a hole through the away defence. Joe Kerridge, who began his career at Newcastle United before finding his way at Easington and last season at Billingham Town, supplied the through ball to Connor Campbell who doesn’t miss those chances from close range. At the other end, Craig Hutchinson was at his waspish best when he won a 50-50 ball and held up play before support arrived. That support came via Moore who duly fed the ball back to HUTCHINSON and Town’s lethal marksman calmly found the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Heaton came roaring back and probably should have equalised for a second time after Lewis McDonald’s clearance could only find a Black & White shirt - the ball eventually finding its way to Campbell who fired wide. The second half was incredibly tense as Heaton forced the issue - led superbly in midfield by Joe Fulcher. Half chances came and went for Josh Holland & Lee Middleton respectively. At the other end Hutchinson missed the target from six yards although Moore’s cross had too much power on it and at the death, Hutchinson fired over the bar. No matter, the full time whistle soon came and cue the pitch invasion as players, staff, supporters, even strangers celebrated and hugged each other! Winning the trophy meant so much to so many, young and old, disabled and the effervescent of youth! A true community club coming to the fore! Billingham Town, our Town! Somewhere right now, a trophy is shining in the summer like sun on Easter Sunday, in the blue part of Billingham where it belongs!


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

Sent from my iPad



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