Billingham Social Club - Billingham Town FC
Celebrating 50 Years of Football
NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION TWO
Lavan 8, 27, 45, 47
If opening games are anything to go by, then Town fans are in for a real treat this season. On the sidelines, Ryton supporters watched in awe as Town tore apart opposition that had began the season with a convincing 5-0 win at Brandon United. And it was two unsung heroes from last seasons squad who fully deserved the plaudits tonight; Ashley Lavan and Gary Redman spent the majority of the last campaign from the outside looking in but both players will almost certainly play a more significant role in the weeks to come. Lavan, the man with the quiet, unassuming persona played like a man possessed as he hounded and worried out a Ryton defence that had no answer to his power and precision. Ash Lavan? More like Ash Gordon as his merciless display continued from the very first minute to the last. As for Redman, this was in all probability, his finest display in a Town shirt and the system suited his playing style where defensive duties were not necessarily required. Manager Barry Oliver made six changes to the starting eleven that meekly exited the FA Cup over the weekend. In came Mark Hodgson, Lee Moore, Mark Dixon, Redman, Liam Travers and Connor Dunlavey, while Clayton Macdonald, Brandon Kirkbride, Michael Jameson, and Connor Hood started on the bench; Scott Close joined up with the reserves and as expected, Alex Leeds was ruled out with a rib injury. The opening exchanges were fast and furious but once Town got the first goal, they never looked back. On eight minutes Lavan finished superbly at the near post after good work from Dunlavey and Redman. The second goal was a comedy of errors; Lavan's cross seemed harmless enough but left-back Jack Moody inexplicably headed the ball against the post - ball hits keeper Darren Houghton - ball hits net! Third goal came from further poor defending, Lavan on hand to tap in. On forty one minutes, Dunlavey also had a nice tap in, benefitting from Redman's pull-back. And the final goal of the half was all Lavan, as he cut in from the left to rifle a low shot past Houghton to complete a memorable hat-trick.
HT Ryton & Crawcrook 0 Billingham Town 5
On resumption there was little let up in Town's attacking finesse and the sixth goal was the best of the lot. A four man move that began with Dunlavey in the middle of the park, via Dickinson and Redman ended with another Lavan strike. Liam Travers headed in the seventh from Dickinson's free-kick and Dickinson capped a fine display with a well taken strike into the bottom corner. Credit to Ryton who actually played some neat football in the final twenty minutes once they brought on Patrick Gibbons and Martin Hepple. And if they can keep hold of striker Rhys Harbottle who was recently plying his trade in Swedish football then results like this one will be the exception rather than the rule. As for Town, this was a statement of intent, playing quick incisive football that maybe wasn't in evidence last season. A night to remember and clearly, plenty to look forward too!
FT Ryton & Crawcrook 0 Billingham Town 8