Billingham Town FC
(58) Dan Flounders
Matchday three already and it’s another away day on the road. Town visit a venue that invariably, has proven to be a fruitful one in the past. Only a quarter final defeat in the Earnest Armstrong Memorial Cup during season 2016/17 the blemish on a productive record since Town were relegated from Division One.
FOCUS ON BRANDON:
There are several players within the Brandon squad who have scored against Town but while playing for other clubs. Experienced winger, Lee Blades grabbed the equaliser in a 2-2 draw playing for Tow Law in August 2016 as too did Nial Fingleton (see below) last season. Elsewhere, full-back Chris Spence scored a tremendous long range strike on the opening day of the season and midfielder Craig Himdmarch (ex Synners) brings a wealth of experience to a predominantly youthful squad. Jake Burns, Adam Lamb, Jake Nicholson and Brandon Turnbull have all arrived via Shildon U23’s. Goalkeeper, Harry Dowding who came from Darlington is already available for transfer but the biggest blow was losing former skipper Kyle Wren to Willington. The consensus during pre-season has been the lack of a physical strength within the squad but it’s early days yet and they earned their first point in midweek.
ONE TO WATCH: NIAL FINGLETON
Another player who grabbed an equaliser, back in March when Town were held to a 2-2 draw at the Welfare Ground. Although that was his only goal of the season, the talented 18 year old had other opportunities to score in that game and certainly caught the eye. Played his junior football in Holland.
Brandon 1-1 Esh Winning (Blades)
West Allotment Celtic 3-1 Brandon (Spence)
PRE-SEASON SELECTED RESULTS:
Consett 5-0 Brandon
Hebburn Town Reserves 4-0 Brandon
Brandon 2-9 Bishop Auckland
Coxhoe 3-2 Brandon
Brandon 0-4 Sherburn
Even at this early stage, Town already have five different players on the scoresheet with Craig Hutchinson leading the way on four strikes. Lee Moore is rated doubtful while Luke Hogan will see the physio but Matthew Robinson will be added to the squad so Barry Oliver & Paul Edwards may decide to rotate the squad giving several others game time. Town top the table on goal difference and could extend their lead with several other sides in FA Cup action. After Saturday’s game, Town will entertain Bedlington Terriers followed by a visit to Esh Winning before an intriguing FA Vase encounter against AFC Campion from Bradford.
Northern League Division 2
Saturday 18th August, Welfare Ground, Rear Commercial Street, Brandon, DH7 8PL, kick off 3.00pm. £5 Adults, £3 Concessions/under 16s
Billingham Town's 100% winning record remains intact but it took a monumental slice of luck to decide the outcome of a game that appeared to be drifting into a stalemate. Brandon, had battled, scurried and fought for every ball and must of thought that a point was in the bag for their ‘endeavours’. With the full ninety minutes on the clock and a Craig Hutchinson, indomitably shackled by Chris Spence & the impressive Adam Lamb - Brandon could have been forgiven if they thought that the job was done and dusted. And yet Hutchinson somehow managed to cause panic and elicit a foul just outside the box enabling Reece Kenney a sight on goal. Kenney had been superb throughout, particularly in the first half and it would be cruel if ‘The Northern League goals panel’ marked off his strike as an own goal and handed it to the luckless Jake Burns. Kenney’s low drive went under the wall, rebounded off the inside of the post and struck Burns without the keeper having time to react and into the net. Harsh on Brandon but maybe an early omen for Billingham Town during the opening weeks of a long hard season ahead of them.
The Town management had already utilised the squad for the opening two league fixtures and further changes were made for today’s game. It was the hosts who dominated the opening quarter of an hour and it needed Jack Carr’s strike off the post to galvanise Town into action. Elliott Beddow came close with a low shot that was well kept out by Burns and Dom Joynes saw his goalbound effort blocked by a recovering defender. Town were now in full control as Kenney and Jack Connor bossed the midfield and Brandon’s defence were struggling to contain Beddow’s blistering pace. For all their possession, clear cut chances were hard to come by and the half ended with Connor’s deflected shot going wide for a corner.
HT BRANDON UNITED 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 0
Town began the second half on the offensive and Burns, once again denied Beddow a goal, keeping out the wingers attempt with his legs. Town’s persistence reaped reward on fifty seven minutes when Dan Flounders scored his first goal for the club. Stephen Oakley found the diminutive defender in an advanced position on the right hand side and the ex Darlington RA man tried to pick out Connor in the middle but the ball evaded the midfielder. Dom Joynes picked up the ball on the left, drilled the ball back over to FLOUNDERS who tapped into an empty net. Credit to Brandon as it only took them three minutes to get back on level terms and it was their danger man Niall FINGLETON with a fine strike from outside the box, beating Jack Patton for pace. The equaliser had upset Town’s rhythm so Oliver & Edwards introduced Matthew Robinson and Jamie Davies into the fray in an attempt to regain the initiative. Connor saw his powerful drive from twenty yards off target while Robinson arrowed one inches wide. With time running out, Town were still searching for the breakthrough and they got their just rewards when Kenney got lucky with that free-kick. Kenney’s low drive went under the wall, rebounded off the inside of the post and struck BURNS without the keeper having time to react and into the net.
FT BRANDON UNITED 1 BILLINGHAM TOWN 2