Billingham Town FC
After last weekends goalfest at Durham, it was somehow inevitable that this game ended up in a dour stalemate. Neither side could unshackle themselves from a congested midfield area although the Lawyers were understandably aggrieved at not receiving a penalty inside the opening three minutes with the referee deciding to allow the advantage rule. That decision set the tone for the game with the home bench clearly irked by their sense of injustice while Paul Edwards was also exasperated by the stop-start nature of affairs that did little to enamour the crowds support for the officialdom. Having said that, neither side did enough in between to deserve anything but a point apiece. Town remain unbeaten in ten league games and sit nicely in third place with a game in hand on Chester Le Street but with a further three games in hand on leaders Thornaby. Town’s next home match in the league will be against Thornaby a week on Tuesday night - a fixture Thornaby cannot afford to lose having already lost three games at this early stage in the season.
There were four changes to the side that beat Easington on Thursday night. Both Kris Summers & Jamie Davis were rested with next Saturday’s blockbuster FA Vase tie with Dunston in mind (Dunston defeated Chester yesterday to reach the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup). Lee Moore, Joe Hillerby, Danny Maddison and Ash Lavan all started.
The first chance fell to the Lawyers and an early controversial moment! Callum Smith won the ball inside the centre circle and played a searching ball in behind Towns back four. Sensing the danger, Oliver Simpson clattered into Lewis Martin who temporarily lost his momentum. The forward regained his composure and was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post allowing Moore the chance to clear off his line. Clearly, the hosts were expecting a penalty having not scored but Mr Studholm waved for play to continue. An early let off for Billingham and a lively start from the Lawyers. Billingham’s best moments of the half were coming from the left side. Mark Dixon had a glancing effort over the bar from Luke Hogans corner and further good work from Dixon & Hogan came agonisingly close to finding Maddison inside the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ but the ball had too much pace on it for the forward. Tow Law seemed content in playing the long ball at every opportunity, especially with the sloping pitch in their favour but never looked like troubling Simpson in goal but the same could be said of Alex Curran at the other end who was never called into action. The final chance of the half fell to the home side. Nathan Convery’s excellent cross-field ball picked out Smith but the tall midfielder could only header over the crossbar.
HT TOW LAW 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 0
Paul Edwards introduced Summers to the fray with Arthur Connelly going off. Brandon Kirkbride shifted to the right allowing Moore the chance to push forward. With fifty eight minutes gone and no real injection of play, Davis replaced the industrious Maddison. The home bench were once again unhappy when Kirkbride appeared to foul Kai Hewitson allowing Davis to conjure a breakaway but Curran got down low to keep out Towns second top goal scorer. As a result of the collision, Kirkbride limped off to be replaced by Kyle Morris. After a myriad of hard to fathom yellow cards, the game was in danger of petering out. With ten minutes remaining, Hewitson had a clear sight on goal but his effort was comfortably saved by Simpson and Lavan came close to sealing the points with a low shot that rolled by the wrong side of the right hand post. Billingham now have a week to prepare for Dunston, followed by a busy Mid-end October period.
FT TOW LAW 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 0
Saturday 23rd February
Tow Law Town
Ebac Northern League