Billingham Town FC
(56) Jamie Davis
Back to league action on matchday six and another away day but only a short journey up the A19 to a venue Town last visited when the ground belonged to the long gone Sunderland Nissan F.C. This fixture is the first of two night matches this week with the weekends home game against Northallerton brought forward to Friday evening in what should be an informative encounter.
FOCUS ON WASHINGTON:
Many northern league followers tipped Washington to bounce back from relegation but they have found the return to division two tough going so far. Scoring goals has been a problem but so to has conceding them! Ollie Hotchkiss performed miracles at his previous club Durham City and officials at Washington were hoping for a similar response but Hotchkiss left recently over political infighting. Subsequently, several players have become available for transfer: Veteran Simon Ord and the talented Kieran McWaters, a former Durham player under Hotchkiss. Elsewhere, Christopher Pattinsons seven match ban, which goes back to May, will come to an end after this game and Harry Wood will also miss out due to suspension. Striker Dan Robinson was released by Hebburn during the summer while midfielder James Norton signed from Whickham. Despite a disappointing start, Washington have turned a corner taking four points from their last two games.
ONE TO WATCH: RHYS WILLIAMS
The central defender was part of Hebburn Town’s promotion winning squad last season along with Dan Robinson but signed for Washington for this campaign. Although Washington have yet to keep a clean sheet, Williams will be a commanding force at the back.
Ryton 2-2 Washington (Hennis, Robinson)
Heaton Stannington 1-4 Washington (Hanson 2, Hennis, Wood)
Crook Town 3-0 Washington
Washington 0-4 West Auckland (FA Cup)
Washington 1-2 Chester Le-Street Town (Robinson)
Tow Law Town 3-0 Washington
Luke Hogan and Elliott Beddow were already confirmed absentees due to holidays and injury respectively. Others to miss the game include Lee Moore, Reece Kenney (holidays) and Matty Robinson (work). The Town management could utilise the squad further and Matty Hughes may come into contention after missing out on the final sixteen over the weekend. Kris Summers, Dan Flounders and Dom Joynes will also be pushing for starts.
Northern League Division Two
Tuesday 4th September, kick off 7:30pm, Nissan Sports Complex, Washington, Tyne & Wear, SR5 3NS.
£5 Adults, £3 Concessions.
Town regained pole position at the top of the table after a mettlesome performance at the Washington Nissan sports complex. Complex is a good word to describe this game, along with identifying the location of the ground! Complex, because for long periods this was a game of cat and mouse with neither side really landing a big blow. It took a massive element of good fortune for Town to travel back to Teesside with all three points, thanks to a calamitous goalkeeping error allowing Jamie Davis time to stroll and roll the ball into an empty net. One sensed a single goal would be enough for either side on the night and the hosts will look back and rue the missed half chances before half time that could have swung the match in their favour. From Town’s point of view - this was a significant win for several reasons. Paul Edwards & Barry Oliver made six changes to the side that knocked out Campion in the Vase, mostly forced due to players absent through holidays, work and injuries. If Town were perceived to be vulnerable tonight, then they still passed with flying colours and a sign that this squad is capable of grinding out results. These are the types of matches that can define a season. Tougher tests still await them - Friday nights fixture against an old foe in Northallerton a case in point but it has now become noticeable how teams are set up to frustrate Towns equilibrium. And that is down to respect! Will Darren Trotter do the same on Friday? We will soon find out!
The status quo in the opening twenty minutes was a case of Town keeping possession while Washington dropped off, content in their own half without being put under and undue pressure. However, the closing twenty five minutes belonged to the hosts. Dan Robinson saw his glancing header go behind for a goal kick and Jak Hanson tried his luck from outside the box which Oliver Simpson comfortably saved. Two minutes later and Simpson had to pull off an acrobatic one handed save to keep out a Kris Goss screamer from all of twenty five yards. With half time approaching, skipper Stephen Oakley went into the referees notebook for a timely foul just outside the box and luckily, Nick Allen’s left footed strike hit the side netting.
HT WASHINGTON 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 0
Oliver & Edwards wasted no time in making the changes bringing on Jamie Davis and Mark Dixon for Danny Maddison and Arthur Connelly respectively. It was a bold move so early on in the game but the substitutions brought instant reward if rather fortuitously. Goalkeeper Craig Williams had dwelt too long on the ball allowing Craig Hutchinson time to ply some pressure and although Williams did come out on top he was then hounded off the ball by DAVIS who had all the time in the world to pick his spot. Shortly afterward Davis was booked for an altercation with Goss and Mark Dixon soon followed with a mistimed challenge. Washington never looked like finding a way back into the game, their only real chance of note belonging to Hanson who fired wide. In the final ten minutes, Town pushed for a killer second goal. It nearly arrived via their best move of the game - Hutchinson turned midway into Washington’s half and released Davis on the left hand side. Town’s second highest goal scorer with four strikes to his name laid it back for the onrushing Dom Joynes but Williams denied the former Darlington R.A man with a crouching save towards his near post. After a lengthy period of added on time, Billingham held out for a resolute win.
FT WASHINGTON 0 BILLINGHAM TOWN 1
Saturday 29th September
Ebac Northern League