Billingham Town Football Club
(43) Jack Connor
(47) Chris Dickinson
(66) Elliott Beddow
(83) Ash Lavan
To be honest, the game was a bit of a blur! The occasion, the atmosphere, the camaraderie of the supporters took centre stage while the small home support looked over in awe and with amusement. Even the Ashton players seemed to be taken aback, not only by the noise levels that left the majority of the surrounding houses with blinds or curtains closed, but by the quality of Billingham's attacking play. And in all fairness, Town played within themselves, in the knowledge that they were superior in all aspects from numbers one to eleven. To Ashton's credit, they never gave up and it took forty four minutes to finally break them down to ease a few nerves in the stands. The second round draw will be made on Monday lunchtime and it would be great if Town were to travel down to Lancashire again or South Yorkshire. Unfortunately, there are still a number of Northern League sides left in the draw and the likes of defending champions Morpeth Town enter this round along with North Shields, Dunston and Newton Aycliffe. If we do get paired with a Northern League side then a home tie would be ideal.
Town wasted no time, creating several chances in the opening minutes as Ashton struggled to cope with Luke Hogan and Elliott Beddow pace on the wings. Hogan pulled his first minute shot wide and a minute later, Craig Hutchinson header over from Beddow's cross. Third effort followed in the third minute when Chris Dickinson drove wide from twenty yards. The game settled down with Ashton camped inside their own half, denying Town any time and space but even when they gained possession, they struggled to string several passes together. Billingham were playing uphill but the grass looked to be in good condition if slightly on the long side. Town were dominating the game but the attacking play was sometimes too deliberate. They got back to creating further opportunities with ten minutes of the half remaining. Once again, Beddow went past Joseph Daulby with ease to tee up Dickinson and keeper Joe Clements did well to parry the shot out to the side. The dangerous nature of a 0.0 scoreline is the fear of Ashton getting one chance and taking it and Adam Wilkinson turned inside the box but thankfully, shot straight at Thomas Dawson. With a minute to go, Billingham took the lead leaving the Ashton-In-Makerfield locals with ringing in their ears! Excellent build up play from Dickinson and Hutchinson, set up JACK CONNOR to fire home into the bottom corner. Ashton were left shellshocked when DICKINSON scored with an absolute beauty from twenty five yards and wild scenes ensued on the sidelines. Dickinson was booked for taking his shirt off but I don't think anybody cared!
HT Ashton Town 0 Billingham Town 2
Ashton did show some improvement in the second half but Dawson was never seriously tested. Hutchinson had two good chances, one with a dinked shot over the crossbar and another shot saved inside the box. Dickinson was influential for both of those opportunities and Ashton had nobody to handle him. The third goal came on sixty six minutes and the move all started from an outstanding ball from Dawson. The keeper released BEDDOW on the right and the roadrunner like winger cut inside and scored with the outside of his boot. With the game won, Oliver brought on Lee Jones and Ashley Lavan for Beddow and Connor so it was apt that LAVAN bagged Town's fourth goal with a screamer into the top corner. All of Town's goals were of a high quality and even Oliver bowed down to fan pressure with the introduction of Gary Redman for Hutchinson... A nice touch that!! A great result, a great day and a great response from the Ashton Chairman who couldn't of praised our club more highly. A day the fans can be proud of and we all have Barry Oliver, Graham Popple and the players to thank! UTT AND PRIDE OF THE TOWN!!