Billingham Town Football Club
(30) Luke Hogan
(50) Chris Dickinson
(C) Oakley .5
Match Report to follow
Blyth Town won their first Northern League fixture at the third time of asking and in doing so, ending Billinghams unbeaten start to the season. The home side controlled the majority of the game, particularly in the second half with the coastal wind behind them. Town came from behind on two occasions but once Blyth made it 3.2, Billingham were always treading water and a late thunderbolt sealed victory for the home side.
The Billingham management made one change to the starting eleven that gained a dramatic point in midweek, and it was a significant one. Paul Watson made his debut in goal which meant Robbie Stockburn was part of the substitutes bench.
Blyth had battered Ryton in midweek without making the breakthrough but here, they took an early lead on eight minutes. Veteran, Ian Herron found Robert Nolan on the left and the ex Whitby forward crossed for David Robinson and his powerful half volley struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the goaline. Moments later, Herron tried his luck from twenty yards and Watson did well to parry the shot away from goal. The game was incredibly open; not surprising as both sides like to keep the ball on the floor. Daniel Lambert had a great opportunity to equalise but his strike struck the legs of Matthew Crook in goal.
Blyth dominated the central midfield for the opening twenty five minutes with Herron the lynch pin. The home side moved the ball at pace bringing the full backs into play but Town slowly found found their feet. Clayton MacDonald drove over from thirty yards and Craig Hutchinson headed over after good play from Jamie Davis and Luke Hogan. Billingham plugged away and got their reward on thirty minutes. A misplaced pass from Daniel Sayer fell nicely for Hutchinson who then released HOGAN on the left and his shot went in off Crook's left hand post.
Town had further chances to take the lead. Hutchinson shot wide after good link up play from Davis and Lambert. Dickinson released Hutchinson on goal but Crook got to the ball first and took a knock for for his troubles.
Both sides were now evenly matched so Barry Oliver must have been disappointed to concede; yet again before half time. Robinson slipped the backline but as Stephen Oakley attempted a challenge and Watson rushing out if his goal, the Blyth midfielder was taken off his feet and the penalty was given. Nolan fired home to give Blyth the lead at half time.
HT Blyth Town 2 Billingham Town 1
Town were handed a blow when MacDonald failed to appear for the second half with a calf strain and the blues missed his physical presence as the game wore on. The change didn't hinder town to begin with and soon equalised on fifty minutes. The telepathic Davis and Hutchinson worked well on the left to free Hogan on the wing. A precision cross found DICKINSON unmarked in the box to head home his second goal of the season.
Blyth recovered straight away and regained the lead on fifty four minutes. Andrew Keenan's flighted ball into the box was aimed for Herron but substitute, Dan Rowbotham headed into his own goal while under pressure from the Blyth captain.
The home side were now in control as Town tried to hold on. Robinson's downward header struck the crossbar and Watson did well to deny Sean McRoberts a goal with his legs. As Town tried to find a third equaliser; Blyth killed the game with a wonder goal a minute before full time. Dale Pearson picked up the ball in midfield and only had one intention; a forty yard screamer leaving Watson flailing in the air to no effect. A fine strike to end an entertaining game, with Blyth worthy winners. After three games and no wins, Billingham Town will now prepare for a resurgent Willington for another midweek fixture.
FT Blyth Town 4 Billingham Town 2