Billingham Town Football Club
The last two games may have created more questions than answers, but as incongruous as this may sound, both defeats may do the squad some good in the long term. Let's not forget, West Auckland and Chester Le Street are division one sides, a level we are not ready for but aspire to be in the coming years. I had to admire Barry Oliver for his brutally honest interview straight after the game. Emotions were raw and there was an element of shock and disbelief at what we had all witnessed. Town actually started the game in a confident manner, keeping possession, moving the ball from side to side and good distribution work from Dan Rowbotham set up Craig Hutchinson on goal but the striker shot straight at the goalkeeper.
All of a sudden, Town were three goals behind in a bizarre four minute spell. The first goal came from a throw in after the defence switched off and the second was just chaotic. The third was handed on a plate when Rowbotham got his angle wrong with a backward header. Fair play to the lads who did react well to our early aberrations. Chris Dickinson and Hutchinson linked up well but Dickinson could only loft the ball over the crossbar. Town pulled a goal back on thirty two minutes. Daniel Lambert powered his way through a crowd of players and layed the ball to an onrushing Luke Hogan who made no mistake with a confident finish. Just before half time, a fine move on the right side by Gary Redman ended in Hutchinson shooting wide under pressure from a Chester defender.
Despite going in at half time three-one behind, Town did have chances and they continued to look dangerous going forward but at the same time, vulnerable at the back. Hutchinson scored from the spot after the referee had harshly judged for handball in the box. Just when it looked as if Town had got a foothold in the game, another soft goal was conceded. Jack Connor and Dan Rowbotham both went for the same aerial ball that resulted in a gift for the away side and keeper Robbie Stockburn did well to keep the score down on sixty seven minutes with a one handed save.
Luke Hogan, who was one shining light for Town almost doubled his tally but his lofted shot went wide and Chester Le Street completed the scoring on eighty one minutes with more communication problems amongst the back four.
Town now have two remaining friendlies to iron out the defensive flaws. On Wednesday night we play Ryhope at a neutral venue to be confirmed and finally a home game on Saturday against Wearside League opposition, Coxhoe Athletic.
Nobody said it was going to be easy! After all, Town is a rollercoaster and we always come back for more!
Keep the faith!