Billingham

Town

 

 

Chris Dickinson (69)

1-2

Cleethorpes

Town

(9) Taylor

(20) Robertson

Liam Higton .1

Tim Lowe .2

Peter .3

Jack Richardson .4

Matty Coleman .5

Matt Bloomer .6

Luke Mascall .7

(C) Alex Flett .8

Andy Taylor .9

Brody Robertson .10

Liam Davis .11

 

Mark Cooper .12

John Oglesby .14

Josh Sunder .15

Kieran Wressell .16

.17

1. Tom Dawson

2. Mark Dixon

3. Daniel Rowbotham

4. Jack Connor

5. Stephen Oakley (C)

6. Matthew Crossen

7. Chris Dickinson

8. Jamie Davis

9. Craig Hutchinson

10. Elliott Beddow

11. Luke Hogan

 

12. Gary Redman

14. Clayton McDonald

15. Lee Moore

16. Connor Dunlavey

17. Ashley Lavan

Match Report

Wembley dream is over for another year after Town valiantly went down to a 2.1 home defeat against higher ranked opposition. And on reflection, this was an opportunity lost for the blues because the expected gulf in class never materialised. Cleethorpes came into the game flying high in the Toolsport North East Counties Premier Division with a squad including several ex professionals and players who reached National North level (Step 3). Two well taken goals from both of their strikers meant Town were always up against it but a spirited second half performance almost sent the tie into extra time but it wasn't meant to be. The reaction at the final whistle from the opposition bench told it's own story as they jumped up and down, fist pumping towards the Town Ultras but they didn't care as they lifted their scarfs into the air, waiting to clap off their heroes who had taken them on a wonderful journey. Who could ever forget the jubilant scenes at Bishop Auckland, the club bonding session at Ashton Town and the famous bear hat photo, in full flight at Bottesford Town? The Vase has brought Billingham Town back to life and reinvigorated people's souls after years of soul searching, hoping for a messiah to turn the club around. Much has been said and written about Barry Oliver and Graham Popple but their efforts to change this club....For the better has become infectious. We even had a visitor from the Ashton Town region to cheer us on, believing we were good enough to go all the way! Alas we haven't managed to pull it off and news that Cleethorpes were paired with Atherton Collieries in the next round softened the blow somewhat. Atherton had already seen off Jarrow Roofing, Penrith and Shildon so the Owls are in for a tough time but everybody at Billingham Town wishes them well in the fifth round.

 

The big surprise before kick off was the news that skipper Stephen Oakley was deemed fit to start the game. Originally, Dan Rowbotham was set to start in the middle but Lee Moore felt unwell which meant Rowbotham started at right back with Oakley pairing Mattie Crossen. Oliver went with an attacking central midfield with Jamie Davis partnering Jack Connor. Connor Dunlavey returned to the bench after missing out on the Synners game.

 

Aware that Billingham are experts at blistering starts, Cleethorpes were happy to play the game at a slow pace and the opening exchanges were full of stop/start situations. As the game settled down, Town sloppily conceded on nine minutes and it came from route one football from the goalkeeper. Liam Higton's punt upfield caught the defence unawares but Andy Taylor was alert to it and tucked the ball into the bottom corner, much to the delight of the small away following. Town had an excellent chance to equalise on eighteen minutes when Mark Dixon set up Davis for a mazy run into the box and Higton made a reactionary save to push the ball over the crossbar. The miss proved to a pivotal moment in the game because Cleethorpes doubled their lead moments later. Jack Richardson, who was pulling the strings in midfield released Brody Robertson and the prolific marksman slotted the ball in between Thomas Dawson's legs and into the back of the net. Chris Dickinson tried his luck from twenty yards but the ball was always rising over the bar. Town were struggling to make an impact on the game while the away side excelled with their game management.

 

HT Billingham Town 0 Cleethorpes Town 2

 

By all accounts, the dressing room became vocal and whatever was said, Billingham Town reacted well in the second half. Craig Hutchinson had a downward header saved and also a strike inside the box was saved by Higton. Cleethorpes were still dangerous on the counter attack and Liam Davis struck the underside of the crossbar but the ball was not deemed to have crossed the line. On sixty eight minutes, Billingham pulled a goal back when DICKINSON struck the ball through a crowded box and through the legs of a beleaguered Higton. Cleethorpes started to drop further deeper as Town controlled possession; Dickinson had a curling effort that went high and wide then Luke Hogan was closed down by Higton as he was about to get a shot away. As time ebbed away, there was still one last opportunity when Dickinson floated the ball into the danger area; Gary Redman ghosted into the box but his header went wide with the goal at his mercy. Dawson then denied Mark Cooper but the save became irrelevant when Middlesbrough referee Samuel Packer blew his whistle for full time.

 

FT Billingham Town 1 Cleethorpes Town 2

 

Graham Hutchinson

Press officer