Billingham Town Football Club
A disappointing and disjointed performance ended in defeat for Town on a balmy night in West Auckland. Town started brightly and impressed in the opening quarter of an hour with some quick and incisive football. The difference between the two sides was the quality in front of goal. If Town were profligate then West were clinical. Steven Richardson, a recent signing from Dunston and Adam Burnicle showed the quality that is required if Town are to return to this level of football. And yet it could have all been different. Daniel Lambert, Chris Dickinson and Craig Hutchinson started in an attacking diamond formation. All three linked up superbly in the opening minutes but Hutchinson was unable to guide the ball home after a selfless pass from Dickinson. Lee Jones had a shot deflected wide as Town continued to dominate and that was quickly followed by a role reversal when Hutchinson squared for Dickinson but the keeper just diverted the ball away from the striker.
And then Town struck the self destruct button. Jack Connor was penalised for a foul on Richardson despite the original offence taking place outside the box. Burnicle converted the penalty with a precise strike in the top corner. Town went further behind when Burnicle sweet strike powered over goalkeeper Robbie Stockburn and Richardson was on hand to score after Daniel Rowbotham headed off his own goaline. West scored a third goal from another penalty when Connor scythed down Richardson inside the sixteen yard box. Once again, Burnicle stepped up and drove the ball down the middle.
After such a promising start, Town must have felt it wasn't to be their day when they missed a great chance to get back in the game. A needless challenge on Lee Jones inside the box gave Dickinson the opportunity to score from the spot but West keeper, David Knight dived low to his left to palm away to safety.
The second half was more even and chances for both sides were few and far between. This was partly down to the fact that both managers, Andy Campbell and Barry Oliver made multiple changes as the half progressed. West completed the scoring on fifty minutes with Burnicle netting his hat-trick from a narrow angle.
Overall, not an ideal scenario but Town had several players unavailable and a few of the lads were carrying injuries. Mark Dixon missed the game after damaging two fingers in last week's win over Guisborough and Jamie Davis came off with a tight hamstring. However, neither are thought to be long term injuries but both may miss the forthcoming friendly on Saturday against Chester Le Street. Just to confirm that our friendly against Ryhope will now take place at a neutral venue to be confirmed but our final friendly against Coxhoe will be at home as advertised.
FT West Auckland 4 Billingham Town 0