Willington

AFC

0-2

Billingham

Town

1. Luke Cowie

2. Isam Mohammed

3. Bailey Hunter

4. Adam Comby

5. James Seymour

6. Gavin brown

7. Luke Black

8. Graham Stephenson

9. Michael Brown

10. Robbie Williamson

11. Stuart Hackett

 

12. William Preston

14. Chris Sawyer

15. Kenny Wilks

16. Michael Bell

 

(8) Craig Hutchinson

(31) Jack Connor

Paul Watson .1

Daniel Rowbotham .2

Mark Dixon .3

Jack Connor .4

Stephen Oakley .5

Harry Taylor .6

Danny Lambert .7

Chris Dickinson .8

Craig Hutchinson .9

Jamie Davis .10

Luke Hogan .11

 

Stewart Bath .12

Lee Jones .14

Ashley Lavan .15

Clayton MacDonald .16

Gary Redman .17

Match Report

 

It maybe somewhat premature to say this was a must win game, considering we are only into the middle of August; Nether the less, a much needed three points were required to kick start the season and you sensed the players knew this as well. Manager, Barry Oliver could see the positives from the opening two games, but last Saturdays 4.2 defeat at Blyth Town was a watershed moment. Oliver wanted to freshen things up and made two changes to the spine of the team. As much as I rate Jack Connor as a central defender, the team needs his dynamic approach in the roving central midfield role and Harry Taylor was given the nod to fill in as centre half. Taylor is short of match fitness, after recovering from leg surgery but his no nonsense approach and vocal qualities helped Town secure their first clean sheet of the season. Oliver was further rewarded for his decision to shift Connor further forward with a belter of a goal which left the Willington keeper perplexed. Overall, tonight was a balanced team performance, full of craft and endeavour against a spirited if depleted Willington side. In truth, the scoreline was a travesty of justice. Town hit the woodwork three times and several other opportunities were only inches away from the target.

 

Along with the aforementioned changes, Dan Rowbotham became the third player of the season to start at right back with the recovering Clayton MacDonald on the bench alongside Gary Redman. Willington had three regular defenders missing and were also without their main striker, Jason White.

 

The opening exchanges saw plenty of head tennis as both sides jostled for positioning. Willington tried their luck first with a low shot from Robbie Williamson but on eight minutes, Town took the lead. Rowbotham's long throw in was flicked across by Stephen Oakley and CRAIG HUTCHINSON headed home despite being surrounded by several defenders. The first quarter of an hour threatened to boil over but the referee controlled the situation with excellent judgement. Rather than hand out several yellow cards to both sides, a minutes conversation with the two captains resolved the situation and the game was better for it.

 

After twenty five minutes of even football, Town then dominated the rest of the half with Hutchinson, terrorising the defence with his movement and pace, dragging the central defenders out of position. One move which started with a flicked on header by Chris Dickinson, ended with Hutchinson striking the inside of the post after a superb turn into the box. Town made their superior possession count with a second goal on thirty two minutes. CONNOR, shifted the ball on his right foot and struck a beautiful ball into the top corner from thirty yards. The second goal stunned the home side who became distinctly quiet and Town were unfortunate not to get a third before half time. A stunning move that started and finished with Jamie Davis, bamboozled the defence and Davis volley wide deserved better.

 

HT Willington 0 Billingham Town 2

 

Billingham carried on where they left off, on the offensive. Mark Dixon struck the corner of the crossbar with a sweet right footed shot from twenty yards and Danny Lambert also hit the woodwork with a downward header. Luke Hogan had the left side all to himself with Isam Mohammed unable to cope with his blistering speed. Hogan will be wondering how the ball missed the top corner of the net with a piledriver from twenty five yards and on seventy seven minutes, the Hartlepool youngster tried his luck again with a bouncing effort that just went wide. As the full moon seemed to be moving closer to the ground, almost sinister like the Death Star in Star Wars, Town couldn't find the killer third goal and poor Stephen Oakley had to leave the pitch a minute early for an urgent mission but town comfortably saw out the injury time. Billingham Town squad will take part in a light training session on Saturday in preparation for another midweek away game at Brandon United.

 

FT Willington 0 Billingham Town 2

 

Graham Hutchinson

Press Officer