West 3-3 Birtley Town
Due to depleted numbers on the Birtley squad with injuries, suspensions, work commitments & 3 players cup tied there was an average age of around 22, !!
Andy Mal (1)
Matty Hornsby (2), Dan Hepplewhite (6), Chris Smith (5), Scott Wallace (3)
Callum Smith (7), Dan Smith (8), Scott Oliver (4), Young Raddish (11),
Ryan Arnott (10), Ben Johnson (9)
Subs, Young Callum, Gary Bailes. Ryan came off for Callum and Raddish came off for Bailes.
West Auckland from what i seen had a very strong side out, John Campbell & Matty Moffat up top, Elliott Gardner and co supporting them !!
Game started brightly, both sides creating a couple of half chances with West having a majority of the possession without hurting Birtley.
Birtley played a lot on the break with some great interchanges in the midfield and up top. From what i recall there were about 4 good chances for Birtley in the 1st half with two 1 on 1's. West having a few shots from long range and missed a glorious chance when 1 on 1 with the keeper.
Score 0-0 at HT.
2nd half started brightly for West, Putting Birtley under quite a bit of pressure early on.
West were granted an very debatable Free kick which was put in the box, a bit of a scramble but then a great finish from the West no 6 after an initial good save from Andy Mal in the Birtley Goal.
About 3 mins later a good break from West down their righthand side, Scott Wallace got a great tackle in to stop the West winger shooting however to everyone's surprise the referee gave a penalty. I don't think Birtley would of been awarded the same decision at the other end !!
Campbell smashed the pen into the keepers top right hand corner giving the Birtley Keeper no chance.
Then came Birtley's fightback, they showed great character and effort. Following a great turn and through ball by Ben Johnson, Dan Smith coolly finished into the top corner from 18 yards out with the keeper closing him down.
Both sides had a couple of half chances but then young Callum who had came on for Ryan put a cross into the back post which was slightly over hit and it ended up evading all and into the back of the net for his 1st goal in senior football.
Both sides pushed and it was West again who went ahead, a fantastic volley from the edge of the area giving the keeper no chance. A type of volley you can only stand back and applaud, again i think it was scored by the West no 6!
Birtley kept on pushing and trying to force extra time, a great move and skill from Ben who got to the byline and forced West to conceded another corner. I'm not quite sure who or how the penalty was won, however there was only a matter of seconds left on the referees watch.. Up stepped Matty Hornsby who cooly sent the keeper the wrong way.
Extra time was quite dull compared to the previous 90 mins, both sides have a couple of half chances.
Pens, Matty Hornsby, Ben Johnson, Scott Oliver, Andy Mal, Gary Bailes.
4/5 were scored, Overall it was a fantastic team performance from Birtley Town who went away from the game with all 13 of their heads held high !!
The whole of the back 4 defended as if their lives depended on it which they had to !!
The 2 centre midfielders, Scott Oliver and Dan Smith were immense, partically Dan as his energy and quality was there for all to see !!
Particular praise goes to the 2 wide men, Callum and Raddish, making your Northern league debuts away as West Auckland at the age of 17 was fantastic and they i themselves, the management and the supporters proud.
Up top Ryan and Ben worked their socks off and then used their quality when they got the chance. The work rate both put in was absolute fantastic, particuly Ben who never stopped for the full 120 mins !
Callum and Bailes came on and did the team proud, both played in unusual positions and did great jobs, again Callum on 17 !!!! That says it all..
It was a great game to watch and that is mainly down to the way Birtley Town performed !!!