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 Post subject: Billingham Town 1 Heaton Stannington 1
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:17 pm 
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BILLINGHAM TOWN (0) 1 HEATON STANNINGTON (0) 1
Hutchinson 47 Campbell 8

Nothing could separate the two in form sides of division two on a bitterly cold afternoon and it was apt that both clubs lethal marksmen had a say on the final outcome. Since signing from North Shields, Connor Campbell had scored eleven goals in nine games while Craig Hutchinson topped Town’s goalscoring charts with thirteen - unlucky for some but by the final whistle, Hutchinson had moved onto fourteen. It’s unlikely Hutchinson will reach that magical 59 goal mark he achieved during the 2016/17 season, mainly because he’s up against better defences this time around but he won’t score a more important goal all season than the one he produced today. Why? Because this was a psychological point earned against a team that had the potential of ending Town’s unbeaten league run. The Stan didn’t particularly impress from an attacking sense, but they got their tactics spot on, especially in the first half when Town were looking to get back on level terms. The second half saw Billingham, deservedly back on an even keel and when they pushed for a winner, the visitors defence held firm like Stonewall Jackson at the Bull Run! Talking of Stonewall - Town supporters felt they should have had a penalty for handball during the first half but for a change, yours truly felt it would have been harsh if it had been given. Alas this was a battle of attrition where both sides didn’t merit a victory or indeed, defeat. Town remain top of the table with two games in hand over Chester Le Street Town and Thornaby who didn’t have a fixture this weekend.

Billingham’s goalkeeper curse continued with the unavailability of Oliver Simpson, Jack Patton, Michael Duff and Danny Rowe, so Nick Cranston, who only left school in July followed up his midweek cup debut with a league one. He was soon called into action on eight minutes as the visitors took the lead. Stephen Oakley was adjudged to have fouled outside the box allowing Jack Cooper a sight on goal. The former North Shields winger curled the wind assisted ball around the wall and with Cranston only managing to palm it back into play, CAMPBELL reacted the quickest and tucked home from five yards. Ten minutes later, Billingham thought they had equalised from a well worked piece of action. Matty Robinson, filling in at left back played a cute pass for Luke Hogan and the winger picked out Dan Flounders in the middle to score. There was an element of uncertainty as to why the goal had been chalked off, but from the main stand, the only real possibility of why the flag had been raised was that Hogan stood in an offside position. Town continued to probe for that elusive equaliser with half chances for Hutchinson and Joe Hillerby. The best move of the half involved Ash Lavan & Robinson with an intricate one-two which forced Daniel Reagan into an acrobatic save to keep out Lavan’s goal-bound strike. As half time approached, Town had two lucky escapes. Andrew Robertson was off target with a free header from Daniel Sayers cross and Campbell should have done better when he hooked his shot wide after good work from Robertson.

HT BILLINGHAM TOWN 0 HEATON STANNINGTON 1

Town had huffed and puffed in the first half but as is often the case this season, their second half performances, particularly at home have been excellent. It only took two minutes for them to get back on level terms. Hogan picked up the loose ball in a central midfield position and he produced an intricate chip allowing HUTCHINSON to score with a superb strike. The Stan momentarily lost their shape that had served them so well in the first half and began to make individual errors. Hillerby was unfortunate to see his free kick rebound off the middle of the post as Town enjoyed a positive passage of play. The game had opened up but defences denied clear cut chances as crunching challenges went in from both sides. There were blocked shots a plenty and Heaton Stannington had to endure several long throw ins during the closing stages. As the full time whistle went, neither side looked happy with a point and yet it was a fair result for all involved.

FT BILLINGHAM TOWN 1 HEATON STANNINGTON 1

Town:
Cranston, Moore, Robinson, Hillerby (Thompson), Oakley, Summers, Flounders (Maddison), Connor, Hutchinson, Lavan, Hogan (Connelly).
Unused: Hughes, Kirkbride.

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