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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 48

In another captivating cup tie, Town managed to get over last weeks penalty woes by scoring all their kicks in the shoot out to send the blues into the quarter final draw. The game ebbed and flowed; neither side able to fully control matters but this was a match where two very good teams, were not at there best and yet conjured up entertainment throughout. Town were easier on the eye; eager to release the wingers and attacking bursts through the middle while Hebburn played to their strengths, launching angled balls into the box for Channon North to get on the end of. That's not to say Hebburn are a long ball side, they were actually mobile and in Adam Rundle along with Glen Hargrave they have skill and speed but so did Town. Particularly in the first half, the home side had trouble dealing with Chris Dickinson and Craig Hutchinson plus Jack Connor was at his attacking best, given freedom to play knowing that Clayton MacDonald would sit deep behind him. Watching Billingham these days, you don't ever get the feeling that the team will get beat and when they do, it's usually a case of 'how did we loose that?'. Both Brandon United and Town are the only two teams confirmed as quarter finalists with six other ties to be completed. They include Team Northumbria v Stockton Town, Heaton Stannington v Bedlington Terriers, Northallerton v Ryton and Thornaby v Synthonia to mention a few. No date has been confirmed but Town can expect a mid January to February midweek encounter and also a trip to Tow Law at some stage!

With Stephen Oakley suspended and Matty Crossen unavailable, Assistant Manager Graham Popple decided to play Gary Redman at centre back rather than Connor dropping back from midfield. MacDonald retained his shirt in midfield while two reserve lads, Scott Close and Aaron Doyle were added to the bench. Lee Jones pulled out of the warm up yet again and is still suffering with a knee injury.

Town are renowned for explosive starts so supporters won't have been surprised when the blues took the lead after only seven minutes. Connor powered down the left side and layed the ball across for the incoming Elliott BEDDOW to score his third goal of the season. Connor was finding space to attack in the opening fifteen minutes and had two chances in quick succession; Lee Burrell saved his first effort and then Hutchinson set up the midfielder but he side footed wide. Hebburn took twenty minutes to find a way back into the game and it took a world class save from Thomas Dawson to deny Adam Rundle an equaliser. The home side continued to press, launching angled balls into the box which the Town defence struggled to deal with. One such foray into the box could only be half cleared to North who finished well with a strike that flew into the top corner. Town reacted with a couple of half chances - Connor struck wide from twenty five yards and then Hutchinson saw his shot on the turn saved by Burrell. On forty minutes, Billingham had solid claims for penalty when Hutchinson appeared to be taken out from the side on the edge of the box. Referee, Neil Wright waved play on but Town didn't benefit as Luke Hogan's strike hit the side netting. As half timed approached, Hebburn took the lead from another cross into the box. Rundle's back post Corner was headed home by the unmarked James Davidson.

HT Hebburn Town 2 Billingham Town 1

Lee Moore could only manage four minutes of the second half, so he was replaced by Connor Dunlavey which meant Beddow filled in at right back. Dunlavey made an instant impact on the game by releasing Hutchinson in midfield and Town's top scorer superbly lofted the ball over the defence for Hogan but the ball overran and bobbled into Burrell's arms. Town were playing the better football and Hutchinson was inches away from finding the top corner. And the away side took a deserved equaliser a minute later when Hogan found himself in a similar situation to his earlier chance but this time HOGAN slotted the ball past Burrell. The uncertain nature of the tie continued when Hebburn regained the lead on sixty nine minutes. Hargrave powered away on the right side and his pace took him inside the box and he found the bottom corner with a precision strike. It only took seven minutes for Town to get back on level terms and what a goal it was too! There didn't seem to be too many options when CONNOR picked up the ball in midfield and yet he managed to shoot from all of twenty five yards with a screamer, leaving Burrell clasping at thin air. The last ten minutes became frantic, both sides searching for a winner but neither could muster a serious chance and so it went to penalties. The first seven penalties were confidently despatched and then Scott Wallace struck the crossbar leaving Hutchinson the chance to send Town into the quarter final. The forward took his time and coolly placed the ball past Burrell.

FT Hebburn Town 3 Billingham Town 3
Billingham Town win 5-3 on penalty kicks

Graham Hutchinson
Press Officer



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