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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 738
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It's very rare that I criticise referee's! January is still pantomime season and referee's are always going to be the villain of the show and today's man in black played his part in an eventful game! Strange decisions, an early Hebburn bombardment that could of seen Town 4-0 down inside the opening quarter of an hour; Then a three goal blitz from the blues followed by a second half comeback gives the impression this was a sporting equalivant to The Rocky Horror Show! For the neutral, it must have been great entertainment; In truth, it was nail biting stuff and Town were holding on at the end and were glad to get this one over and done with but rustiness was a contributory factor here. Town have only played twice since the 6-1 win at Crook; a week before Christmas and at times it showed. Barry Oliver also had to deal with a depleted squad and he was forced into changing both the left and right hand side of the team. Lee Moore switched to left back with Connor Dunlavey infront while Gary Redman started out on the right wing with Dan Rowbotham in close attendance. And yet Town still showed great character to leave Tyneside with the spoils from a ground that always provides a stern test in determination as well as endurance. Elliott Beddow described the turf as heavy in places during a recent interview after a cup game back here in November but today's going must have been close from Heavy to bottomless. Only footballers of a bygone age would revel in these conditions and the good news for Town is that only a visit to Darlington RA in February offers a similar scenario to today before the Spring temperatures increase.

Even the start had a farcical element to it....15 seconds in and the ball flies over the main stand.... Big problem... All the other match balls are still in the dressing room and the dressing room is 300 yards away!! The unpredictable nature of events continued throughout the whole game. The opening quarter of an hour was all Hebburn while Town were still mentally in the dressing room.... along with the match balls but the home side failed to take full advantage and were duly punished for it. A combination of outstanding goalkeeping and Hebburn's profligacy in front of goal kept Town in the game. Adam Rundle was only inches away off target with a sweet half volley, just outside the box and then Rundle was denied by Thomas Dawson at point blank range. Town were struggling with Hebburn's long ball tactics and Channon North was at the centre of it all; The languid centre forward had a great opportunity to take the lead but dwelt on the ball and Jack Connor was able to snuff out the danger. Another chance was wasted when Michael Watson headed wide when it looked easier to score. Dawson was at his magnificent best with an outstanding save that denied Christopher Smith. And against the run of play, Town took the lead on sixteen minutes; Chris DICKINSON took one touch and drilled the ball into the bottom corner from twenty yards. With half an hour gone the game became more even but it was Town who were masters in the final third. Rowbotham launched the ball forward, Dickinson won the knock on and Craig HUTCHINSON finished with aplomb. Hebburn were all at sea and the defence couldn't cope with the Dickinson/Hutchinson link up play. This time Hutchinson turned provider and DICKINSON poked the ball over the line with Kristofor Summers trying in vain to prevent it crossing the white paint! Dickinson was after his hat-trick with a close range free kick but the ball blazed over the crossbar, over the road and into the cemetery!!

HT Hebburn Town 0 Billingham Town 3

Another delay at the start of the second period with the referee, linesman and the groundsman trying frantically to fix the side netting. Like the first half, Town were slow out of the blocks and never recovered from their tardy start. Craig Malley launched the ball forward from forty yards but the ball dipped at the last moment and Dawson did well to tip the ball over. The referee gave Hebburn a suspect free kick on the edge of the box and Chris Feasey curled the ball round the wall leaving Dawson unsighted; The keeper managed to get a hand on it but could only push the ball into the side netting. Hebburn's second goal was even more controversial; Yet another long ball struck the back of the crossbar but the referee signalled for a corner. Town failed to deal with the corner and Christopher Smith headed home from close range. Barry Oliver reacted by bringing on Luke Hogan, Ashley Lavan and Elliott Beddow and fresh legs were required. Beddow had hardly been on the pitch when his momentum took him over the barrier, head first. Inexplicably, the referee and linesman who were only yards away failed to react and let play continue, much to the consternation of Town staff and supporters. Credit must go to the Hebburn management who did go over the Elliott to make sure he was OK. Six minutes into non existent injury time, Hebburn had their final chance. Feasey may have scored his first free kick but thankfully, his second attempt curled over the crossbar. A hard earned win, in difficult conditions and circumstances out of Town's control..... All that mattered was the vital three points!

FT Hebburn Town 2 Billingham Town 3

Graham Hutchinson
Press Officer

Sent from my Alcatel Onetouch Idol 3 (5.5)



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