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 Post subject: STOCKTON TOWN v BILLINGHAM TOWN PREVIEW
PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:52 pm 
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STOCKTON TOWN v BILLINGHAM TOWN PREVIEW
Saturday 4th March, Bishopton Road West (sixth form college), 3.00pm k.o.

Without doubt, this is the behemoth fixture of the league season so far! The previous two encounters were tight, cagey affairs but this game promises to be an open and exciting spectacle and I would be surprised if there wasn't goals on offer. Manager, Barry Oliver has plenty of options in terms of personnel and Towns style of play should be suited to the artificial surface. Town go into this game full of confidence off the back of a confidence boosting 3-0 win in midweek and another victory on Saturday would certainly upset the status quo. Also, Town still have games in hand over Team Northumbria and Billingham Synthonia.

THE OPPOSITION:
I have more or less exhausted my analysis of Stockton Town, with this being the third and final meeting of the season. After a promising start to their inaugural Northern League campaign, many observers suggested that Stockton would struggle on the poorer quality pitches during the winter months. Such a theory can be easily quashed by the fact that they were already used to such surfaces, or even worse playing in the Wearside League! Admittedly, their artificial surface is an advantage for them but most players are used to the conditions in any case. Having watched Stockton several times at home, the most notable problem the visiting opponents encounter is the weight of pass and over hitting longer balls. If Town are to beat Stockton, they will need to fight fire with fire and go toe to toe with them. The Anchors are blessed with firepower; Kallum Hannah spearheads the attack and likes to take the shot early. Sonni Coleman provides back up along with Tony Johnson and Max Craggs continues to rack up goals from dead ball situations. Tom Coulthard is probably the best centre half in the division and partner Adam Nicholson is a threat from corners. Ex Town players Alan Cossavella and Chris Dunwell rotate roles in the holding central midfield role while Joel Carter provides the pace out on the right wing. Promising youngster Kenny Hayes, who was influential in the Earnest Armstrong Memorial cup tie starts a three match suspension (Begins a weeks trial with Barnsley).

ONE TO WATCH: MATTHEW GARBUTT
Although Garbutt is only 23, he seems to have been around for a long time. The diminutive full back came to notice while plying his trade at a strong Norton & Stockton Ancients side in division one. Opportunities were limited so he joined Billingham Town the following season while Micky Dunwell was assistant to Carl Jarrett. Garbutt in those days played as an attacking midfielder and showed potential but lacked consistency. Now an established full back, Garbutt continues to impress and either Luke Hogan or Connor Dunlavey will have to be at their best if they want to make inroads out on the left wing!

RECENT RESULTS/HOME FORM/HEAD TO HEAD
Darlington R.A 0-2 Stockton (o.g 2)
Stockton 2-0 Northallerton (Craggs 2)
Shildon 3-0 Stockton (League Cup)
Stockton 1-1 Hebburn (Johnson)
Billingham Town 0-1 Stockton (EA Cup...Carter)
Consett 0-2 Stockton (League Cup...Nicholson, Hayes)

WWDWWWLDWLWWWWWDW W12 D3 L2 (Synthonia, Durham City) F50 A14

This Season: Billingham Town 1 (Oakley) Stockton 1
Billingham Town 0 Stockton 1 (EAM Cup)

SQUAD NEWS:
Mark Dixon begins his three match suspension and will also miss out on another derby when Town host Thornaby next Saturday afternoon. Mattie Osmond has filled in at left back in the past and is a solid replacement. Craig Hutchinson has yet to score against either Synthonia or Stockton Town but his low sense of gravity should be suited by the 3G surface and will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet. Skipper Stephen Oakley faces a late fitness test but is rated doubtful with a 40/60% chance of being involved.

SQUAD FROM: (Subject to change)
Leeds, Moore, Osmond, Redman, Rowbotham, Ridley, Oakley, Crossen, Connor, Macdonald, Lavan, Keogh, Davis, Dunlavey, Hogan, Beddow, Dickinson, Hutchinson.

POPPS POINTERS:
This is the big one because whoever wins this, I think will go on and win the league and that's no disrespect to synners or Team North. We have played them twice now and both games have been tight and it's going to be one of those games where whatever team turns up and plays to there potential will win. Stockton can afford to draw but we really need a win but a point is better than nothing and it would keep us still in with a chance of promotion. Of course we will be going there for the win! Stockton are a hard working side that have adapted to the way Dunners wants them to play and they do it well. They set up as a 4-1-4-1 without the ball but change to a 4-3-3 with the ball and they are so dangerous going forward but they know we are just as dangerous. This will be one of those games that can go either way or be a one sided game with goals galore!! Let's hope we are the ones celebrating after the game!!! UTT.

WEATHER: Light Rain 8c


Graham Hutchinson
Press Officer

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