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 Post subject: Stockton Town 4 Billingham Town 0
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:32 pm 
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STOCKTON TOWN (1) 4 BILLINGHAM TOWN (0) 0
Nicholson 21, 71 Carter 79 Coleman 89

When Town were indomitable for five months, time flew by but seven days is a long time in football! Last weeks unexpected defeat to Ryton and today's significant result against Stockton highlights the precariousness nature of this division. In truth, it wasn't a 4.0 type of game but at the same time, Stockton were ruthless when the opportunities came their way and ran out worthy winners. They didn't win this game by playing Town off the park; they won it because of game intelligence. The first three goals all came via long balls or crosses into the box; it is a weakness that plagued Town last season and has steadily crept back in since the Hebburn match. It is also no coincidence that this pattern of events began when skipper Stephen Oakley got injured and if Town are to recover from this setback, they need the big man back as soon as possible. Poor Alex Leeds conceded four goals but none of them were his fault; in fact Leeds made several fine saves when Town were chasing the game. On the positive side, Town still have thirty points to play for and four of the next five fixtures are at home. The lads showed great character after the Ryton loss, with a convincing win at Northallerton but they cannot afford to dwell too long on this game. There is still a long way to go and at some stage, both Team Northumbria/Synthonia will drop points!

Due to Mark Dixon's suspension and Matty Osmond unavailable because of work, Lee Moore switched to left back while Gary Redman slotted into the right back role. Ashley Lavan was handed a rare start in the middle of the park and Jamie Davis remained at centre back. Also Craig Hutchinson looked dapper, sporting a new hair cut!! Billingham began the game in a confident manner, spraying the ball around at pace and Jack Connor tried his luck from thirty yards but his shot sailed over the crossbar. The warning signs were apparent on seven minutes when Adam Nicholson won an aerial ball and Leeds got down low to make the save. Almost immediately, Town broke on the counter attack with Hutchinson shooting wide from twenty five yards and then Chris Dickinson pulled his effort past Liam Jordan's right hand post. The home side took the lead on twenty one minutes and it was sloppy goal to give away. Max Craggs free kick found NICHOLSON unmarked at the back post and the centre half had time to control and fire the ball past Leeds. Stockton now looked the better side and Craggs did well to turn and get the shot away but Leeds made a comfortable save. As half time approached, Town finally got in behind a stubborn defence; Connor burst through the middle and after a quick one-two with Hutchinson, the midfielder had Jordan to beat but the keeper made a crucial save that proved to be a key moment of the game. An equaliser at this stage could have changed the outlook of the match but the home side held on despite Hutchinson going close with a header.

HT Stockton Town 1 Billingham Town 0

Both sides had half chances on resumption of play; Kallum Hannah saw his half volley go wide and unusually for Craggs, his free kick rolled harmlessly past the wall. At the other end, Dickinson lofted his free kick over the bar and Hutchinson fired across goal. Billingham were lucky not to go further behind when Coulthard was left completely unmarked from Craggs corner but Leeds made an outstanding reaction save to keep out the defenders header. However, four minutes later, Stockton did score from an identical situation; Joe Carter's cross evaded Connor but NICHOLSON ghosted in behind with a bullet of a header. The second goal did see a reaction from the away side but it was only transient; Jordan tipped over Crossen's shot from all of forty yards and Hutchinson couldn't beat Jordan with a low shot. Stockton went further ahead on seventy nine minutes and once again, Billingham pressed the self destruct button. A long ball forward seemed harmless enough and when the defence allowed the ball to bounce, CARTER sensed an opportunity and headed over Leeds who was left stranded. The game was lost but Billingham tried to pull a goal back; Connor Dunlavey blazed over, Stephen Oakley headed over and then Hutchinson fired into the side netting. With minutes remaining, Leeds denied Fred Woodhouse with his legs but he could do nothing to prevent Stockton's fourth goal. The keeper palmed away Connelly's strike and the ball fell kindly to Sonni Coleman who coolly slotted home. The majority of the game had been fairly even but it's fair to say Billingham collapsed inside the final twenty minutes. Town now have a week to iron out the problems before another derby next Saturday against Thornaby.

FT Stockton Town 4 Billingham Town 0

Graham Hutchinson
Press Officer





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