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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 70
Hillerby 24, Hutchinson 44,
Lavan 87

Billingham Town are the new league leaders after an expedient performance at Millfield. With Thornaby throwing away a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 at home to Tow Law, and Chester Le Street also held to a draw at Easington - those results meant that Town jumped from third to first in the table. Obviously it’s early days, and Billingham have set the foundations for a good season but there are other teams that could still become promotional rivals such as Heaton Stannington and Northallerton Town. Next Saturday, Town entertain the Stan in what invariably is a difficult fixture for both clubs and it will be another challenge for Barry Oliver & Paul Edwards youthful squad. Town are unbeaten in twelve league games this season and they were never in danger of losing that record against a spirited Crook side. Billingham were workmanlike - while they relied on their firepower in the final third to secure the points. Winning on the road or at least earning a point has become ingrained in Town’s culture and another collective team effort was enough to take the spoils.

Oliver & Edwards always like to keep supporters guessing when it comes to team selection but both managers felt they had to honour the same eleven that defeated Thornaby in midweek. Crook began the opening ten minutes with some neat link up play, especially from Phil Caley who was dropping deep with Liam Jarvie. For Billingham, it took up to the twenty minute mark for them to get a foothold in the game and they opened the scoring moments later. Ash Lavan saw his close range strike blocked and the ball fell to Jamie Davis on the right hand side; playing as an unorthodox right winger, Davis pulled the ball back for Luke Hogan who swivelled and then allowed Joe HILLERBY to rifle home. Craig Hutchinson then proved too strong for Jordan Fielding in an aerial 50-50 ball, allowing the striker to race away from the defender and Philip Pentonty did enough with his heel to take away the pace, despite the ball going through his legs! The blues were then fortunate in not going down to ten men when Michael Duff collided into Caley outside the box. The forward was going away from goal but the keeper so easily could have received a red card instead of a yellow. Both sides were looking to attack although the majority of the moves were breaking down in the final third. Hogan was then denied by Pentonty and Nathan Stephenson struck the underside of the crossbar junction with a fierce drive that drifted away at the last moment. As half time approached, the blues extended their lead. Mark Dixon did well to work his way into the box - Lavan picked up the loose ball when Crook failed to clear their lines and HUTCHINSON tucked home with an impudent finish.


In many ways the second half was similar to the first. Crook began brightly followed by Billingham having the better chances. Stephenson’s curling effort was comfortably saved by Duff and Davis struck the outside of the post from an acute angle. Lee Moore’s delicate cross that was intended towards the back post bounced back off the crossbar as Town searched for a third goal. With twenty minutes to go both sides were reduced to ten men. Stephenson saw red for a bad challenge on Dixon and the full back was also issued with a straight red for retaliation. Calum Johnston blazed over after Duff failed to collect inside his own goal area but Town finally killed off the game with minutes remaining. Substitute Arthur Connelly tenaciously won the ball near the corner flag and picked out LAVAN inside the box. The forward somehow managed to chip the ball into the far corner of the net - was it a cross? Was it deliberate? Who knows but it made the scoreline more appealing.


Duff, Moore (Kirkbride), Dixon, Connor, Oakley (c), Summers, Hillerby (Flounders), Davis, Hutchinson, Lavan, Hogan (Connelly).
Unused: Morris, Hughes.

Sent from my iPad



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