Billingham Synthonia 1-1 Heaton Stannington
Saturday 2 January 2016
Although this was the first match of 2016, the timing of the final whistle rather than the New Year bells was of more significance at the impressive ‘The Stadium’ in Billingham. The Stan made 2 changes from Tuesday night including a debut for Joe Fulcher on his return to the club. New forward Rob Nolan also made his debut as a half time substitute.
The rain had stopped and the wind had died down by the start of the match and in the 2nd minute, a home attack saw a player break free of the Stan defence and run in on goal but Smith did well to put the ball out for a corner. 4 minutes later a ball to Yates saw him run into the box but, with only the keeper to beat, he tried to go left and round him but slipped to create the first ‘youtube moment’ of 2016 as nominated by the Stan’s merchandise mogul Hendy. In the 10th minute Smith blocked another home attack. 2 minutes later Imray got into the box with the ball and although he slipped he recovered to pass to Yates who was blocked. The ball then went to Telford who shot wide. In 14 minutes, a Synners attack on the edge of the box was not cleared and the ball went through the Stan defence into the box followed by Garvie who shot past Smith to make it 1-0 to Synthonia. After a Stan attack and a home shot that went wide, the Stan lost the ball in midfield in the 18th minute but Smith dived at the feet of the advancing forward to get the ball. 2 minutes later and a home free kick was headed wide followed shortly by another attempt that went high over the Stan bar. The Stan then had a number of attacks that were blocked. In 29 minutes a Billingham free kick was saved by Smith which was followed by another 2 home attacks that were blocked by the Stan defence. In 37 minutes, Smith caught a home shot and then caught a cross-ball before a forward could get to it. 5 minutes before half time, Ray got injured and had to be replaced by Davison. The Stan finished the half trying to attack. Stoddart ran in on goal and crossed to Yates who was blocked. The Stan attacked again though and Telford was brought down just outside the box when he was through on goal. He took the free kick himself but it went into and across the 6 yard box and was missed by everyone there.
The Stan attack was freshened up at half time with Nolan replacing Yates but the first clear effort of the half was by the home side in the 50th minute when a free kick was put over the bar. In 56 minutes, Nolan’s shot was put just over the bar by the home keeper. The resulting corner was eventually caught by the keeper and was followed by 3 other Stan attacks. In the 60th minute, Smith blocked a home attack followed by a Stan defender clearing another attack from a free kick. In 64 minutes, a Hayton shot was blocked and was followed by Telford shooting just wide from outside the box. Stoddart then sent a ball up the left to Hayton who beat a defender and passed in the box to Bailey who was blocked. The Stan then had 3 more attempts at attacking before a Billingham counter attack was cleared by Stoddart. There were further attacks at each end before a Norton forward beat the Stan defence in 69 minutes but was blocked by Smith. A home counter attack 2 minutes later saw Smith block the ball but it went straight to an opposition player who shot wide. The match continued to be end to end and in 75 minutes Bailey headed over. A minute later and Telford cleared off the Stan goal line with Wear then sending the ball up to Hayton who turned it to Nolan on the left who crossed it to Telford running in on the right but he was blocked by the home keeper. In the 81st minute a home attack saw the ball go across the front of the Stan goal but was missed by the incoming forward. 2 minutes later and a Telford attempt in the box was blocked. He was then brought down but surprisingly no penalty was given. In 87 minutes, a Nolan attack saw the home keeper get to the ball just before him. 2 minutes later and a Synthonia player broke free but shot over. Nolan then attacked for the Stan but twice his attempts to cross were blocked. Into injury time and a ball from a home corner was cleared by Smith but went straight to a home player although Smith managed to stop the shot with his feet. The Stan then attacked but were blocked in the box. With time running out, the Stan sent the ball back in towards the home goal and a Hayton shot was cleared by the keeper. Dodsworth took the resulting corner and sent the ball into the 6 yard box which Hayton, with the last kick off the game, buried into the back of the net. As the Stan Army roared in delight, the referee blew his whistle and the match ended 1-1. A draw was the least the Stan deserved against their fifth placed opposition and the Stan Army would have been fuming if they had come away from Teesside with nothing.
Stan Team: Smith; Scott, P; Stoddart; Ray (Davison); Wear; Fulcher; Telford; Bailey; Yates (Nolan); Hayton; Imray (Dodsworth).