Heaton Stannington 0-2 Billingham Town
Wednesday 6 April 2016
It was a miserable result for the Stan on a miserable very cold night. Dekka and Geoff struggled to put a team together due to injuries and player availability. As a result there were 4 changes including a 1st start for Rob Nolan, who had only played 1 game as a sub in January, and a return from injury for club legend Gary Yates. There was also a place on the bench for physio Peter Ward, assistant manager Geoff Walker and his son Billy. The Stan had opportunities early on to sew up the game, and they paid for not doing so in a 3 minute period in the 2nd half.
The first mentionable incident happened in the 7th minute when Stoddart, who had a great game overall, kicked the ball away when the referee had whistled for a foul. He was deservedly booked although the referee failed to book any visiting players later in the match when they continuously time wasted by kicking the ball away. The start of the match mainly involved pressure by the Stan but without much actually happening. In the 14th minute, Burns sent a ball in which Scotter in the visitor’s goal nervously cleared. 2 minutes later he caught the ball twice, the 2nd time from a Nolan lob from the edge of the box. A visiting forward then had a shot under pressure but Smith got down to fumble the ball out for a corner. The Stan then counter attacked and the resulting Jones short corner was blasted by Burns into the box but was stopped by Scotter. Smith then caught a ball from a corner at the other end. This flurry was the start of a 10 minute period where the teams continuously attacked and counter attacked but good defending at both ends prevented any goals. The visitors were sharper in the 27th minute resulting in Scott heading clear and when the ball came back in, Maddison’s shot beat Smith but went just wide. A minute later and Scotter cleared a Stan attack followed by 2 close range blocks. There was then a few minutes of Billingham attacks where the Stan put themselves under unnecessary pressure. Smith saved well in the 34th minute from a shot but Billingham then had a great opportunity with 3 shots in less than a minute as the Stan failed to clear the attacks. In the 36th minute, the Stan had their 1st attack for a while but it was blocked. 2 minutes later Burns had a great run but was blocked and Dixon then forced a corner. Just before half time, a Stan shot in the box from a Jones free kick went just wide and at the other end Lambert finished the half by shooting straight at Smith.
In the 50th minute, poor defending gave the Stan a couple of chances including a Yates shot across the visitor’s goal which beat Scotter but went just wide. There was a moment of madness in the 55th minute when Ben Telford, under no pressure, headed back to Smith but the ball was intercepted by Hutchinson who shot into the roof of the net with a great half volley. The visitors then had 4 other attacks in quick succession with the last in 58 minutes resulting in them increasing their lead to 2-0. A good team effort led to one player running through the Stan defence. Smith got down to block but the ball bounced over him and was tapped in by the incoming Hutchinson. In the 66th minute a good attack involving Nolan and Telford ended with Jones heading just wide. 2 minutes later Imray was brought down in the box during a Stan attack but nothing was given. There was then a period of relative inactivity before a Billingham shot was cleared from in front of the goal by a Stan defender. Some Stan pressure resulted in a corner for them in 86 minutes. Scott went up to meet Jones’s corner and was brought down but again nothing was given. The Stan had another couple of attacks, with the 2nd seeing a shot go just wide, but the match ended in a 2-0 defeat for the Stan.
Stan Team: Smith; Telford; Dixon (Ward); Stoddart; Scott; Imray; Yates (Walker, W); Bailey; Nolan; Jones; Burns. Unused subs: Ray, J: Walker, B. yellow Card: Stoddart.