Match Report: 07/01/12
Norton & Stockton Ancients 0, Billingham Synthonia 1
STL Northern League Division 1
Synners made the short trip to Station Road, Norton and named an unchanged starting eleven following the win over Bishop Auckland on Bank Holiday Monday. New signing Chris Emms taking his place on the bench.
NORTON & STOCKTON ANCIENTS: Fleming, Furness, Brown, Olabode, D Mulligan, Gott, Burton, Harbron(c), Magowan (Alexander), N Mulligan (Richards), Scott. Subs not used; Barnes, Garbutt, Grainger.
BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA: Moody, Bettson, McWilliams, Forster, Wray, Liddle, Hillerby(c), Henry (Blyth), Gardner (Emms), Earl, M Jameson (Crossen). Subs not used; Collantine, Storr.
An early shot from Norton's Callum Brown forced Synthonia keeper Josh Moody into making a save and then Theo Furness tested Moody with a shot from the right of goal, with the Synners stopper again coming out on top. Billingham were forward in the 13th minute when Dan McWilliams won possession off former Synner James Magowan and played a great ball forward for Danny Earl, but a defender just did enough to stop the striker in his tracks. Ross Gardner and ex-Synner Andy Harbron both received cautions for fouls on each other as both teams tried to stamp some midfield authority on the game. Goal chances were kept to a minimum with Earl seeing his low cross gathered by Norton keeper James Fleming. Then a ball in from the left for the Ancients was flicked goalwards, but Moody was well positioned to catch. Norton came forward on the half hour mark with a Furness cross coming to Magowan who headed over. A few minutes later and the hosts again threatened with a cross from the left to Magowan seeing the striker lift the ball over Moody towards goal, but Danny Wray read the play well to clear off the goal-line. Both sides had efforts as a tight first half came to a close, with Chay Liddle playing in Shane Henry from the left, with his shot going wide of the target. Then a shot from Furness from the edge of the penalty area went over the bar. Norton almost opened the scoring in first half injury time when Magowan shot over on the half volley.
Half-time: Norton 0, Synners 0
The second half started in the same vein with both midfields working overtime to gain possession. Billingham attacked as Henry found Earl in the left channel with his shot seeing Fleming make a good save at the expense of a corner. The Michael Jameson flag-kick from the left though, was punched clear by Fleming. This was followed by a Henry shot which went just past the left hand post. Synners continued to look threatening at this stage and Robbie Bettson made a good run forward and played in Gardner on the right. He in turn found Jameson, but the Norton defence managed to clear. The Ancients forced a corner on 56 minutes with the Nathan Mulligan flag-kick being cleared by McWilliams as far as Furness who could only shoot wide. Synthonia were beginning to gather some momentum as the game passed the hour mark, but in the main Fleming was left untroubled. A ball forward for Henry saw him shoot over and then a David Hillerby long range effort was comfortable for the Norton keeper. Billingham made changes in midfield with substitutes Jamie Blyth, Chris Emms and Matt Crossen coming on to replace Henry, Gardner and Jameson. Emms was involved immediately with his 69th minute free-kick dipping too late and going over the bar. Norton then threatened in the 71st minute with a ball from the right played in to Andrew Burton who with his back to goal, turned and shot wide. Liddle brought Billingham forward and forced a corner which Emms sent into the danger area. Norton could only clear as far as Crossen who saw his shot blocked for another corner. This time Liddle received the ball, but also saw his effort blocked, the loose ball coming to Hillerby who found Crossen, his shot going wide. The game was still finely balanced, but the hosts almost opened the scoring in the 80th minute with a strike on goal from Leon Scott bring a great save out of Moody. Then a corner for the home side saw a shot on goal blocked before a header wide. On 90 minutes Crossen made a strong run on the left, but was brought down. Emms' free-kick seeing Fleming punch clear. It was another late show from Billingham as they again took three points in the closing moments of a game. A 93rd minute run from CHRIS EMMS from the left saw him go past a defender in the box before driving home into the bottom corner.
Full-time: Norton 0, Synners 1
Referee: Mr W Broadbent, Assistants: M Ryan, M McKitterick.
Next up for Billingham is a home league fixture against Newton Aycliffe this coming Saturday afternoon.
Tucker's view from the dug-out
It took a brilliant individual goal from new signing Chris Emms to separate the two sides yesterday. We were pleased with our performance especially in the second half when we really took the game to Norton. Our build up play was excellent at times but we just failed to apply the necessary quality in the final third that we normally produce. We know we can play better but what cannot be questioned is how hard the players are working for each other. It is quite clear how much this side is improving and if the players continue to show the same endeavour and commitment that they are currently doing then I am sure there are exciting times ahead.