Bedford Terrace – Ebac Northern League Division 1.
Attendance – 90.
Hebburn Town gatecrashed the top three of the Ebac Northern League Division One last night following a scintillating display on Teesside, and a little bit of help from a Mars bar, as they defeated Billingham Town by a scoreline of 5-2 to make it six away wins out of six in all competitions this season.
Manager Paul Bennett had called for “another big performance” before kick-off and after an opening 20 minute spell where the home side were gifted a number of chances, including an opening goal, Hebburn eventually clicked through the gears and blew their opponents away.
Despite having most of the possession from the start, that opening goal was one that Hebburn should have avoided. Jamie Owens was allowed too much space on the left and his lobbed cross into the box was met by the powerful head of Michael Dunwell who nodded past Dan Regan from an unmarked position after 16 minutes.
It didn’t take long for the Hornets to take a grip of the game. After some near misses the equaliser came after 28 minutes. A pinpoint Jonny Davis corner from the left found the head of Dan Kirkup and a combination of three home players managed to scoop the ball away off the goalline, only to find the dangerous Mark Rasmussen just outside the box.
Rasmussen’s deft flick through to James Luccock, moving into the right channel of the box, allowed the winger a yard of space from his marker and he drilled the ball into the far corner to score his first goal for the club following his summer move from North Shields.
Within a minute Hebburn were ahead. Again it was a perfect Davis ball into Kirkup and the giant defender nodded the ball down for Tony Stephenson to stroke in a close range shot.
By this stage Hebburn were flying down both flanks with the home full-backs backing off from both Rasmussen and Luccock . It was Luccock on the left-wing who created Hebburn’s third goal after 34 minutes.
Kirkup broke a home attack down at the heart of the defence and passed the ball out wide. Luccock’s first touch was to nod the ball ahead of him on the halfway line. His second touch put the ball beyond the defence while he galloped through towards goal. With the ‘keeper saving his first shot, the winger managed to keep the ball in and instead of going for goal again, Luccock calmly centred for Stephenson to net his second of the evening.
Before the first-half was over, Stephenson had claimed his hat-trick. Having scoffed a Mars bar during the first-half for energy, Stephenson’s forward play was as sublime as his free-kick was on the stroke of half-time. With the ball placed on the right angle of the box and a four-man wall ahead of him, Stephenson struck the ball low and with enough curl to clip in off the far post.
By the time the hosts pulled a goal back through a Jamie Owens penalty after 77 minutes, the Hornets should have been further ahead with Scott Robson missing a great chance when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Yet with an FA Vase clash away to Consett on Saturday, there was no need to push the performance on once the game was won.
Even so, a fifth goal followed during injury time when a long ball forward was chased by Carl Paterson from the left-back position who then won the challenge with the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into an empty net to seal a deserved victory in front of the watching Martin Gray who brings his Darlington side to South Tyneside next Tuesday for a Durham Challenge Cup clash.
“Everything I asked the lads to do, they delivered,” said Bennett on the final whistle. “Our shape, the workrate and clinical finishing made the three points safe tonight. We’ve had a good, solid start to the season that gives us a platform to build on but we’ll keep our feet on the ground and just take each game as it comes.”
|1. Dan Regan|
|3. Carl Paterson||Goal|
|4. Jonny Davis|
|5. Paul Wardle|
|5. Dan Kirkup|
|7. Stephen Forster|
|11. James Luccock||Goal|
|8. Scott Robson|
|10. Aaron Croft|
|11. Mark Rasmussen|
|9. Tony Stephenson||GoalGoalGoal|
|4. David Borley|
|9. Stuart Nicholson|
|8. Paul Gardiner|