Hebburn Sports & Social Ground – Ebac Northern League Division 1.
Attendance – 81.
This was definitely a game of two halves from Hebburn Town who blitzed their opponents during a sparkling first-half of football only to contrive to throw the game away in a dismal second period that saw Norton score twice and secure a point.
Liam McBryde had fired the Hornets into the lead after just 39 seconds when he finished off a slick move that began with debut boy Adam McGuinness playing a lofted ball down the left wing. Paul Gardiner collected the pass and after a quick succession of passes with Tony Stephenson, Gardiner played in Scott Robson on the edge of the Norton box. With defenders moving to close down a shot, Robson moved the ball out towards the right wing where James Luccock delivered a low cross to the back post for McBryde to score – that goal being number 48 from 49 Hebburn appearances.
A combination of wasteful finishing and superb goalkeeping kept the score at 1-0, with Norton’s Jim Provett brilliantly saving from McBryde. But from a move that was similar to that which brought the opener, the ex-Hartlepool United ‘keeper was unable to save when Stephenson arrived at the back post to dispatch Luccock’s cross into the net for Hebburn’s second goal after 21 minutes.
Anthony Hume fired a goal back fro Norton after 32 minutes when he steered a deep Callam Martin cross past Dan Regan, yet the ball should have been collected by a Hebburn player considering the time it spent in the air.
Hebburn’s two goal advantage was restored four minutes before the break when Stephenson grabbed his second of the afternoon by tapping in after Andrew Habron had cleared a Jeff Forsyth header off the line.
Where Hebburn had confidently zipped the ball around during the first-half, they found a third successful pass too difficult during a woeful second-half display that was characterised by sloppy passing and a lack of invention.
Norton, struggling in the Ebac Northern League Division 1, hadn’t even been in the game, yet the South Tynesiders gifted them two goals and one point.
Regan spilled a soft, long range shot after 53 minutes that presented Peter Bulmer with an open goal to pull one back for the visitors and then the Hebburn ‘keeper called “keeper’s ball” as McGuinness thought about clearing. The left-back dithered, Regan stopped and Callam Brown nipped between the pair to stroke the ball into an unguarded net for the equaliser after 66 minutes.
Once Norton were back level, it was effectively game over with neither side looking to have the invention to score a winner.
Many fans might have hoped for the game to be abandoned early when the referee was unable to continue after 71 minutes. After first asking Hebburn manager Paul Bennett to run the line, the referee was saved when Hebburn Town Juniors chairman Steve Rutherford – a qualified match official – volunteered from the crowd to help out. Hi only real action was to flag twice for offside as the ball seemed stuck in the middle of the pitch.
Town will be looking for a more consistent performance on Tuesday evening when they host Whitley Bay at the Hebburn Sports Ground, with that first home win proving elusive so far.
|1. Dan Regan|
|3. Adam McGuinness|
|4. Jonny Davis|
|5. Dan Kirkup|
|6. Jeff Forsyth||Yellow Card|
|11. James Luccock|
|8. Scott Robson|
|9. Liam McBryde||Goal|
|8. Paul Gardiner|
|9. Tony Stephenson||GoalGoal|
|5. Paul Wardle|
|7. Dean Walker|
|10. Aaron Croft|