Hebburn Town Versus Durham City
Saturday 14TH April 2018
As the season comes to an end with teams battling for the three available promotion places at the top of the Second Division, Hebburn Town must approach every game as if it is a cup final; such was the pressure as they faced Durham City at Hebburn Sports Ground. The first three months of the season have seen multiple postponements in the Northern League and teams face a very busy schedule from now until May 7th, when the season officially closes.
The Hornets went into this game on the back of an unbeaten run which has seen eight victories and two draws since the turn of the year. However, they would give the Durham City side their utmost respect, given that the “Citizens” handed out a 3-1 defeat when the sides faced each other earlier in the season.
In their first home game since February 2nd. The Hornets started off on the back foot and looked somewhat nervous throughout the side, in the first ten minutes. Durham put Hebburn under a lot of early pressure and flashed two shots just wide of the post. As Hebburn got more into their stride Rhys Williams headed a Gary Shaw free kick narrowly wide and a strong run by Dan Robinson resulted in a corner from which the home side should have taken the lead on the 15 minute mark. First Rhys Williams hit the underside of the bar, and then Gary Shaw smashed the rebound against the post-both from within the six yard box.
The game then entered a very entertaining spell with good attacking football from both sides. After half an hour a Rhys Williams header was cleared off the line and a shot from John Sherlock from the edge of the box was collected by Nathan Armin the Durham keeper. But after 38 minutes the keeper had no chance whatsoever when Craig Malley rose to meet a corner from Shaw to power a header into the far corner to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.
However, this seemed to give the away side a boost as they took control in the remainder of the first half and put the Hornets under the cosh. Steve Hubery was called into action to punch a free kick over the bar and Meech Kanda, defended well along the eighteen yard box with a couple of strong tackles. Hebburn held out until the half time whistle in a very enjoyable contest.
The second half started off in a similar vein with the Citizens attacking down both flanks and one such attack resulted in the equalizer, when the ball was hammered across the goal from the left to be blocked on the line only to be forced home from 3 yards by Wilkie to level the scores.
After a brief period of untidy play the game came alive when Hebburn took the initiative, as players lifted their game throughout the side. The back four of Ross Toward, Rhys Williams, Jack Donaghy and Scott Wallace let very little through to keeper Steve Hubery.
After having a penalty turned down when it looked as if Craig Malley had been pulled down a great free kick to the far post from Peter Jones was hammered into the side netting by Williams but after 65 minutes Hebburn deservedly regained the lead when excellent play by Kanda ended with a short pass to Dan Robinson who picked his spot to easily beat Armin, the Citizens keeper.
This seemed to knock the spirit out of Durham, and five minutes later the score became 3-1 when Kanda headed a Shaw corner into the roof of the net, again giving the keeper no chance. In the final quarter manager Scott Oliver brought on substitutes Callum Smith and Paul Chow, to replace Malley and Robinson who both had given their all in this vital game,
The Chow substitution, in particular, would be extremely beneficial. After 36 minutes of the half Peter Jones found Chow in the box and the striker was able to turn his man before firing home to take the score to 4-1; the same player almost scored again minutes later when a fine run by Scott Wallace ended with a cross which Chow headed across the goal,
However, the best was still to come in the final minutes of the game. Hebburn were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. Paul Chow stepped up to hit a tremendous swerving shot into the top left hand corner of the goal with the keeper helpless for one of the “goals of the season”.
A highly entertaining game in which Durham played their part, particularly in the first half. The Hornets gave probably their best performance of the season in the second half, to stay well in contention for promotion. It will be a tough run-in to the end of the season starting away to Tow Law Town next Saturday but this 5-1 victory over a good Durham City side should
|1. Hubery Steven Michael|
|2. Craig Mally||Goal|
|3. Scott Wallace|
|5. Rhys John David Williams|
|6. Jack Donaghy|
|8. Mechack Bolenge Kaanda||Goal|
|12. Gary Shaw|
|45. Peter Jones|
|50. Ross Toward|
|53. John Sherlock|
|54. Daniel Robinson||Goal|
|7. Callum Smith||Sub12|
|9. Paul John Chow||GoalGoalSub54|
|10. Channon North|
|18. Christopher Douglas||Sub50|
|50. Adam Rundle|