Saturday, 8 October 2016

Billingham Synthonia 3 v Alnwick Town 0 - Northern League Div 2

Saturday 8th October 2016
Ebac Northern League Division 2
at the CLS Sports Stadium
Billingham Synthonia (1) 3
Nathan Steel 28
Matt Osmond 48
Danny Brunskill 85
Alnwick Town (0) 0
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 142
Flickr photo group, click HERE
Billingham Synthonia:
G Craggs, Grier, O'Sullivan, Osmond, Rowbotham, Crust, Langstaff, Liddle (Burton), Steel (Brunskill), M Craggs, Peacock(c) (Wilson)
Unused Subs - Snook, Bythway
Alnwick Town:
McMahon, Douglas, Dundas, Giles, McPherson(c), Jackson, Riddell, Brown, Hay, Brooks, Graham (Lowes)
Unused Sub - Bailes
A twenty minute drive due south down the A19 from this mornings game at Blackhall Colliery brings you onto Central Avenue in Billingham, which leads straight to the CLS Sports Stadium.
Today's fairly emphatic 3-0 win, saw the Synners finish the afternoon comfortably positioned in fourth place in the table, with games in hand over all of the other teams who are currently jockeying for promotion places.
Visitors, mid table Alnwick Town, did produce two or three half decent chances over the course of the game... but only two or three, as the home side put on a dominant display that really ought to have seen them win more comfortably, which they would've done, had it not been for a man of the match performance by the visitors keeper Dominic McMahon.
Macauley Langstaff caught the eye from the off, with his pace and close control causing the visitors no end of problems; most frequently, but not exclusively on the right of the Synthonia attack, though he was just as likely to pop up just about anywhere across the width of the final third. He almost gave Billingham the lead after just three minutes, but having skipped past two challenges through the right channel, he curled the ball narrowly wide of the far post with his left foot.
The Wick goal was leading a bit of a charmed life in the opening exchanges and Nathan Steel was inches away from connecting with a free header from Langstaff's cross as the home side regained possession from the goal kick.
Liam O'Sullivan launched a long kick from just inside the Magpies half out on the left, towards the Synners centre half Josh Rowbotham, who planted a header over the crossbar.
The game was only ten minutes old, yet Synthonia could and probably should already have been three goals to the good.
It's just his hand dangling between his legs and your dirty mind
The home side's captain Peacock (are you free Mr Humphries!?) took the ball down on his chest with his back to goal and shot on turn, which was welled saved by McMahon... and even if this hadn't happened, I was never going to miss the opportunity to insert a crap pun joke anyway and I would have made something similar up.
Moments later, Langstaff took a corner from the left, that was parried by McMahon, before being cleared back towards the Synners lively play maker and he cut along the bi-line towards the visitors goal, but drilled the ball into the side netting.
Synthonia attacked once more, but Chay Liddle's strike was deflected for yet another flag kick, that Langstaff dropped perfectly into the path of Steel, but it skimmed off of his head and the chance went begging.
However Steel had been kidding us all on that he couldn't find the net all along and on 29 minutes, he surprised everybody, possibly including himself, when he added the finishing touch to Langstaff's delivery from a free kick out on the right.
"Bugger me, the lad can score after all!" muttered a silver haired gentleman sat to my right, as Steel claimed his fifth goal of the season.
The Synners right back Ryan Grier went for a 50/50 ball with Callum Brooks and the referee blew up for a free kick in the Magpies favour (Alnwick Town have two nicknames before any of you pendantic lot pull me up).
Tony Brown; not the former England international who played for West Bromwich Albion, Torquay United and Stafford Rangers, but another Tony Brown who I can tell you nothing more about other than the fact he's 29 years old, pumped the dead ball into the home sides area, but Matt Crust cleared the ball before it had even touched the ground and Alnwick's first potential opening had gone.
Langstaff and Liddle combined and presented Max Craggs with a free header on goal, but McMahon pulled off another good save.
A moment of hesitation in the visitors defence left Liddle with a free run on goal, but this ever so slightly one sided game was fast becoming 'The Dominic McMahon Show' and the visitors keeper sprinted from his line to get the ball away ...for now.
Synthonia were denied again by the Wick number 1, who pulled off a fine save down to his right from Liddle's crashing shot from Peacock's cross.
(M) Craggs was also denied by McMahon on the stroke of half time.
It was something of a minor miracle that the score was only 1-0 at the break.
I located the Synners T-Bar, a bijou but well stocked kiosk, with a serving hatch that was so low, it suggested that in days of yore, Billingham had been inhabited by Pygmies.
"Are you being served?" asked the nice lady selling a mouth watering array of fare, "I'm freeee!!", I gleefully replied, keeping the Grace Brothers angle going for far longer than I ought to have.
She looked at me blankly and said "Do you want something pet!?", I resisted the temptation to ask her which floor I could find the Haberdashery on and settled for a man sized burger and a cup of coffee that was so strong, I new that there was no chance of me nodding off on the way home, either tonight, or probably until approximately Monday tea time. I can heartily recommend the Synners T-Bar, they don't do things by half and even I didn't want any tea when I got home.
McMahon didn't have a save to make again, until the second minute of the second half, when he turned (M) Craggs long range shot round the post at the expense of a corner.
But within sixty seconds, the home side finally doubled their lead, when Steel swept the ball out wide to Langstaff and Matt Osmond turned home his cross from close range.
The home side celebrated, while McMahon stood with his hands on his hips surveying his teammates with a fixed stare, a bit like that angry looking keyboard player out of Sparks, that suggested his exact thoughts at that moment in time were: "Any ****ing chance of you lot joining in any time this afternoon?"
The Alnwick keeper was called into action again, when Langstaff took a return pass from Steel, but saw his effort blocked by the overworked McMahon.
Their was a ripple of applause from the away supporters, who had travelled with a whole washing lines worth of flags, as James Jackson headed over a corner kick from Ryan Douglas and the Synners keeper Guy Craggs, who I have had no reason whatsoever to mention thus far, ventured off of his line to collect a long ball that had been aimed in the general direction of Josh Hay.
With twenty minutes still to go, any sort of Alnwick goal, even  though it would've been against the run of play, would have set up a grandstand finish... but to be honest, such a scenario never looked even marginally possible.
The sun was shining and the Billingham Synthona Under 7s, who were posted around the perimeter of the track that surrounds the pitch at the CLS Sports Stadium, like an army of small soldiers were obviously enjoying the match and their ball boy duties. It was good to see the youngsters, who play on a ground next door to the main ground getting involved in non league football.
Osmond delivered a cross to Steel, who got his header on target, but 'you know who' was equal to it and pulled off approximately his 47th impressive save of the day. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one!
McMahon was beaten inside the final five minutes, with the kind of strike that even he couldn't do anything about, when the Synners substitute, Danny Brunskill, headed the ball into the path of (M) Craggs, who rolled the ball back to former Evo-Stik League striker, who unleashed the sort of shot that made you really glad that their was a goal net between the ball and that Under 7 player, diligently patrolling the grassy expanse behind it.
And that was that, Billingham Synthonia had clinched all three points with their third goal, to maintain their promotion push, whilst the Alnwick Town supporter I spoke to on the way back to my car, conceding that his side hadn't really been in it today.
Billingham Synthonia are a very friendly and welcoming club and if today's performance was anything to go by this season, they are well worth making the effort to watch if you should get the opportunity.
FT: Billingham Synthonia 3 v Alnwick Town 0