Billings continue run of good form with win over Middlewich

St Helens Star: Billings continue run of good form with win over Middlewich Billings continue run of good form with win over Middlewich

Billinge continued their recent good run of form when they beat Middlewich Town 4-2 at Barrows Farm on Saturday.

An incident packed game saw three penalties awarded and three superb goals - for The Storks - from outside the box.

On a blustery Billinge day it was the visitors that were first out of the blocks when - in the first minute - a mix-up between The Storks' centre-half Chris Godwin and keeper Aaron Cameron almost allowed the visitors' Sam Didsbury in to score.

Good work by Cameron kept the ball out and Billinge went up the other end and should have been ahead.

A great ball from Tim Lees put Jonathan Crane through on goal but the wingers effort was well-saved by Middlewich's custodian Dan Hindley.

On eight minutes Aaron Morris almost got on the end of a Lees free-kick but the ball drifted just wide of the post.

Five minutes later Crane had a shot deflected away for a corner before a brilliant move saw Lees thread a fine ball through to Crane; the winger then turned his left-back Sean Tierney inside out before crossing to Steve Edwards who brought the ball down well but crashed his shot into the side netting.

At the halfway point of the first period Billinge were unlucky not to be ahead as in a four-minute period Lees went close with a shot, Edwards had a chance knocked away for a corner before Hindley brilliantly saved Lees 22-yard curling free-kick.

On 32 minutes Hindley again saved well from Edwards before Morris' effort from the corner went the wrong side of the post.

The final action of the half saw Cameron force Town's impressive Sam O'Sullivan wide when through on goal resulting in the ball going dead.

The second-half saw Billinge with the wind on their backs but they were rocked when referee Clive Brown awarded Middlewich a penalty on 48 minutes when he adjudged that Elliot Bradshaw had pushed Louis Bentley in the box.

Despite The Storks' protestations the decision stood but O'Sullivan sent the penalty wide of the left upright.

Within a minute there was a penalty at the other end.

A deep cross from Tom Darkes hit Joshua Maddock on the arm and referee Brown pointed to the spot.

Lees stepped up, put the ball into the corner of the net and put Billinge one-nil up.

On 55 minutes it was Crane's turn to hit the side netting when he got on the end of a cross from the left.

However on the hour mark The Storks doubled their lead.

Darkes did well to get to the by-line before hitting a cross to the back post; Edwards did well to get a shot in only for his effort to be cleared.

Unfortunately for The Witches the clearance went straight to Joe Unsworth who calmly drilled a shot into the back of the net from thirty yards.

A minute later it was 3-0 when a Middlewich clearance this time went straight to Edwards who gleefully volleyed the ball home from thirty yards out.

On 74 minutes Edwards played a lovely pass through to Darkes who had a clear run on goal.

Unfortunately for The Storks Hindley came off his line to deflect the ball over the bar.

Moments later it was Chad Whyte's turn to be free on goal but this time the substitute blasted the ball over the bar from just inside the area.

Billinge appeared to be strolling to victory but with ten minutes remaining they gave Liam Collins far too much time to cross to the back post where an unmarked Jack Bryning sneaked in to knock the ball home to make it 3-1.

This gave the visitors a fillip and on 86 minutes a routine ball into the box saw a Middlewich attacker going to ground.

It again appeared to be a soft decision but this time O'Sullivan put the spot-kick past Cameron to make it 3-2.

Within a minute and before the Billinge supporters and bench could panic Whyte had restored The Storks two-goal advantage - when twenty yards out he rose the highest to head the ball into the back of the net and make it 4-2 and game over. After the game Billinge manager Gaz Fletcher was happy with the result saying: "While I'd have liked to have kept a clean sheet I have to be pleased that we got four goals with four different scorers.

"Again we missed some chances but we are creating them and that is the main thing.

"I thought both the midfield and attack were excellent today and despite a couple of losses of concentration we defended well.

"If we carry on in this form we'll have a great second-half of the season."

This Saturday Billinge travel to Gamesley for a Cheshire League game. Meanwhile Billinge Reserves progressed through to the quarter-final of the Northern Cup after beating Digmoor Reserves 4-1.

The club have won the Northern Cup for the last two seasons and are on course to make it three on the run.

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