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Billinge return home empty handed
Updated 12:09pm Monday 10th March 2014 in Sport
Billinge came back from Glossop empty-handed as they lost 2-0 to Gamesley in the Cheshire League First Division. The 2-0 scoreline doesn't do The Storks justice as they were the better team for large portions of the game.
But - as ever - football is about taking your chances; Gamesley took theirs - while Billinge didn't.
On a surface that was more ploughed field than putting green Billinge still tried to play an expansive game with two upfront and two wide men and they dominated the first period without creating too many chances.
Long-range efforts from Steve Edwards and Adam Clare went high and wide while Elliot Bradshaw went close with a free-kick.
Gamesley is a notoriously tough place to visit and Billinge had to battle it out in midfield.
With a few regulars missing reserve stalwart Chris Duffy and (normally) right-back Andy Goulding were given the task of controlling The Storks central midfield and nullifying the presence of their best player Andrew Heath.
This they did superbly limiting the home side to just one effort on goal that keeper Tom Hull saved brilliantly tipping the ball over; resulting in the teams going into half-time goalless.
The second-half started quietly with both teams cancelling each other out in a crowded midfield.
However between the 70th and 75th minute the game was lost by Billinge.
Firstly Billinge's experienced striker Edwards found himself through on goal but the normally lethal finisher had his shot saved by the Gamesley keeper Darren Scowcroft.
Gamesley took advantage of this let-off by going up to the other end of the pitch and after neat interplay Joe McDonnell's deflected shot beat Hull to make it one-nil to the home side.
Worse was to come from The Storks as they lost possession from the kick-off and another sweeping move saw Michael Dewhurst knock the ball in at the back post to double Gamesley's lead. Billinge players complained there was a foul in the lead-up to the goal but it stood and The Storks had 15 minutes to save the game.
They threw extra bodies forward but found no way through a resolute Gamesley defence.
Edwards had another glorious chance when Duffy's delicate back heel put him through on goal but - with just the keeper to beat - his effort went wide of the post.
From a corner Aaron Morris' header appeared to be handled on the line but the referee ignored Billinge's appeals then substitute Andy Clark tested Scowcroft with a fizzing drive from 25 yards.
With The Storks throwing everybody forward they were left exposed at the back and only good work from Hull between the Billinge sticks prevented a further Gamesley goal and the match finished 2-0 to the home side.
Billinge chairman Steve Dickson speaking after the game said; "Despite the result it was an excellent team performance from numbers 1-14.
"I'm gutted we lost as everybody played very well on a very heavy pitch.
"If we take that work ethic and attitude into next week and the remainder of the matches we will have an excellent finish to the season.
"It was also pleasing to note we had five lads aged under-20 in the team.
"None of them were phased - playing in front of the most intimidating crowd in the Cheashire League - and this augers well for their own careers in football and for the future of our club."
Meanwhile Billinge Reserves bounced back from their cup defeat last week by hammering Eagle Sports Reserves 7-3.
Rob Ablewhite got a hat-trick with Jamie Anderson and Martin Rennox each getting a brace.
Next Saturday (15 March) Billinge travel to Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads for a Cheshire League game.
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