30 Sep 2021 in Match Reports
The NE40 Ultras made the long trip down to Billingham on Wednesday night but saw their side lose its third game in a row in the Northern League as the Synners stole the show late on...
Billingham Town 2-1 RACA
Albion slumped to their third defeat on the bounce in the Northern League as Joshua Rowbotham capitalized on a Dan Gladstone error to snatch all three points for Billingham.
A Callum Turnbull spot-kick cancelled out Kurtis Howe’s first-half opener before skipper Rowbotham tucked home from close range to claim a huge victory on Teesside.
Dan Iredale’s men travelled to Teeside in poor form having lost back-to-back league games for the first time this season.
A poor display at Tow Law on Saturday was marred further by off-field antics but RACA gave a good account of themselves last night despite being on the wrong side of the scoreline.
Konner Lamb almost gave Albion the lead on six minutes when he found space inside the six-yard box but the onrushing Daniel Dixon came to Billingham’s rescue.
RACA continued their initial pressure when McLeod had an audacious attempt from the left flank. His right-footed shot blazed high and wide of the crossbar as RACA saw themselves on top early on.
The hosts took the lead against the run of play on 21 minutes when Brad Mills combined with Howe on the left wing. Howe looked up and buried his effort into the bottom corner to fire the Synners into the lead.
Billingham had momentum and began to take over, with Howe would have had a second if it wasn’t for Ander Brown’s block.
John Howard then tested Gladstone from range but his attempt was well saved by Albion’s keeper.
Yuri Moraes, making his first start in an Albion shirt, then picked out Scott Jasper but his improvised half-volley was lofted well over the Billingham crossbar.
The move of the half came on 34 minutes when Oliver Symons took a quick throw to McLeod. He teed off Moraes who, with the outside of his boot, switched the play for Konner Lamb to run through on goal.
Dixon came flying off his line and did just enough to put the Albion winger off before he could get a shot away.
A huge chance fell to RACA on the stroke of half-time when Scott Bamborough put McLeod in on the edge of the box. The away dugout expected a certain goal but he fizzed his shot wide of the post.
Iredale hooked Moraes at the break and brought on Daniel Kent; he was then forced into his second substitution six minutes into the second half when McLeod was forced off with a groin injury and replaced by Lee Johnson.
The first chance of the half went Billingham’s way as Howard almost caught Gladstone off his line. RACA’s number one recovered and the danger was averted.
Bamborough went close on the hour mark when his free-kick whistled inches wide of the post, with Albion looking to press the action once again.
Kent laid off Jasper just inside the penalty area but the Albion striker’s tame shot was comfortably saved by Dixon.
Howard then went close with a free-kick for the home side as the game began to open up nicely for those in attendance.
With 20 minutes remaining, RACA were awarded a spot-kick when Lamb was clumsily brought down inside the area after a mazy run on from the left wing.
Turnbull stepped up and placed his penalty past Dixon despite the Synners goalkeeper guessing the right way.
Billingham were almost back in front instantly when Howard found himself free as a bird inside the area. His shot looked like a certain goal but Gladstone made a fantastic save to keep the scores level.
Neither side was playing for the draw at this point but disaster struck five minutes from time when a mix-up between Gladstone and his defence saw the Albion keeper caught in no man’s land from a deep set-piece.
Rowbotham pounced on the loose ball to restore the advantage and snare all three points for his side.
Albion had plenty of the ball last night but struggled to create anything clear-cut in the final third.
The chances they did create were wasted; Billingham managed to sit in deep and be effective on the counter-attack as RACA failed to break them down.
The performance was much-improved on the last two outings but Albion will have to manage the game better if they are to get a result against Bedlington on Saturday.
Starting XI - Gladstone, Brown, Laws, Turnbull, Symons, Bamorough, Pickford, McLeod, Lamb, Jasper, Moraes
RACA Fans’ Man of the Match: Michael Laws