Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Town Boss Pays His Tribute to Lee

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Town Boss Pays His Tribute to Lee

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers

Billingham Town boss Alan Robinson has paid tribute to tragic former Bedford Terrace player Lee Hainsworth.

The Stockton-born Shildon defender, 26, was killed in a car smash on Monday night while on his way to training.

Lee, who had schoolboy trials at Aston Villa and Hartlepool, had been at Shildon for six years, was a key part of the close knit squad that carved out a football fairytale in their FA Cup run to a first round clash with Notts County.

Shell-shocked Shildon quickly called tonight's scheduled top flight away game against Peterlee off as a mark of respect.

And Tuesday's planned trip to Billingham Town has been moved back to Thursday until after the popular player's funeral.

Town supremo Robinson has fond memories of when the then teenage defender cut his Northern League teeth at Bedford Terrace.

"He was a smashing lad," said Alan. "He was friendly, popular and talented. This is a tragedy.

"He was here when I arrived, Trevor Arnold had signed him. He was a good player, very comfortable on the ball and an excellent passer but at times he was a bit weak defensively because he was only a young lad and didn't have the experience.

"Because of that he didn't start every week. You could tell he was going to be good and I wanted him to be patient but he wanted first team football so we let him go. I was delighted for him when he found his feet at Shildon."

In-form Town meanwhile take on struggling Chester-le-Street at home tomorrow looking to muscle into the top six.

They have games in hand and are in red hot form. They are unbeaten in the league this year and in their last few outings have seen off table toppers Durham plus Bedlington, Jarrow, Shildon and Peterlee.

Town are still without banned keeper Darren Collier but they have signed ex-Spennymoor shot-stopper Martin Kearney. Craig Skelton is also suspended but striker Carl Chillingsworth is back from his ban.

Over the road, Billingham Synthonia take on rock bottom Penrith boosted by a superb win over Bedlington Terriers.

Synners ended their three match winless wobble with a comprehensive 3-0 away win over the Terriers and hope it can spark a late surge. …

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