Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

In the Balance

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

In the Balance

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers

Billingham Town went into today's derby trip to neighbours Synthonia knowing only a win can keep alive their title dream.

Town came from behind to win 2-1 at mid-table Bishop Auckland on Saturday to claw back to within five points of the top two, Whitley Bay and Sunderland Nissan.

But with their games in hand being cashed in cheaply, rivals Whitley Bay finishing like a train and time fast running out it is do-or-die for Town's chances of a first-ever title.

Today they travelled to a Synthonia side still smarting from a heartbreak FA Vase semi-final exit to Totton last week when despite a spirited second half they could not net the goal that would take them to Wembley and then faced an agonising defeat in a penalty shoot-out.

Synners could not ask for a better game to bounce back with, at home against the neighbours and a chance to restore some pride and exact revenge after a bruising Boxing Day drubbing in which they were battered 8-2.

Town have shown fighting spirit in their past few games and while the mathematics of the title chase have edged against them, they have not yet been ruled out.

They came from 3-1 down to win 4-3 with a goal blitz in the last 10 minutes against high-fliers West Auckland last week.

Then on Saturday they leaked a goal after just four minutes at Peter Mulcaster's Bishops but levelled quickly as Chris Emms spotted the keeper well off his line and netted with an audacious 40-yard lob.

Then Town won it and barged back into title contention in the second half as Robbie Hutchinson headed home unchallenged from a corner on the hour.

They are at full strength with keeper Darren Collier back after injuries sustained in a car crash, midfielder David Yale back from a spell away working and skipper Steve Huggins back from a knock.

Synners too will be at full strength with frontman Neil Campbell ready to take out the frustrations of missing the Vase glories because he was cup-tied in the Vase and skipper Simon Shaw back from injury.

MARSKE UNITED travelled to GUISBOROUGH today desperate to claw back ground lost in the second division promotion race. …

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