Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Title Hopes Fade

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Title Hopes Fade

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony Vickers

We've blown it! That's the bleak assessment of two deflated Teesside bosses after their ambitious teams' dreams of glory fizzled out this week.

Billingham Town take on rock bottom Horden knowing only a mathematical freak will now offer them a title lifeline.

Town have been in the chase all season and launched a late push with successive away wins at Bishop Auckland on Saturday and neighbours Synthonia on Monday then only a late penalty miss denied them victory at Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday night.

"Seven points from three tough away games is magnificent - but it's not enough," said realistic Town boss Michael 'Chopper' Watson.

"Whitley Bay and Nissan have both kept on winning and they are both four points ahead now. We need both of them to lose two out of the last three and that won't happen.

"We were 15 minutes away from the win at Benfield that would have kept us right in it but we have played three big games in five days and I think it was just too much for us. We will keep going. Second is still possible but even third has been some achievement for this club on this budget.

"We have shown we can beat anyone in this league. We will regroup, add a few and have another real crack next year."

Meanwhile in division two MARSKE UNITED host rivals STOKESLEY knowing flops in two successive derby clashes have seen their promotion hopes evaporate.

The Seasiders lost 4-2 at rivals Norton last Friday night then laboured to a 1-1 draw at Guisborough on Bank Holiday Monday leaving them needing snookers.

They would need to take maximum points and also hope third placed Washington - who they play on the final day - do not take the three points from the last three games they need.

"Realistically it's gone now," said boss Charlie Bell. "Those two games have really cost us.

"We were 2-1 up at Norton and bossing it with 20 minutes left and then we made a few silly mistakes at the back to let them win it. …

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