Stann had not won any of their previous three league matches, so it was a match that was crucial for a home win, or at the least not lose, to what are possibly promotion rivals, unless of course Covid is going to scupper another season!
I write this as we all await local lockdown news. Dean Imray would miss this match through suspension, and another absentee was the manager, Derek Thompson, who was unwell.
Stann got off to a great start, and in the first 15 to 20 minutes could well have got more than the one goal they did get. They dominated in this period, and the passing and moving was very good, and the link up play between Lewis Burns and Connor Campbell was outstanding. As soon as the 2nd minute Stann were bearing down on the visitors goal when Richie Hoggins header in the area found Campbell, whose low drive was saved by James Dawson. A minute later and Stann were ahead when Burns inter play with Campbell on the right lead to Campbell firing across the goal and low into far bottom corner, for his second league goal of the season.
Ex Darlington striker, Ian Ward shot from outside the area, but wide of Regan’s upright. Back came Stann and again Campbell in a one on one with Dawson was thwarted by the keeper.
Both sides were lively now, and some strong tackles, but Burns was not to be denied and threaded his pass through for Campbell, who was about to strike when Jack Bailey came to Billingham’s rescue with a timely tackle to concede a corner. What a start from Stann, probably the best from them so far this season.
Synners Ben Jackson got down the right and from a narrow angle tried to beat Regan on 18 minutes, but that was never going to happen as he saved easily at the near post.
The visitors were getting a lot more possession now but were not troubling Regan. Captain Joseph Scaife-Wheatley fired well over the bar on 24 mins. Burns – Campbell was still causing concern for Synthonia, this time Burns getting the chance, but he scuffed his shot and Dawson saved easily. As the half came to a close Regan ran out to a ball on his right and Josh Miller also closed down the threat and though they managed to get the ball into touch, they collided with each other, with Miller falling on Regan’s ankle, and was left in agony as referee Ranson blew for half time.
HT: Heaton Stann 1 Billingham Synthonia 0
Regan was able to carry on in goal for Stann. Daniel Chapman got in a low straight shot to Regan. Regan Paterson needed treatment, following a foul on him, after he initiated a good move forward down the left flank. Synners brought on Benjamin Bielby for Taylor Crainey on 55 mins and a minute later Kye Waters was booked for a foul. On the hour Lee Middleton was up for a free kick and the ball came to him but he blazed his effort well over the bar. On 61 minutes new signing Matty Nelson came on for Burns. Chapman was then booked for a foul on Ali Stoddart.
Billingham striker Kurtis Howes shot over the bar as their possession was not really creating many chances. Their best chance of the game came when a through ball to Scaife-Wheatly left him to beat Regan, but he failed. On 72 mins Jackson had a good effort from outside the box which was well saved by Regan. Two minutes later Miller managed to kick a shot, that was heading in, to get the ball to safety. Jon Wright then replaced the hard working Hoggins, would he get the goal to clinch the points? And settle the nerves of the home fans! Wright was straight into action and though on his own he decided to chip the ball goalwards from 40 yards. On target, but straight into the hands of Dawson. Back came the Teesiders with a corner on the right by Scaife-Wheatley, which Chapman headed wide. Foster Garton was booked for a foul. Campbell then took a kick but it was Ryan Bailey who got booked for a late challenge. Howes again high and wide as they were frustrated with lack of real opportunities to score.
Then on 90 minutes Wright scored, played onside by a prostrate and injured Connor Johnson, rounded Dawson who had come out to get the ball and he nonchalantly stroked the ball in, to the delight of most of the 159 who attended. The win moved Stann up to eighth in the table.