Billingham Synthonia didn’t get their league campaign off to the best of starts – three straight defeats after relegation – but they won this match against Crook Town in impressive fashion.

Synners look like a team that’s starting to gel.  They combined well, with plenty of movement and off-the-ball runs.  The only glitch in their early play was over hitting through balls to front players as they attacked.

Once they scored their first, there was only going to be one winner.  It’s the first time this season they’ve scored first.

Their first goal was disputed by the Crook defence who claimed that Nico Weatherald was offside before he set Kallum Hannah up, with the No. 10 tucking the ball away with a first time shot in the 10th minute.  The offside call was a very close one.

There was no doubt about the second, apart from the doubt between Crook right back Christian Holliday and keeper Ronan Makepeace which let Clark Reader in and he prodded the ball to Synners captain Ben Pollock who had the simple task of sliding the ball into the net.

Although Crook made a more positive start to the second half, within 10 minutes of the re-start Synthonia were creating more chances.   A Hannah shot forced Makepeace to dive to his left and Weatherald burst past the Crook defence and should have passed it to Wilson who had a clear sight of goal.  Instead he had a go himself, only to sky it well over the bar.

They then stretched their lead with three goals in under 10 minutes.  In the 76th Crook lost possession at their own throw in.  The ball was picked up by Pollock who ran into the box, catching the defence flat footed and the skipper knocked it back, with Charlie Raby despatching a first-time shot to make it 3-0.

Three minutes later Hannah got his second, with the best move and goal of the night saved to last.  Wilson hit a superb 40-yard cross-field pass to substitute Foster Garton who didn’t have to break stride to take the ball and drive into the Crook box, before finding the gap between Makepeace and the post to wrap up the scoring at 5-0.

The win meant the Synners jumped several places in the table.  If they keep this progress and form going, there’s only one way they’ll be going in the coming weeks and months.

As for Crook, this is a game they’ll want to forget in a hurry.  It was a poor performance all round.  As chairman Vince Kirkup pointed out at the end, their keeper Ronan Makepeace saw more of the ball than anyone else on the team, and that’s never a good sign.

Their defence buckled in the last 15 minutes of the game – conceding three of the five goals and it could have been more had Makepeace not made a couple of decent saves.

Liam Jarvie caused the Synners defence most problems out of all of the Crook outfielders and he came closest to scoring when he had a shot skim off the bar.  Other than that, they never really looked like getting a goal.

Billingham Synthonia 5 Crook Town 0 – Ebac Northern League Division Two

Mike Snowdon