THORNABY KEEP THE PRESSURE ON
The second division title race is going down to the wire. At kick-off Thornaby were two points behind Billingham Town having played the same number of games. This emphatic win takes them to the top of the table. The ball’s back in Billy Town’s court.
The 4-0 scoreline doesn’t flatter the Teessiders at all. They dominated the game and showed no signs of nerves. They hit their stride early and never really faltered.
Before the took the lead, they had their chances: Joseph Scaife-Wheatley putting a free kick over the bar and then Kurtis Howes chipping a chance instead of applying the welly. He was more decisive a couple of minutes later when he was allowed to sail past the Tow Law defence and poke the ball home.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 and they’d converted their early superiority into goals, with a Joe Postill free kick from the right deftly flicked past Lawyers keeper Declan Greenwood by Jack Bailey. It should have got worse for the home side in the 24th minute when Howes was bundled over in the box as he ran towards the goal. Inexplicably the referee failed to give a penalty.
The Tow Law defence didn’t help their own cause with two early bookings for Alex Goundry and Dan Kirkup that took away some of their edge. Both they and the other defenders had to do a lot of last-gasp defending in and around their six-yard box. At the other end of the pitch they could only mount sporadic attacks.
Thornaby ended the half by going close to making it 3-0 as Lewis Murphy planted a header off the bar.
Things didn’t improve for Tow Law in the second half. Goundry was sent off in the 58th minute for a second yellow card. Greenwood kept the scoreline respectable, in particular in the 62nd minute when he made successive saves to deny Posthill, Murphy and Ian Ward in a matter of seconds.
Posthill and Ward then combined to set Bailey up and the No. 8 put his shot just wide of the post. The best goal of the night was scored by right back Steven Morrison who unleashed a shot that looked as though it was going wide right until the ball swerved left to nestle in the top right hand corner of the Tow Law goal. His team-mates seemed to enjoy the goal as much as he did.
With just over 15 minutes to go Thornaby left back Jordan Wilson brought down Tow Law winger Scott Lowery in the box and the referee evened it up by failing to give a penalty for a second time.
Then, with only two minutes to go, Thornaby wrapped up the scoring, despite the best efforts of Lawyers right back David Mitchell who slid along his goal line to block a Bailey shot, only for the rebound to fall to Murphy who despatched it into the net.
Tow Law never really got to grips with the game and didn’t trouble Thornaby keeper James Dawson. They flattened more Thornaby players in a rash of late tackles than they had shots. Their performance was nothing to write home about. I only made a note of one shot that substitute Josh Scott put just wide.
Whoever wins the title, it looks likely that both Thornaby and Billingham Town will be promoted to the first division, under the FA’s slightly (sic) complicated points-per-game-ratio formula for the teams finishing second in Step 6 leagues across the country. They both deserve it, they’ve been the two stand-out teams of the division all season.