Hebburn Town 1-0 Norton
September 4, 2008 - Arngrove Northern League, Division 2
Norton started without injury victims, Baverstock, Fowler and Dowden along with Hanafin and Oakley unable to make the game. Matthew Crossan made his full first team debut.
From the off it looked like one way traffic as Norton pressed and played some excellent passing football. After only 5 minutes, new-boy Matthew Crossan wriggled clear down the right but the goalkeeper was out quickly to block his shot.
Crossan was involved again a few minutes later, as some neat work from Nathan Mulligan on the right set him up just inside the box. Unfortunately, the ball wouldn’t drop, and he only managed a tame effort straight into the goalkeepers arms.
Hebburn managed to create some pressure of their own after 13 minutes. After breaking down yet another Norton attack, the ball was cleared and brought down well by the striker. A clever one-two with a team mate led to a powerful drive that was well saved by James Briggs.
The 20-minute mark brought the move of the match and another golden opportunity for the visitors. A tremendous twelve-pass move from back to front sent mulligan away on the right. The lively winger picked out Ian Clark with a pinpoint cross, but the usually clinical midfielder, sliced his effort which was easily saved by the goalkeeper.
Norton, although frustrated, kept going forward and some good work from Marcus Laing, Clark and Harrison Davies in the middle put Crossan through on goal once more. The young striker carried the ball into the box confidently, but his tentative finish allowed the grateful keeper to block well.
On 28 minutes, Hebburn looked to punish Nortons lack of cutting edge when a good ball down the right touch-line allowed their speedy winger to cut inside Richard Dacombe. He took the ball just inside the box and hit a stinging shot that Briggs did well to parry wide.
Again, the visitors rallied and created more and more chances. Michael Dunwell and Crossan still threating as well as Chris Dunwell managing to get his head to a number of set pieces… alas none of which hit the net.
On 32-minutes another chance went begging as top-scorer Micky Dunwell volleyed over from 8 yards out. A few minutes later, Laing tried his luck with a long-range effort. There was enough power in it, but he couldn’t keep the shot down as it sailed over the bar.
There was to be one more opportunity before half-time as another great Norton move ended in nothing. Richard Gaston won the ball at the back and played it through Clark in the midfield. Some more good work by Mulligan, Davies and Dunwell slid the ball in for Crossan to the left of the goal. The strikers first touch was good but could only find the side netting with his finish.
Half Time: Hebburn Town 0 v Norton 0
Hebburn came out in the 2nd half much stronger and it wasnt quite the onslaught that we expected from the first half display. The home team began to win the midfield battle and created a great chance on 54 minutes. After a scramble on the edge of the 18-yard box, the ball was squeezed through to a striker in the clear who blasted his shot over the bar.
Minutes later, there was a chance for each team in quick succession. Hebburn went close when a snapshot from just inside the area was well saved by Briggs, who then launched another Norton attack with a tremendous throw-out to Craig Lake. The right-back strode down the wing confidently and found Mulligan with a ball inside, who in-turn slid it through to Crossan in the clear. He controlled the ball well, but waited too long to hit the strike allowing the defender to get across him and block the resulting shot.
The Ancients went close again on 62 minutes and a strong run from Mulligan gave him a chance to shoot, but his effort was dragged wide of the post.
On 65 minutes, the first and, unbelieveably, the only goal of the game was to finally come. Unhappily for Norton was at their end. A good free-kick and some poor defending allowed the Hebburn right-winger to make some space for himself in the corner. He crossed for the striker to direct a shot on target, Briggs saved, but after a melee the ball clipped off CHRIS DUNWELL's right leg and into the net.
Norton should have been level on 70 minutes when Davies played in Mulligan, he crossed for Crossan who scooped the ball over from 10 yards with the goal gaping.
Hebburn, then almost put the game beyond the reach of the visitors when a poor clearance from Briggs fell straight to the feet of a striker with a clear run on goal. Gaston and Dunwell managed to sprint back to give him enough pressure for him to mishit his shot and chip the ball over the crossbar.
Norton continued to seek the equaliser with Mulligan pulling another shot just wide and Micky Dunwell volleying over from six yards. Davies hit a 25-yard piledriver straight down the keepers throat and Laing went close with another long-range effort.
With only 3 minutes left on the clock, it was the final throw of the dice for Norton and they piled forward. Lake got free of his man on the right and crossed for Mulligan to lift the ball over from only 8 yards out. Another glaring miss which was to sum up Nortons evening. In another game, they would have scored 10, but tonight it just wasn’t to be.
Final Score: Hebburn Town 1 v Norton 0