Birtley Town FC climb to 2nd with a 6-2 win over Chester-le-Street United in front of a record attendance of 409 spectators.
Aidan Rutledge scored four times as Birtley extended their unbeaten start in a compelling victory against a young Chester-le-Street United side at the Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium. The Hoops got off to a flyer as Jack Honour pounced on a Sam Hedley knockdown to open the scoring after just 3 minutes. Birtley had made just one change from their 3-1 win against Easington with Ben Garrity replacing Owen Lancaster and skipper Honour dropping into defence.
The home side doubled their lead on seven minutes when Rutledge latched onto an Alex Francis through ball. It was 3-0 after just ten minutes and the Hoops were on the rampage, Rutledge getting his second of the evening.
The game was being played at a frantic pace and Birtley’s high press was proving all too difficult for a young United side. Rutledge completed his hat trick on 40 minutes and the Hoops were starting to have a night to remember. Dan Lanning pulled one back for Chester by rounding goalkeeper Conor Grant just before half time.
The second half saw the Hoops maintain control of the game and further goals looked inevitable. Rutledge again looking like scoring from a spectacular overhead kick. The striker did eventually get his 4th goal of the evening on the 69th minute following a great through ball from Callum Smith.
The club was delighted to see Brandon Turnbull return to Birtley after the recent incident in the Dunston UTS friendly, Turnbull replacing Ben Garrity on 70 minutes and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact, playing a neat through ball for Callum Smith who broke free and slotted the ball beyond the keeper to open his Birtley Town account . Samuel Johnson scored an excellent effort with a few minutes remaining to reduce the deficit for United. The game finished 6-2 and pushed Birtley up to second place.
Manager Paul Foster was delighted “Well an outstanding night all round. Everything we have asked of the players over the last two months they have listened to, taken it on board. Everything we have asked them to do and really it could have been a few more last night, If we just applied ourselves a little bit more in key areas when in good positions. We are disappointed to concede the two goals last night even though their second goal was probably the pick of the bunch. One area we must concentrate more on is game management, at vital times, as we could go in at 4-0 at half time with the game done and dusted however 4-1 gives them a sniff they can get back into it.”
“We as a management team are over the moon with the start we have had but we all know in that dressing room with the chances we created in both the Brandon game most certainly and possibly the Jarrow game that we should be sitting with the perfect record of 4 from 4. Football doesn’t always work like that and whilst nothing is ever won in August it’s been a very good start.”
“I was a bit disappointed with the interview from the Chester United Manager in some aspects as possession doesn’t win you games, goals do. For the first 40 minutes our possession stats if you want to look at it that way would have far outweighed theirs and we were four goals to the good. Sometimes you have to give the team you’re playing against a little bit of credit and our game plan worked well again. That is down to our players listening to what they were told. Chester are a good young side who will win more than they lose so to get three points in a local derby was very pleasing.”
The evening saw Birtley hit a record attendance at the Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium. 409 spectators enjoyed a beautiful evening and were entertained by some wonderful football from Foster and Bryson’s men. Foss was quick to add praise to everyone associated with the club “Everyone played their part on and off the pitch. It’s the biggest crowd since 1997 and all the hard work put in by volunteers all paid off tonight with that crowd, everything ran smoothly. There are too many to mention but you all know who you are. That is down to them and they put so much effort in. I’m sure it was worth their while last night.”
Next up for Birtley is an away fixture at Billingham Synthonia on Saturday with a 3pm kick off.
Man of the Match – Aidan Rutledge
Attendance – 409. A club record attendance for a competitive league game.