Birtley suffered last minute heartbreak as a long-range Marc Ellison shot secured all three points for Horden.
Match programme available HERE.
Match highlights are available HERE.
Birtley made a couple of changes to the side that drew with Prudhoe a week ago with Ross Preston coming into the side for his second start of the season with defenders Callum Turnbull, Lewis Exley, Sam Hedley and Jack Honour all missing. Tom McIntyre also returned to the starting eleven in place of Joe Barwick.
It took Birtley just three minutes to open the scoring with Aidan Rutledge slotting home a superb Lewis Orrell cross. Unfortunately for Birtley the flag was raised for offside. On twenty minutes another excellent Orrell pass allowed Hargrave to bare down on goal however the Horden keeper was quick off his line to clear the danger, only to cannon the ball off Hargrave and luckily watch as it rebounded narrowly over the goal.
Horden struck first when Liam Wright was played through and was one on one with Birtley stopper Conor Grant. Birtley looked to have managed to rescue the situation when Preston slid in to stop the Horden man in his tracks however his tackle went beyond Grant and into the empty Birtley net.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to respond. Aidan Rutledge stepping up to slot home from the penalty sport after a trip inside the area. That led both teams into the break with the scores level. Birtley thought they had taken the lead early in the second half but neither Ross Preston or Ryan Keltie could meet a tantalising cross from Alex Francis.
By the midway point of the second half Horden were starting to get on top. The best chance of the half fell to David Doughty but his effort crashed off the post. In the 92nd minutes Marc Ellison unleashed a furious drive to break Birtley hearts. There were debates on whether it took a slight deflection off Ryan Keltie but there could be no doubts it was a fantastic effort from the Horden player of the match.
Full-Time | Birtley Town 1 – 2 Horden CW
Attendance – 157 including a sizeable away following from Horden.
Paul Bryson: “We said to the lads before the game that we needed to start well and we did that. We were on the front foot, I have watched the first goal again and I still think it’s a good goal. We kept going and we were pressing. They then changed their formation which is always a sign that things are going well. We were then disappointed to concede, a little against the run of play. We showed good character and equalised pretty much straight away. I thought for the first half we were the better side. We were creating chances and pushing forward. We were a little disappointed to come in at the break on level terms.”
The second half we started alright. Callum Smith put a superb ball in and it came off Glen that somehow went over the bar. To be fair to Horden they came on strong in the second half but I felt that we deserved something from the game. It was a worldy strike in the 92nd minute. We need to get on with it and dust ourselves down. We have a game Tuesday and if we keep working as hard as we did against Horden then our luck will change. We have to keep working and be in it together. It’s not for the want of trying, if we keep applying ourselves then it will change.”
H2H vs Horden C.W. (home games only)
P8 W4 D1 L3 GF22 GA14 Pts 13
25.08.1997 – BIrtley Town 10-1 Horden C.W – Wearside League – [S. Holland (x4) | J. Melling (x4) | G. Hood (x2)]
19.01.2008 – Birtley Town 0-3 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – [N/A]
25.03.2009 – Birtley Town 1-1 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – Stephen Graham
09.04.2011 – Birtley Town 4-2 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – [A. McIntosh (x2) | O. Peterson | B. Richardson]
24.03.2012 – Birtley Town 1-0 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – [J. Martin]
16.04.2013 – Birtley Town 0-2 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – [N/A]
29.09.2021 – Birtley Town 5-3 Horden C.W – NL Div 2 – [A. Clarkson (x2) | T. Charmey | C. Campos-Loughlin | J. Barwick]
04.03.2023 – Birtley Town 1-2 Horden CW – NL Div 2 – [A. Rutledge (P)]
Birtley make the short trip across the Green Bridge and into Washington on Tuesday night for a league midweek tie.
Kick-off is 7:45pm at the Northern Area Playing Fields, Stephenson Road, NE37 3HR.