Birtley Town produced a ruthless display to record their eighth successive win with a 6-2 victory over Boldon CA on Tuesday evening.
The Hoops extended their lead at the top of the table with goals from Joe Barwick (2), Callum Turnbull and Aidan Rutledge (3). Birtley made one change to the side that beat Ilkley Town in FA Vase on Saturday with Josh Holland replacing the injured Ben Garrity.
It took the visitors just 23 seconds to open the scoring. Birtley pressed the back line early and forced Boldon into a mistake which Joe Barwick capitalised on. The early press epitomised the outstanding work rate that Birtley were to maintain for the remainder of the game. After six minutes, it was 2-0. Callum Smith delivered a brilliant cross which was met by a towering header from Callum Turnbull, his first goal for his hometown club. The remainder of the first-half was dominated by Birtley with sublime link-up play and an energetic press. Callum Smith and Aidan Rutledge both had efforts at goal before Tom Scothern smashed the crossbar from a free kick on 27 minutes, with huge calls from Birtley that the ball had crossed the line on it’s way down.
Callum Smith produced more outstanding work on 28 minutes, delivering an outstanding cross that was glanced on by Owen Lancaster finding Joe Barwick who pounced on the loose ball to put Birtley 3-0 up. Smith was again provider when he danced through the Boldon defence and produced a moment of magic, he played in Aidan Rutledge who rounded the keeper to make it 4-0 in the first half.
Boldon started the second half stronger and pulled one back from a corner. Luke Collins finishing a cross from Raby. Birtley all but finished the game in the 51st minute when Owen Lancaster was brought down by the Boldon keeper. Aidan Rutledge stepping up and firing home the penalty for his second of the game. Boldon pulled another one back on 84 minutes, Levi Collins playing a through ball to Wright who slotted beyond Conor Grant. The Hoops finished off with another hat-trick from Aidan Rutledge. Rutledge cut inside from the right before unleashing a strong left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
It is now eight consecutive wins for Birtley and Rutledge now has nineteen goals in nine league games. The Hoops travel to 3rd place Prudhoe on Friday evening knowing that they will need to be at their best to keep their magnificent run going.
Paul Bryson was thrilled with another strong team display “We had a great Vase win on Saturday and then had to travel to Boldon for another tough league encounter. We have produced arguably our best performance of the season, certainly in the first half both in and out of possession. We were excellent on the front foot, we got all our angles and distances right. In possession we were very gold in the final third with the only disappointing thing at half-time was that it could of been more than four. Second half we knew Boldon would respond, they pulled a goal back but we showed good character to quickly score a fifth. We have managed to give all the lads some good minutes tonight, considering players who are injured, this shows we have a good squad. We move onto Prudhoe for another tough encounter on Friday. It was a great team performance, Callum Smith was absolutely superb, Aidan and Joe on the score sheet again too”
Man of the Match – Callum Smith.