Birtley Town suffered a heavy defeat to local rivals Chester-le-Street Town going down 5-1 at Moor Park.
Match highlights are available HERE.
There was no hiding place for The Hoops when they suffered a disappointing defeat to the hands of Chester-le-Street Town. Goals from Joshua Akal, Michael Hepplewhite and Nick Marley secured an emphatic win for the hosts on a night where Birtley never really got going.
Owen Lancaster returned to the side for the suspended Jack Honour. Tom Scothern replaced the missing Tom McIntyre in midfield while there was a start for Brandon Turnbull upfront. Chester had made a number of new signings going into the game including the signing of Mark Pattison from Birtley.
It took just 15 minutes for Chester to open the scoring. Josh Akal opening the scoring with a powerful header. The visitors didn’t really threaten until the mid-point of the 1st half when Callum Smith took on the Chester full back and drilled a low cross which narrowly missed Aidan Rutledge. Birtley however were 2-0 down on the half-hour mark. Billy Harland slotted through to Nick Marley and he made no mistake in doubling the hosts lead. The goal summed up what was a disappointing start to the game for Birtley.
The Hoops looked to be back in the game when Callum Smith exploited some poor defending in the 39th minute to fire the ball through the legs of the Chester keeper and bring the game back to 2-1. The comeback was short lived however and on the stroke of half time, Birtley were reduced to 10 men. Harland found himself through on goal and managed to prod it beyond the onrushing Grant. Unfortunately for the Birtley stopper he caught Harland resulting in a penalty and a red card. Isaac Robinson replaced Alex Francis but could do very little to prevent Hepplewhite restoring the two goal advantage.
The second half was an uphill task for Birtley. Rutledge had a half-chance on 47 minutes before Harland should of finished the game off not long after. The game took a pattern in the second half and it wasn’t until later in the half when the next goalmouth action took place. Chester took full advantage of their extra man and extended their lead in the 72nd minute, Birtley again unable to deal with a cross in the box and Marley scored his second of the evening. Three minutes later and it was 5-1, a huge mistake at the back allowed Hepplewhite to complete a memorable win for Chester. It was a night to forget for Birtley and The Hoops seemed a long way off the side that topped the league just a month ago.
Manager Paul Foster was obviously disappointed in a poor performance. “Friday was not acceptable in any terms. The way in which we surrendered, in the manner that we did, against our local rivals was disappointing. The bare minimum requirement is that you work harder than any other team in every department which we just didn’t do and paid the price in what was without doubt our worst performance since we took over. We can only apologise to the sizeable following we had, it was a bad night all round in every department. Chester matched and exceeded us all over the pitch and credit to them.”
Birtley will be looking to bounce back when they host Washington on Tuesday evening in a 7:30pm kick off.
League H2H vs Chester-le-Street Town
30.09.2022 – CLS Town 5-1 Birtley Town (C. Smith)
28.01.2022 – CLS Town 1-2 Birtley Town (R. Williamson, T. Scothern)
06.08.2021 – Birtley Town 3-1 CLS Town (J. Honour, A. Clarkson, A. Morland)
11.09.2020 – Birtley Town 4-3 CLS Town (L. Teasdale, K. Young, R. Drane x2)
03.12.2019 – CLS Town 2-0 Birtley Town (N/A)
29.03.2019 – CLS Town 0-1 Birtley Town (R. Williamson)
12.10.2018 – Birtley Town 1-2 CLS Town (M. Soulsby)
19.04.2016 – CLS Town 1-0 Birtley Town (N/A)
Player Of The Match – Ben Garrity
*** Following this game, the red card shown to Conor Grant was appealed and the case was successful ***