Birtley recorded their second 6-0 victory of the season with a emphatic win against Newcastle University.
Match highlights available HERE.
Match photos are available HERE.
The Hoops were in rampant form when they hit Newcastle University for six on Saturday. Birtley talisman Aidan Rutledge was out through suspension however that didn’t stop Birtley from a goal scoring frenzy that pushed them closer to the play-offs.
Matty Ward came into the side to replace Rutledge and Josh Strassheim replaced the injured Ryan Keltie. Owen Lancaster also returned to the side.
It was The Uni who actually started the better off the two sides. Tolu Osiyemi causing particular problems in the Birtley defence however the Hoops lost Owen Lancaster to an early injury, Sam Hedley coming on as his replacement.
Ward made his first telling contribution when he lofted the ball over the defence, Callum Smith latched on to neatly lob the ball over the keeper to open the scoring. Birtley doubled their lead with Alex Francis playing a sublime pass to Smiggs who then turned provider. He crossed in for Ward himself to get onto the scoresheet.
Francis then added a third before the break when he converted a spot kick after Glen Hargrave was brought down in the area. Birtley were in full control by the half-hour mark with Hargrave having a chance to extend their lead. Newcastle did create their opening and the crowd were in disbelief when Osiyemi managed to put the ball wide from 7 yards out.
Birtley started the second period in similar fashion. Callum Smith thought he had his second of the afternoon but the Assistant Referee raised their flag despite the Birtley man starting his run in his own half.
The tempo of the game then calmed as Birtley maintained control. Smith did have his second of the afternoon and 10th of the season when he dispossessed the full-back before turning back inside and slotting the ball into the corner.
Glen Hargrave thought he finally had his chance on 78 minutes but he couldn’t convert when 1 v 1 with the keeper. While Glen and Smiggs were still in shock, Joe Barwick managed to win back possession and found an unmarked Smiggs who slotted home to complete the hat-trick.
Birtley completed the afternoon with Alex Francis scoring his second of the afternoon after The Uni had failed to clear a Josh Thynne corner.
Full-Time | Newcastle University 0 – 6 Birtley Town
Paul Bryson knew how important three points were but was delighted with a dominant display. “I am delighted with the result. We had a few missing with Aidan suspended, Keltie away and Lewis Orrell also away. We welcomed Owen back but unfortunately lost him early on to injury. On a massive plus having Sam Hedley back is a welcome bonus, Heds could be massive for us in the coming weeks.
I am really pleased with the performance of Josh Strassheim. It was his first starting debut and he did very well, he has a bright future. I thought The Uni started really well, we had to stand up and be counted for. We didn’t really settle until Smiggs scored. It was a very good finish.
The second goal is a brilliant team goal. A superb through ball from Alex, excellent delivery from Smiggs and Wardy taps it home. Smiggs was involved in the cross for the penalty.
The 1st half was fairly even possession but we showed the real bits of quality. Smiggs deserved his hat-trick in the second period. It was really pleasing to get Josh Thynne some minutes too, he is a young lad and only 16. He did fantastic. Jason also made his second debut for the club so it was a really good three points leading into the top of the table clash against Boro Rangers. I was pleased to keep a clean sheet. Next week we will welcome back Aidan and Lewis Orrell in what is a huge game for both sides.”
H2H vs Newcastle University – Northern League competitions only
P6 W3 D1 L2 GF13 GA8 Pts 10
28.12.2019 | Birtley Town 1-1 Newcastle University | NL Div 2 – (C. Stevens)
25.08.2021 | Birtley Town 1-4 Newcastle University | NL Div 2 – (J. Stephenson)
31.03.2022 | Newcastle University 1-2 Birtley Town | NL Div 2 – (S. Hedley, J. Barwick)
06.04.2022 | Birtley Town 0-1 Newcastle University | EA Cup QF – (N/A)
17.09.2022 | Birtley Town 3-1 Newcastle University | NL Div 2 – (A. Rutledge x2, J. Honour)
18.03.2023 | Newcastle University 0-6 Birtley Town | NL Div 2 – (C. Smith x3, M. Ward, A. Francis x2 [1P])
The Hoops host Boro Rangers on Saturday (3pm kick-off) as part of Non-League Day. It’s a huge game for both sides with Birtley looking to cement their play-off position and Boro Rangers still in pole position to win the league.