Birtley lost their first game of the season with a 2-1 defeat to Prudhoe YC at Essity Park on Friday night.
Match highlights available HERE.
Birtley made just the one change to the side that beat Boldon on Tuesday. Ben Garrity returned to right back replacing Josh Holland who had a slight injury and could only make the bench.
Newly promoted Prudhoe took all three points in a game that lacked quality. The hosts started the better of the two sides and were winning individual battles from the first whistle. Prudhoe dominated the early stages and took the lead from a set piece on 21 minutes. A corner wasn’t cleared and ex-Birtley Town midfielder Cameron Hood pounced to haunt his old side, smashing the ball beyond Grant from close range. The first period lacked real quality with Prudhoe having the most possession and popping balls into the Birtley box. Thomas Ions had a good effort whistle beyond the post on 41 minutes before Birtley managed their first real effort on 44 minutes when Callum Smith smashed an effort towards the Prudhoe goal. The effort was well saved and held by Prudhoe keeper Thomas White.
The second half started in better fashion for The Hoops. On 53 minutes an Alex Francis cross from the right was met by Aidan Rutledge who headed home his 20th goal of the season however Birtley were level for just nine minutes. Prudhoe again forced Birtley into defending a set piece, it wasn’t cleared and Lewis Exley smashed home the loose ball from twelve yards. The goal proved a crucial moment with Birtley just starting to gain momentum after their equaliser. Alex Francis had a long range effort well saved but Birtley failed to create any real clear cut chances to draw level. Prudhoe nearly extended their lead in injury time when Will Morris fired his shot just beyond the far post.
There could be no complaints Foster and Bryson’s men as a well organised and tireless Prudhoe side took all three points. Foss reflected on the defeat “It was disappointing to fall to two set pieces on Friday but we never really got going. We didn’t do what we have done over the last month to get us to where we are and give credit to Prudhoe for the way they set out and they had a game plan which worked. We just didn’t deal with it. If we have learned the game, then moving forward it might not be a bad lesson and we were always at some point going to get beat.”
The Hoops return to the Arrowmark Home Improvement Stadium on Tuesday evening with a huge game against undefeated Bedlington Terriers. The game kicks off at 7:30pm and we would love to see you all there.