Second half fightback sees West earn a point
By Harry Crowe - Reporter
Ebac Northern League
Billingham Town.......... 2
West Auckland Town.... 2
WEST Town battled back from two goals down to claim a point against Billingham Town in an end-to-end Northern League encounter.
Luke Hogan’s brace was cancelled out by second half goals in the space of eight minutes from Ross Colquhoun and Amar Purewal in a lively contest at Bedford Terrace.
The result leaves West in eighth in the first division table with 25 points from 18 matches while Billingham move above Shildon in sixth.
Gary Forrest made four changes from the midweek defeat at Stockton Town with Mark Bell, Adam Mitchell, Lewis Dodds and Colquhoun replacing Tom Flynn, Liam Hegarty, James Harwood and Rees Greenwood.
Billingham came out of the blocks quickly and made their early pressure count eight minutes in after Anthony Bell’s attempted clearance was intercepted by Elliott Beddow.
His cross from the left was swung in towards Hogan and the forward took an exquisite first touch before his swerving shot nestled in the far corner.
Danny Greenfield almost levelled for West and it was the closest they got to a leveller before halftime.
The midfielder drove forward, breezed past James Frazer to go one-on-one with the keeper but his crisp strike cannoned back off the crossbar.
Forrest’s side stepped up their tempo after the restart but it was Billingham who added a second .
It arrived in the 51st minute via a clinical counterattack, which started through Craig Hutchinson and was finished off by Hogan.
However, just five minutes later, West were gifted a lifeline when Mitchell’s corner from the left-hand side flew across the face of goal and found Colquhoun unmarked at the back post for a simple tap in.
The hosts frantically tried to avoid the shift in momentum and on 64 minutes, Purewal met Mitchell’s in-swinging delivery and nodded in his eighth league goal of the season to leave the contest evenly poised.
Billingham, to their credit, didn’t let the slip-up affect them and threatened to snatch a late winner, though Mark Bell was instrumental in keeping the score level as he stuck out a right foot to divert Jamie Davis’ effort behind for a corner which was then cleared by the ex-Blyth Spartans and Darlington shot stopper.
West also posed one final attack when Mitchell sent in a low cross but Purewal, despite lunging at full stretch, was unable to get a vital touch in the middle as both sides had to settle with a share of the spoils.
West Auckland: Mark Bell, Mitchell, Mitton, Colquhoun, Anthony Bell (Price, 44), Dodds (c), Francis, Thompson, Dowson (Burnicle, 45), Greenfield (Greenwood, 62), Purewal
Referee: Dane McCarrick
l Local football round-up on page 37