FA Vase 1st. Round Qualifying
This excellent, almost impartial report comes courtesy of Paolo at http://www.synners.co.uk/
Synners started the game well and in the 6th minute Michael Jameson made a strong run down the left. His cross was headed behind by Crook's Keith Foster. The resulting corner saw Steven Baynes pull the ball back to Jameson, his looping ball into the box found DAVID ABEL who headed in from close range in the 7th minute.
Crook then had a couple of chances. Firstly in the 8th minute a throw-in on the right came to Michael Cooke, but he shot wide. Then 2 minutes later a free-kick from the left picked out Cooke with a free header which he sent over the cross-bar.
A free-kick in a good position in the 16th minute was wasted as Jameson sent his dead ball kick well over. Then in the 16th minute Neil Campbell sent in a good cross from the left to Tyson Masters. The striker went for a first time volley, but saw his effort go wide.
Billingham continued to have the better possession and in the 27th minute Michael Cater split the Crook defence with a diagonal pass through to Masters who had got beyond the back line. This time however, home 'keeper Liam Connell was out of his goal to gather the ball.
Another good through ball in the 32nd minute, this time from Campbell, saw Colin Iley run on goal. Again Connell was alert to snuff out any danger as he smothered the ball under pressure from the Billingham man. Two minutes later Iley made a strong run down the right, with Foster making a timely challenge to stop the cross.
The hosts came back at Synners with a quick counter attack. A strong run from Daniel Olusoga on the left saw him cut inside, only to shoot straight at Synners 'keeper Peter Keen.
Crook had a great chance to level in the 40th minute. Some good interchanging play on the left between Darren Kokes and Matthew Coad saw the ball come inside to Shaun McAvoy. His pass fed in Dale Sheridan who shot and forced a good save out of Keen.
Half-time: Crook 0, Synners 1
The home side came out for the 2nd period and immediately put Synners on the back foot with a good spell of possession and passing football. However, they were limited to two long range efforts from Kokes and Foster that never troubled Keen.
Synthonia struggled to get a foot-hold on the game and after 55 minutes a cross from the right found a Crook man, the shot was heading into the net before Brian Close made a block on the goal line and cleared.
An equaliser looked inevitable, and came in the 59th minute. McAvoy won the ball and spread the play out wide to Olusoga on the right. His cross to the back post saw MATTHEW COAD arrive in good time to head beyond Keen and level the tie.
Billingham came back into the game and in the 69th minute a good delivery by Adam Clough from a free-kick to the left, picked out substitute James Magowan who headed towards goal. Crook stopper Connell was equal to the effort, making a good save.
Crook took the lead in the 72nd minute. Jameson conceded a free-kick near the right touch line and the resulting ball into the penalty area saw DANIEL OLUSOGA score with a glancing header that nested into the corner of the net.
Synners levelled in the 84th minute when Abel sent a long ball over the top of the Crook rearguard. NEIL CAMPBELL latched onto the pass and slotted the ball under Connell towards goal. Despite an attempt from from Dale Sheridan to clear off the line, the Crook defender could only help the ball into the net.
With extra time looming, Crook made a final attempt to win the tie deep in stoppage time in the 92nd minute. With a suspicion of offside, Olusoga sent SHAUN MCAVOY through on goal, and he made no mistake as his shot bulged the net to give the home side the win.
Synthonia now return to league action on Saturday at the PTS Stadium with a home game against Seaham Red Star.
CROOK TOWN: Connell, McTaggart, Green, Sheridan, Nesbit, Foster(c), Cooke, McAvoy, Olusoga, Kokes, Coad. Subs nor used; Quinn, Bone, Tate, Emmerson, McKie.
BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA: Keen, Close, Baynes, Cater, Abel(c), Barnes, Masters (Magowan), Clough, Campbell, Iley, M Jameson. Subs not used; Hobday.
Referee: Mr S Stocksbridge
Assistants: M Edwards, M Eddy
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