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Redcar Athletic vs Birtley Town



Redcar Athletic 1-4 Birtley Town

Steelmen: Joe Thompson (26′)

Birtley: Alex Francis (3′, 60′), Glen Hargrave (11′, 12′)

The curtains of the 2023/24 season were raised on a disaster, as the Steelmen imploded against newly promoted Birtley Town.

The Hoops made the perfect start to their step five tenure, racking up a three goal lead within the opening quarter of an hour.

Joe Thompson offered Redcar a glimmer of hope with his spectacular drive from range, but Alex Francis’s second half penalty cemented the three points for Birtley on their Division One debut.

Driving winds set the scene at Green Lane, in which 300 spectators lined the terraces, filled with feelings of joy and anticipation.

For Athletic, that feeling lasted a mere three minutes, as a mix up at the back allowed Town captain Alex Francis to poke home a historic goal for the Hoops.

Mason McNeill almost fashioned a quick response to the visitors’ opener, as his switch of play was brought under control by Isaac Walker, but the forward couldn’t provide the finish to match.

Instead, Birtley’s fairytale start to the season continued, as Glen Hargrave stepped up to sweep home a brace, following in after Jack Norton tipped away Proctor’s effort, before picking out the far bottom corner on a quick breakaway.

Redcar’s lone moment of consolation on a disappointing afternoon came through Joe Thompson, who scored his first goal for the club in spectacular fashion.

The fullback unleashed a ferocious drive from distance, picking out the top right corner and leaving no chance for Alfie Gordon, handing the Steelmen a lifeline.

Besides the goal, Athletic’s most potent threat came through Layton Watts, who found himself at the centre of nearly every attack, almost catching Gordon out with a clever low free kick just before the break.

Isaac Walker was the first to ask questions of the Birtley backline after the restart, forcing the ex-Newcastle Benfield ‘keeper to rush out and smother his advance.

Any progress the Steelmen had made since Thompson’s rocket were eventually made futile, as a push in the back of Ben Garrity earned the Hoops a spot kick.

Alex Francis had proven a thorn in Athletic’s side all afternoon, and fittingly stepped up to slot home from the spot and all but seal his side a prestigious victory.

Even still, matters got worse, as Jack Norton was given his marching orders for repeatedly berating the referee, and without Matty Pattison on the bench, James Sayer was forced in between the sticks.

The young midfielder proved a worthy choice to take on the gloves, twice denying the circling Town forwards, whilst offering an all round composed performance to see the game out without any further damage.

Attendance: 301

Line Up: Norton, McNeill, Thompson, Moan (Sayer 56’), Wheatley, Hall, Watts (Owens 79’), Boyle (Conway 75’), Tymon (O’Sullivan 79’), Walker, Bell (Kenney 75’)

Next Match: Crook Town (a) | Wednesday 2nd August 2023



29/07/20233:00 pmNorthern Football League - Division 12023/24


BM Bi Fold Stadium, Green Lane, TS10 3RW
Green Lane, Redcar, Redcar and Cleveland, Tees Valley, England, TS10 3RW, United Kingdom
Tuesday 23rd April, 19:30BM Bi Fold Stadium, Green Lane, TS10 3RW
Redcar Athletic
1 : 2
Boro Rangers
Yellow Cards
Red Cards