Billingham Town's 100% winning record remains intact but it took a monumental slice of luck to decide the outcome of a game that appeared to be drifting into a stalemate.
Brandon, had battled, scurried and fought for every ball and must of thought that a point was in the bag for their ‘endeavours’. With the full ninety minutes on the clock and a Craig Hutchinson, indomitably shackled by Chris Spence & the impressive Adam Lamb - Brandon could have been forgiven if they thought that the job was done and dusted. And yet Hutchinson somehow managed to cause panic and elicit a foul just outside the box enabling Reece Kenney a sight on goal.
Kenney had been superb throughout, particularly in the first half and it would be cruel if ‘The Northern League goals panel’ marked off his strike as an own goal and handed it to the luckless Jake Burns. Kenney’s low drive went under the wall, rebounded off the inside of the post and struck Burns without the keeper having time to react and into the net. Harsh on Brandon but maybe an early omen for Billingham Town during the opening weeks of a long hard season ahead of them.
The Town management had already utilised the squad for the opening two league fixtures and further changes were made for today’s game. It was the hosts who dominated the opening quarter of an hour and it needed Jack Carr’s strike off the post to galvanise Town into action.
Elliott Beddow came close with a low shot that was well kept out by Burns and Dom Joynes saw his goal bound effort blocked by a recovering defender. Town were now in full control as Kenney and Jack Connor bossed the midfield and Brandon’s defence were struggling to contain Beddow’s blistering pace.
For all their possession, clear cut chances were hard to come by and the half ended with Connor’s deflected shot going wide for a corner. The teams went into the break goalless.
Town began the second half on the offensive and Burns, once again denied Beddow a goal, keeping out the wingers attempt with his legs.
Town’s persistence reaped reward on fifty seven minutes when Dan Flounders scored his first goal for the club. Stephen Oakley found the diminutive defender in an advanced position on the right hand side and the ex- Darlington RA man tried to pick out Connor in the middle but the ball evaded the midfielder. Dom Joynes picked up the ball on the left, drilled the ball back over to FLOUNDERS who tapped into an empty net.
Credit to Brandon as it only took them three minutes to get back on level terms and it was their danger man Niall FINGLETON with a fine strike from outside the box, beating Jack Patton for pace.
The equaliser had upset Town’s rhythm so Oliver & Edwards introduced Matthew Robinson and Jamie Davies into the fray in an attempt to regain the initiative. Connor saw his powerful drive from twenty yards off target while Robinson arrowed one inches wide. With time running out, Town were still searching for the breakthrough and they got their just rewards when KENNEY got lucky with that free-kick. Kenney or Keeper? Post match, the goal was given as an own goal by Burns.