WASHINGTON FC 0 – Billingham Synthonia – 0
(Half Time: Washington 0 – Billingham 0)
EBAC Northern League, Division 1 Nissan Sports & Leisure Complex Tuesday 5th August 2017 Attendance: 58
Washington welcomed fellow EBAC Northern League strugglers, Billingham Synthonia, to Nissan on Tuesday evening with both sides still searching for their first win of the campaign. Washington manager James Clark had stated after the 3-1 loss to West Aukland the previous Saturday that despite their winless run he had not been disheartened by the performances from his team, but those performances needed to start turning into results. It may have felt like groundhog day for the Washington gaffer, as he saw his side dominate proceedings for the majority of the game but unable to find the win once again.
In the opening stages of the game, Washington appeared a much different side to the one that had lost to West Aukland the previous Saturday, there was a lot more energy and purpose in the way they played, putting together a series of good passing moves that made it difficult for the visitors to get into the game. Their early attacking threat was coming mostly from Jordan Jewson, who looked lively in he final third and managed to pull off a couple of attempts on goal but never really troubling Synners keeper Liam Gibbs.
Washington attempted a number of ways to break the deadlock and seemed to be enjoying their time on the pitch in the opening twenty minutes with an array of through balls and clever passing. However, they were almost their own undoing when Bruno Pilatos was sold short inside his own half, Synthonia attempted to break but Kristian Sands stood firm to tidy up and deny the threat. Ten minutes later, Michael Laws was far too casual in front of his own box, having his pocket picked and conceding the foul to prevent his blushes. Towards the end of the half Laws made another clumsy challenge which saw him go into the referee’s book. Despite Washington controlling much of the first half, it remained goalless at the break.
Washington continued the second half much as they’d left the first. Five minutes in, Gibbs hesitated to collect a cross from the right but there was no one around to capitalise and break the deadlock. Leading the Washington front line was Matthew Waters, whose strong hold up play was proving difficult for Synthonia to deal with. The cards were back out soon after for Synthonia’s Alex Nelson who brought down Jake Pickard after being eluded by his sharp turn. As the half wore on, Washington continued to threaten with a series of good deliveries into the box but again no one was there to capitalise and provide the final touch.
A win for either side in this game would have been massive, as neither were yet to pick up three points during this campaign, yet neither side were able to find joy in front of goal. On sixty-six minutes, Washington almost found that crucial goal in spectacular fashion when the rebound from Ross Gardener’s cross fell to Pilatos who sent a thunderbolt of a strike sailing past the right-hand post. Billingham Synthonia appeared to have set up for the draw as they held a deep line and looked focussed on breaking up Washington’s play. They were finding success in this as frustrations were beginning to show for the home side, who were now hitting wayward passes and easing up on the pressure in front of the Synthonia goal.
Washington came as close to a goal as they had all game ten minutes from time, when Pickard’s glancing shot from a deep cross beat Gibbs at full stretch but the ball was agonisingly wide of the mark. Washington found their second wind in the final ten, Matthew Parker displaying some fine control but shooting wide before Waters forced a great save from Gibbs. Having sat deep and soaked up the pressure for most of the game, Synthonia very nearly nicked it in the dying minutes. Some sloppy defending from Washington allowed substitute Callum Hassan with a run at goal, his shot bouncing between the ground and keeper Dan Gladstone before looping onto the crossbar and out. It was honours even as the game finished goalless.
After the game, a visibly frustrated James Clark made an honest assessment of what he had witnessed from his team;
“I think it’s been the most disappointing performance all season,” Clark said, “they’ve [Synthonia] come for a point and they’ve got a point, I’m not happy with the performance at all. As the game went on the lads were frustrated and they didn’t do what they were told to do.”
Clark had previously stated that it was always going to take time to gel the team, with a number of youngsters still learning at this level. When asked how close he was to having the team ready based on Tuesday’s game, he made reference to attacking options;
“I felt we missed a lot of cut and thrust today, Peter Watling was a miss. I think he might have helped unlock the door and that’s what it was, finding the key to unlock the door. Five minutes into the second half they had shut up shop and were going for a point and I’m disappointed we didn’t unlock the door…we need to get the results.”
Washington face another massive test on Saturday as they travel to Morpeth who find themselves third in the league and just two points behind leaders West Aukland Town. When asked what positives he can take from Tuesday’s game into Saturday, Clark said;
“A clean sheet and another point, you’ll take those all day long. Overall I felt we defended quite well, the overall shape was good, it was the cut and thrust that was missing.”
Morpeth Town FC vs WASHINGTON FC
Saturday 09 SEPTEMBER 2017, 3pm
Craik Park, Morpeth
|05/09/2017||7:45 pm||Northern League Division 1||2017/18|