Controversial clash ended with Darlington in seventh Hebburn

EARLY HOPE ... Hebburn celebrate Tony Stephenson's equaliser, but it proved to be just a brief moment of joy.
EARLY HOPE ... Hebburn celebrate Tony Stephenson's equaliser, but it proved to be just a brief moment of joy.

HEBBURN Town fell to a fourth consecutive defeat in Northern League Division One – and the second in a week against league leaders Darlington.

The visitors left South Tyneside with all three points after a goal glut at the Hebburn Sports Ground against a determined home side, who played with nine men for over an hour of the game.

After a cagey start to the game, the visitors took the lead when Jeff Forsyth and Dave Dowson each grabbed a handful of the other’s shirt in the Hebburn penalty area.

Forsyth ultimately pulled the harder to send Dowson tumbling and Terry Galbraith stroked the ball home low to his left for the first goal of the afternoon after 11 minutes.

Within a minute, the Hornets were level when Tony Stephenson darted between the Darlo defence to latch onto a long ball.

With the Darlo keeper Mark Bell advancing, Stephenson got a touch with the ball bouncing in off a defender’s heel.

The referee had a big decision to make after 22 minutes of the game when Dowson and Lee Harrison chased a ball towards the Hebburn goal.

With Dan Kirkup circling around to cover, and with Dowson taking an extra touch instead of shooting, Harrison’s mistimed tackle brought the forward down outside of the box.

The referee, with the appeals for a dismissal from Darlington’s large away support ringing in his ears, showed a red card to Harrison who was then confronted by an away supporter as he made his way off the pitch.

Further misery was to follow for the South Tynesiders when Craig Gott fired in the free-kick to put his team into a lead.

Forsyth walked three minutes later after a late tackle.

While his first yellow card was harsh, the second could have been a straight red,.

With Dan Regan in fine form and Hebburn’s eight outfield players running themselves into the ground, it wasn’t until the 58th minute that Darlo extended their lead when Amar Purewal scored.

Chris Emms struck a fourth after 79 minutes to open the floodgates.

The impressive Dowson netted after 81 minutes before crossing for Purewal to score his second on 88 minutes.

Gott’s injury-time free-kick then eluded Regan to send his team into seventh heaven.

Next up for Hebburn is a trip to Division Two high-flyers Ryhope CW tomorrow in a League Cup tie before the league takes back over next Saturday when Penrith travel to South Tyneside.

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