For the second time this season, Hebburn Town faced a team coming to the Sports Ground in bottom position in the league, and for the second time the visitors left with all three points.
At the end of November the Hornets had won 11 successive league games, when they faced bottom club Esh Winning at the Sports Ground; Esh take the spoils with a 2-1 victory, and put a dent in Hebburn’s promotion hopes.
This time the visitors, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion, started the game holding up the rest of the league, with 24 points from 37 games.
Ryton have had a number of management changes this season and new manager Tony Fawcett only took the helm very recently, joining from Monkseaton FC of the Alliance.
Hebburn had won their last three home games and put in a very strong performance to come away from Heaton Stannington last week with a 1-0 victory.
The outcome this weekend, another defeat, this time 1-0.
A common factor running across both “surprise” defeats is that on both occasions the visitors had just appointed a new manager.
The Hornets started reasonably well, keeping possession, and after five minutes, a great through ball from Adam Rundle split the defence and Scott Wallace took it in his stride and drove to the byline.
He despatched a perfect cross along the six yard line, but unfortunately there was no forwards on the end of it.
With the advantage of the wind, Hebburn had a lot of possession in the first 20 minutes, but failed to make this count at all.
As the game progressed, the Hornets were becoming more frustrated, and Ryton pressed forward more and more.
From one such move, the Hornets gave away an unnecessary free kick on the edge of the box; Callum Smith, who normally plays in midfield had been called up for goalkeeping duty for this game, as other keepers were not available; he organised the defensive wall well and produced a fine save from a good starting position.
However, shortly afterwards, disaster hit the Hornets, when Smith let a very soft shot, from 15 yards, go through his legs to give Ryton a valuable lead.
Hebburn started the second half well and almost from the kick off Chris Feasey drew a fine save from the Ryton keeper.
The Hornets could not raise their game and their lacklustre performance created even more frustration and there was a lack of co-ordination throughout the side.
This gave Ryton more confidence and they used the wind in a better fashion to create chances, Callum Smith was brought into action to prevent certain goals.
Manager Scott Oliver was bitterly disappointed with the team’s performance, particularly with the excellent win at Stannington last week, and as they approach the end of the season he feels that “the only thing constant about his team is our inconsistency.”
He will certainly be looking for a much improved performance in the final league game on Saturday against Blyth Town, who the Hornets defeated on the opening game of this season.