Former League striker ‘guests’ for Bay

Tim ChannonFirst Team

A STAR striker with over 350 Football League appearances behind him made a guest second half appearance for the Seagulls in their second pre-season game against National League North side Curzon Ashton.

But he won’t be signing for the club.

Liverpool-born Billy Paynter (pictured playing for Leeds United) can also list Swindon Town, Hull City, Brighton and Sheffield United among his previous clubs.

The 33-year-old helped Doncaster Rovers win the League One title in 2012/13 and was skipper at Hartlepool United last season, but was unable to save them from relegation from League Two and was released by them in May.

His appearance in a Bay shirt will have taken a few people by surprise, but Manager Phill Hadland explained: “We did him a favour and let him have some game time as he is coming back from an injury. Obviously we would love to have him here, but he won’t be signing for us…. unfortunately.”

Billy came on in the second half, but couldn’t save the Bay from a second pre-season defeat as a defensive error put Curzon’s Jordan Wright clear for the only goal of the game nine minutes from the end.

The Bay, however, had bossed a lot of the game against a side two divisions higher than them.  Curzon’s keepers made three or four excellent saves, while Danny Bartle had a goalbound deflection cleared off the line,  and their coach Mark Bradshaw admitted: “We got lucky today. We didn’t deserve to win.”

The Seagulls will want to build on the performance on Tuesday evening  when they play North West Counties side Runcorn Town (7:45pm).

Runcorn, who lost 4-0 at home to Warrington Town last weekend, have former Bay players Andy Metcalfe (keeper), Danny Jarrett and summer signing Rob Doran among their squad.

Meanwhile, the manager reports that the scan on Gaz Grant’s knee has shown there is no tear in the ligament, which is good news.

“We will now try and get him fit because he has been injured since last season,” said Phill. “It will take time, but obviously we will be delighted when Gaz is available for selection again.”

The Bay players on duty against Curzon were: Matt Cooper, Kyle Jacobs, Shaun Holden, Josh Brizzell, Dan Collins, Sam Barnes, Luke Horrocks, Anthony Griffith, Danny Bartle, Jamie Rainford, Danny Andrews, Kris Leigh, Astley Mulholland, Mike Pino, Warren Bellew, Will Booth, Bill Paynter, Jack Kelleher, Nat Kerr.