About Me

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Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
I am a Northern League supporter without a club to favour and double as a sometime genealogist who has researched his family tree back to the early 1600's, compiling a file of individual relatives totalling just over 3,000 names. I have been happily married to Maureen for 49 years. We have 1 son, 3 daughters, 14 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and absolutely no money!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Consett 2-2 Dunston Federation

Northern League Division 1
Belle Vue
Ashdale Road
This was the match of the day, league leaders against third and all to play for! I was not disappointed either, a very good game played in the right manner.
Consett went on the attack right from the start and were rewarded in the third minute when David Pounder met a cross from the right by Gary Ormston with his left foot and volleyed in. 1-0
The Fed seemed to take control for a while after that and when Fergal Harkin lofted the ball into the penalty area, Kane Young sent his header into goal. 10 minutes 1-1
Just after the half hour mark, Fed were awarded a penalty and Harkin's weak attempt was saved by Paul Gilmore. 3 minutes later, Andrew Bulford gave Fed the lead with a delightful left foot chip over Gilmore. 1-2
Shortly after half time, Carl Piecha's left footed strike gained a deflection on it's way into the net. 2-2
Both sides played some good football from this point and both sides will be claiming some unfair refereeing decisions cost them the winners' points, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game and think that a draw was the fair outcome.
Consett: Paul Gilmore, Mark Gaffney (David Johnson 30), Michael Coulthard, Chris Scott, Carl Piecha, Craig Robson (Steven Johnson 65), Gary Ormston, Jonjo Dickman (Andrew Cuthbertson 78), Mattie Moffat, Adam Emson, David Pounder.
Dunston Federation: Barry Poskett, Steven Pickering, David Wells, Michael Robson, Ben Cattanach, Kane Young (John Clark 87), Fergal Harkin, Michael Dixon, Mark Sheeran (Steven Preen 69) Andrew Bulford (Richard Logan 78) Steven Brown.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sunday, 14 December 2008

No football

No footie for me this weekend, unfortunately. There were only 4 matches left standing due to the recent weather, at Billingham Town, Whitley Bay, Horden and Thornaby. Also, I now have to be careful of my spending, having been off work sick since the end of August, waiting for an operation on my spine. So, I chose to spend the afternoon visiting family with my better half.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Billingham Synthonia 5-2 West Auckland Town

Northern League Division 1
The PTS Stadium
Central Avenue
Billingham welcomed West Auckland Town to the PTS Stadium and made four changes from the defeat at home to Spennymoor Town ten days ago. Michael Cater & Tyson Masters both made starts, with Michael Jameson & Simon Shaw both returning from injury to return to the starting eleven.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors when in the 7th minute Ian Maddison and Kevin Bromley combined to advance on goal. Synners skipper David Abel however, had read the danger and intercepted at the expense of a corner. The resulting flag-kick from the left saw a shot at goal, but Colin Iley cleared off the line at his position on the near post.
West Auckland continued to have slightly the better of the opening exchanges, and forced a couple of corners in the 14th minute. The second of which was palmed away to safety from Synners keeper Ben Escritt.
Billingham came back at West in the 17th minute when Iley played the ball in to James Magowan. He in turn tried to release Masters who had got in beyond the visiting rearguard, but West keeper Nicky Farrel was alert to the danger and collected.
In the 20th minute, Bromley fed the ball in to Chris Musgrave, and the visiting striker got a slight touch on the ball to force Escritt into making a save.
Synthonia gradually started to control the tempo of the game and were gaining more possession in midfield. A Shaw pass along the right touchline in the 23rd minute for Iley, saw the Billingham striker turn his marker. he then crossed towards Michael Cater but the ball went just beyond the midfielder. A minute later and Shaw found Cater advancing, and he did well to pull the ball back into the danger area, but the West defence cleared.
In the 28th minute Jameson and David Yale combined on the left, and Yale's cross saw Masters head towards goal. Farrel however made a comfortable catch. Billingham then won a free-kick just on the edge of the penalty area after Cater was fouled. Shaw stepped up, but saw his dead-ball delivery sail harmlessly over the bar.
Auckland's Musgrave picked up a loose ball in the 32nd minute and advanced down the right. His ball aimed at Bromley was intercepted by Andy Harbron, who cleared.
The scoring was opened in the 35th minute. Yale sent in a great cross from the left into the penalty area for JAMES MAGOWAN. The striker leaped well to head home passed the diving Farrel. Two minutes later, in the 37th minute and an almost carbon copy move reaped its rewards. This time it was Jameson's great delivery from the left to JAMES MAGOWAN, and he again got in front of his marker to head home into the top corner of the net.
Billingham added a third another two minutes later in the 39th minute. Masters advanced down the right and into the penalty area. He then unselfishly squared the ball to the un-marked JAMES MAGOWAN who fired in his hat-trick with his right foot.
Synthonia were now rampant, with their visitors looking a little shell shocked. A fourth goal was added in the 43rd minute and again it was from Magowan. Masters was again provider as he chased the ball towards the left bye-line. He did well to keep it in play and cut back towards the onrushing JAMES MAGOWAN, and the hit man rifled the ball home from 12 yards for his fourth goal in eight minutes.
Half-time: Synners 4, West Auckland 0
Synthonia continued where they left off in the second period and after 51 minutes Jameson's free-kick from the left saw Cater attack the ball. But he couldn't direct his effort towards goal and the West defence momentarily cleared their lines.
A minute later though, Billingham made it five. Magowan left the ball for Harbron to try a low drive at goal. The ball was going wide but TYSON MASTERS had got into a good position to side foot home from close range.
A swift Synners move in the 58th minute saw Yale play the ball into Iley. he in turn tried to thread the ball between two defenders towards Magowan, but West captain Michael Heckley adjusted well to intercept and clear.
Billingham again were having a lot of joy down the left flank, with Jameson supporting Yale well. A great ball in from the latter in the 66th minute came to Magowan, but this time the striker headed over the bar. Two minutes later and Synthonia attacked down the right. Substitute Adam Clough crossed to Masters, but his header on target saw Farrel make a comfortable catch.
Auckland pulled a goal back in the 75th minute when full-back Neil Pattinson got into a forward position along the right flank. He crossed the ball for ALEX CAISLEY who saw the ball over the line at the back post.
Another attacking move along the right reaped rewards for the visitors in the 81st minute. Again Pattinson got into an advanced position and crossed into the danger area. This time the ball ricocheted of ADAM CLOUGH as he attempted to clear and spun into the net.
There was a lengthy stoppage towards the end of the game when Abel took a knock to the face. The skipper left the field and Billingham played out the remaining 5 minutes with ten men.

Referee: Mr M Coy Assistants: S Whittaker & S Wilson and fairplay to the three of them, they did a grand job, in my opinion.
Billingham Synthonia: Ben Escritt, Simon Shaw (Adam Clough), Michael Jameson, Anthony Harbron (Joel Guy), David Abel, Thomas Marron, David Yale, Michael Cater, James Magowan, Colin Iley, Tyson Masters (Liam Brown).
Substitutes not used; Stephen Baynes, David Barnes.
West Auckland Town: Nicky Farrel, Neil Pattinson, Brian Fairhurst, Michael Heckley, Shaun Davies, Danny Richmond, Steven Flockett, Neil Lowden (Alex Caisley), Ian Maddison (Jonathon French), Christopher Musgrave (Stuart Owen), Kevin Bromley.
Substitutes not used: James Austick, Jak Outhwaite.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Horden CW 3-2 Guisborough Town

Welfare Park
Co. Durham.
On a bitterly cold day which wiped out the whole of the First Division, I was lucky enough to watch one of only four fixtures played in the second division. Two other games did kick-off, but had to be abandoned early on due to fog.
Horden staged a remarkable comeback in stoppage time to earn three valuable promotion points against Guisborough.
Horden were the only one of the promotion contenders to pick up three points at the weekend, and manager Simon Corbett said: "Last week, when we scored within ten seconds, we told people to make sure they turned up for the start of the match. This week, we've told them to make sure they don't go early!"
Guisborough were twice in the lead in the game. David Onions ran through to put them ahead midway through the first half, and after Horden's Ian Clark hit the post with a penalty, Craig Hubbard levelled on 68 minutes after sub Jonathan Monaghan's shot was blocked.
Liam McPhillips restored Guisborough's lead from a Luke Bythway pass, but in the first minute of stoppage time, Monaghan equalised with an overhead kick. Within seconds, Hubbard cracked in the winner for a 3-2 win.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Esh Winning 3-1 Whitehaven Amateurs

Northern League Division 2

West Terrace,
Esh Winning,
County Durham.

I always try to fit in at least one visit to Esh Winning during the season, sometimes more, as it is one of my favourite grounds - picturesque setting, canny pitch, great clubhouse and good craic!

The football's usually OK, too!

Whitehaven have been at or near the top of the division since the first day of the season and they took the game to Esh from the off, taking the lead in the 13th minute when Craig Robson sent in a nice cross from the left to be turned into net by Gary Hodgson. 0-1
This woke up Esh and they were able to equalise 2 minutes later when left winger Michael Fort was upended in the penalty area and Chris Smith put away the resulting spot kick. 1-1
Exactly 10 minutes later. Michael Fort was awarded another penalty for another foul by the same player in almost the same place in the penalty area. Once again, Chris Smith converted, sending in the rebound after Jack Fryer had made a good save from the first attempt. 2-1
5 minutes from time, Tony Hanson was on hand when a free kick was beaten out and he blasted into goal to confirm the victory for Esh Winning. 3-1

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Shildon 4-1 Billingham Town

Northern League Cup 2nd. Round
Dean Street,
My first time at Dean Street for 3 seasons, and, as always, I missed the turn off the A688 and finished up in a different part of Shildon, which I now recognise!
The match programme states it was a First Division fixture, but I assure you it was a League Cup tie.
Billingham Town took an early lead when the Shildon 'keeper, Andrew Spence, advanced too far from his goal and found himself in No-Man's Land when the ball was passed to the unmarked Chris Moore out on the left. Moore had all the time in the world in which to control the ball and strike it hard with his left foot into the back of the net. I didn't win the Golden Goal prize through this! 8 minutes 0-1.
Bell had a shot saved in the 14th minute and Byrne found himself one on one with the keeper in the 22nd minute but the keeper managed to gather the ball easily. Spence had to save a Billingham Town free kick in the 26th minute to prevent the visitors from extending their lead. Shildon pressed forward and Chapman levelled the score in the 30th minute. The referee seemed to have lost control at this stage and he booked Walklate, Bell and Mason within 10 minutes of each other. Byrne finally put Shildon ahead in the 41st minute when he cleverly wrong footed the keeper and scored.
HALF TIME Shildon 2 - 1 Billingham Town
Shildon came out after the break and pushed to extend their lead. Chapman had a good effort in the 48th minute which went just over the bar. Shildon were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute which was one of the first refereeing decisions of the game that had went in their favour. Byrne stepped up to take the penalty and confidently slotted the ball past the Billingham Town keeper to put Shildon 3-1 ahead. The visitors came close in the 55th minute when former Shildon player - Whensley had a shot just wide. Shildon were unlucky in the 65th minute when a goalmouth scramble almost resulted in them getting another goal, Billingham somehow managed to get the ball away. Watson hit the bar in the 68th minute and Byrne missed a golden opportunity in the 73rd minute. Watling played a good ball through to Byrne in the 77th minute, Byrne should have shot straightaway as he was in a good position to score, unfortunately he opted to try to dance through the Billingham Town defence and eventually lost the ball and the attack came to nothing. In the 90th minute the visitors shot just wide of the post and then in same minute Shildon went forward and extended their lead through Bell to 4-1. The final whistle came and although it was by no means a convincing performance, Shildon maintain their unbeaten run and progress in another cup competition.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Spennymoor Town 2-1 Stokesley Sports Club

FA Vase 2nd. Round Proper
The Brewery Field

Played on a sticky pitch, Stokesley set their stall out from the off by puting ten men behind the ball and relying on a quick breakaway and Spennymoor were unable to capitalise on some wayward defending by the visitors. Chris Smith twice shot into Dan Johnson in the Stokesley goal, then Craig Ruddy got the better of Leon Poole down the left and his squared pass saw Stokesley skipper Stuart Wise get a block on his shot. Stokesley almost opened the scoring when the powerful Craig Johnson headed across the face of goal and Paul Campbell hooked the ball off the post and into Keith Finch's arms. At the other end Smith headed tamely into Johnson before Karl Richards swung two excellent corners over all to no avail, then curled a free kick into Johnson's arms.
The breakthrough came when a long ball from Neil Radigan saw Moors defender Matt Noble misjudge the bounce and Dale Mendum broke clear to slot the ball past Finch. It was hands to the pump for Spennymoor, rallied by the vocal home support in the second half to turn the game around, it looked over until the introduction of Craig Gott and Chris Lawther for Graham Robinson and Noble respectively. Jamie Clarke and Smith again went close before the Moors eventually restored parity on 77 minutes. Lawther held off two challenges to drill a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Moors, now with their tails up, went for the winner and eight minutes later Lawther sprinted clear down the right and as he cut inside the area his cross cum shot was bundled into the net by Stuart Wise and Lawther reeled away in delight and there were mass celebrations on the terraces. Moors almost wrapped the win up in stoppage time and were denied a penalty when Richards dribbled into the area and was hauled down, however, the match official waved play on and Moors stood firm to celebrate at the final whistle £1200 richer with this win and go into the hat on Monday for the 3rd Round Draw.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Chester le Street Town 4-2 Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics

Northern League Division 1
Moor Park,
Chester Moor,
County Durham.
Chester-le-Street caused another upset in the skilltrainingltd Northern League when they beat one of the title favourites, Newcastle Benfield, by 4-2 on Saturday.
Chester have beaten Consett and Whitley Bay in recent weeks as well as drawing at Dunston, and manager Stuart Sherwood said: “At the moment, we’re top of the form league, and long may it continue.“Maybe other teams are underestimating us because we were bottom of the league table at the start of the season, but there isn’t a better team than us at the moment – we’re scoring goals and playing some attractive football. Wayne Gredziak has made a big difference to us, but other players are doing well also.”
Micky Chilton put Benfield into an early lead, but Craig Price levelled from the penalty spot after Robbie Draper was fouled, and then Draper set up Price to score the second from close range. Gredziak then scored an excellent goal, when he cut in from the right and scored from 25 yards to make it 3-1 before half time.
Gredziak scored the fourth from a Price pass midway through the second half, and Ian Graham pulled a goal back late on for Benfield.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Ashington 3-1 Northallerton Town

Northern League Division 1
Woodhorn Lane,

Ashington's new ground has been beckoning me for a few weeks and I wanted to get there before the winter sets in and this was as good a chance as any. It's location is not easily found and I was at least slightly glad to discover that I was not the only person to have problems reaching it - quite a few people from Northallerton had the same problem, including some of the players.

It is a very nice, tidy, set-up within a new housing development but the lack of direction and/or road signs added to the difficulties of finding it. The clubhouse is very clean and hospital-like and has yet to develope the atmosphere which used to permeate the old ground, Portland Park, nevertheless, Worthington's Bitter at £1.oo per pint is attractive enough and it was very palatable! A nice mince 'n' onion pie just before kick-off certainly set me up for the rest of the afternoon.

The Colliers took the game to Town from the off and probably enjoyed most of the possession during the first half but looked as though they would go in level having failed to capitalise on their territorial advantage but with the clock ticking into injury time Gareth Bainbridge broke into the box and sent a lovely chip over Northallerton keeper Jody Barford. This looked to be heading into the goal but Lee McAndrew forced it over the line to be sure. Half time 1-0 and off for a cup of not-very-strong Bovril and a hamburger with very soggy onions.
Northallerton came out revitalised in the second half with the introduction of Gary Shardha in place of a lack-lustre Jason Newall and took the game to Ashington for the opening ten minutes however Colliers gradually regained control of the game and Robbie Cockburn shot home from close range to put the home side further ahead. 2-0
Ashington made the game safe when some good work down the left by substitute Lee Scott saw him pull it back for McAndrew to drill in a shot which was well saved by Barford but his parry only fell to David Rayner who shot home from close range. 3-0

Northallerton grabbed a late consolation goal when Shardha was on hand to blast in a hopeful punt into the penalty area from deep but it was too little too late with the final whistle confirming the three points for the hosts. 3-1

Ashington: Kyle Hayes, David Rayner, Justin Millican, David Tremble, Paul Dunn, Ross Atkinson (Lee Scott), Michael Fenwick, Christian Graham, Robert Cockburn, Gareth Bainbridge, Lee McAndrew (Luke Parkinson).
Unused substitutes David Bibby, Daniel Kennerly, Paul Simpson.
Northallerton Town: Jody Barford, Christopher Walker, Stuart Jackson, James Crossman, Steven Purcifer, Jamie Walton (Scott McNichol), Steven Roberts, Jason Newall (Gary Shardha), Gabriel Radu, Carl Chillingsworth, Paul Jack.
Unused substitutes Patrick Pisani, Martyn Speight, Stuart Dawson.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sunderland Nissan 3-1 Whitley Bay

Wednesday 29 October 2008
Northern League Division 1
Nissan Sports Complex,

I asked posters to the Northern League Form on www.Nonleaguezone.com to take part in a poll to help me decide between this game and Billingham Synthonia v Morpeth. This fixture won 65% of the votes so off to the Nissan Sports Complex I toddled.
The following match report comes courtesy of the Whitley Bay Official web site:
Nissan are always a tough side to beat and with former Bay stalwart Brian Rowe at the heart of their defence, Whitley knew they had a battle on their hands. Both Terry Burke and Mark Taylor were missing from the Bay side, but Darren Timmons was back in the team after illness. On a cold evening Whitley started well, and with just four minutes played, Leon Ryan fired a shot inches over the bar from Paul Robinson’s corner. Damon Robson then crossed to the far post and found Craig McFarlane, who mishit his shot and failed to trouble Nissan keeper Paul Newton.
Having been on top during the opening 15 minutes, Whitley were pushed back as the home side got into gear. Hodgson produced a good shot which Tom Kindley, deputising for the unavailable Terry Burke, saved low down.
Just past the half hour, Paul Robinson shot over the bar after receiving the ball from a Picton header. A fairly even half ended all square with neither side having managed to break through.
Things changed after the interval though, with Whitley going close straight from the whistle when Chow was just short of connecting with a low cross from Moore two yards from goal. A minute later play swung to the other end and when the ball was cleared only as far as Nissan’s Andrew Thompson, he took full advantage sending a great shot into the top corner of the net, giving Kindley no chance at all. Kindley then saved at the feet of substitute Stuart Banks and with the game really opening up, Chris Moore wasted a good opportunity to level the score when he hit a hurried shot wide after latching on to a long ball out of defence. Whitley kept pushing forward and when they won a corner, Robinson’s ball into the goalmouth saw Davison clear off the line from Ryan, before Newton saved Picton’s effort. The ball finally rebounded to David Coulson who drove it into the net from six yards to level the score at 1-1.
Nissan looked dangerous whenever they attacked, thanks in part to the speed of their attacks and in particular the pace of Joshua Gillies. With 20 minutes left, Richard Hodgson put Nissan back in front after a well worked move cut through the Whitley defence. Seven minutes later Josh Gillies got the third goal which effectively made the game safe for Nissan. Kindley had done well to block Gillies' first effort after he broke clear on goal, but could do nothing to prevent the 18 year old slotting home the rebound.
Substitutions in the closing stages made little difference and although both Chow and Coulson went close late on, Nissan looked a stronger unit, especially in defence and deservedly collected all three points, while Whitley and their fans were left to reflect on another disappointing defeat.

Sunderland Nissan: Paul Newton, Kallum Griffiths, Ian Davison, Andrew Thompson, Brian Rowe, Richard Flynn, Anthony Chapman (Neil Tarrant), Gary Pearson, Paul Robinson (Stuart Banks), Richard Hodgson, Josh Gillies
Whitley Bay: Thomas Kindley, Darren Timmons, Lee Picton, Craig McFarlane, David Coulson, Leon Ryan (Bruce Hogg), Chris Moore, Damon Robson, Lee Kerr (Andrew Hay), Paul Chow, Paul Robinson (Darren Reay)

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Seaham Red Star 0-2 Northallerton Town

Northern League Division 1
Seaham Town Park.

As I had not been to Seaham for a couple of seasons and some of the Northallerton supporters are friends of mine, this was my choice for the day. Red Star as a club has undergone a lot of changes this term, following the withdrawal of the main sponsor and changes in the administration and management set-up. The old club has been closed, probably for ever and Red Star now share clubhouse facilities with their next-door neighbours Seaham Park Cricket Club, where I enjoyed a couple of pre-match pints of John Smith's Smooth. Amazingly, the front cover of the poor quality programme carries a photograph of me old mate, John Toft, who has not played for Seaham for some two seasons, Tofty now plies his trade at Durham City, in the Unibond North division!
Glad to say that the playing surface is still as good as ever, though - the grass was about the best thing on the pitch, on the day. The first half was pretty much a non-event, the only action worth mentioning being a save by Town's goalkeeper, new signing Jody Barford, and even that had an element of of luck about it.
Half-time 0-0 and my pie also merits a mention, very tasty!
The second half saw some spells of decent football. Town got the ball down and passed it about a bit, while Seaham huffed and puffed a lot without causing too much panic in the Northallerton defence. A well-taken goal by my Man Of The Match, Steve Roberts and a slightly lucky chip by Scott McNichol, which crept in just under the bar, earned Northallerton the points.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Consett 5-2 Ryton

Northern League Division 1
Belle Vue, Ashdale Road, Consett.

Consett were on the rebound from two consecutive losses to teams lower down the league, while Ryton were expected to be on a high following their 10-1 thrashing of Guisborough Town in the FA Vase, so this game looked promising.
Consett Manager Kenny Lindoe favours a 3-5-2 formation and they were straight into the attack and had much the better of the first 10 minutes, during which a Jonjo Dickman shot went just wide, while Ryton's only attack of note resulted in a free kick just outside the box which Marc Walton sent just over the crossbar. In the 15th. minute, prolific striker Mattie Moffat beat Graham Liddle to a through ball, turned and shot to put the home side ahead. 1-0
Just a minute later, Carl Piecha, unmarked at the far post, rose to meet a right wing corner kick from Gary Ormston, giving Ben Starford no chance. 2-0
Ryton's Starford was was the busier of the two goalkeepers and a shot from defender Mark Gaffney brought out a great save from him in the 20th. minute. Two minutes later, Moffat did well to hold the ball up before laying it off for Andy Cuthbertson, who blasted it into the goal with his left foot. 3-0
Ryton came more into the game after this, but made no inroads until Steve Jones was upended in the penalty area in time added on at the end of the first half. Marc Walton doesn't normally miss from the spot and this opportunity was no different. Half time 3-1
Ryton began the second half as they had finished the first and 5 minutes in, Steve Shaw sent a lovely ball forward and Jones running from deep, controlled well before facing James Platten in a 1-on-1 and side-footed into the net. 3-2 and game on!
This goal re-awakened Consett, who began to take control again. In the 58th. minute, following another strong attack, the ball fell to Piecha, just inside the box, who had time to pick his spot before hitting a hard left foot shot past Starford. 4-2
Two minutes later, Liddle was adjudged to have handled a Steve Johnson shot and Piecha claimed the right to go for his hat-trick. His shot was not the best however and Starford was able to block it and Jones cleared for a corner kick. A rare Ryton attack in the 63rd. minute resulted in Liddle meeting an Andrew Dobby free kick with his head, but only managing to send the ball against the crossbar. On 80, Moffat, a constant threat to Ryton, was fouled by Ryan Bell, about 25 yards out. Dickman curled his free-kick into the area and Starford, normally very safe in that situation seemed to fumble it and it went into the net over his body. 5-2
Starford redeemed himself somewhat 2 minutes later, making a fine save from Johnson. There followed even more attacks by Consett and in the last 5 minutes, 3 or 4 shots were either saved or blocked on the line. This was a great game for a neutral like me!

Consett: James Platten, Karl Baston, Mark Gaffney, Jonjo Dickman, Carl Piecha, David Pounder (John Clark), Chris Scott (Carl Heiniger), Andrew Cuthbertson (Craig Robson), Mattie Moffat, Steven Johnson, Gary Ormston.
Unused substitutes Paul Curry, Adam Emson.
Ryton: Ben Starford, Ryan Bell, Carl Paterson, Steven Jones, John Parker, Graham Liddle, Dale Burrell, Steven Shaw, Marc Walton, Glenn Reay (Liam McBryde), Andrew Dobby.
Unused substitutes Gareth McKenna, Ross Preston, Craig Marron.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Sunderland Ryhope C.A. 1-2 Marske United

Meadow Park, Ryhope, Sunderland.
FA Vase 1st. Round Proper.

Being the new owner of a concessionary bus pass, I have chosen a fixture which is in easy reach of my home, using public transport. Meadow Park entails a 5 minutes' walk, a 20 minutes' bus ride, followed by another 5 minutes' walk. I was very tempted to take in either Esh Winning v Scarborough Athletic or Guisborough Town v Ryton in the same competition, but, I have vowed to reduce my expenditure and use my pass, so the choice was narrowed down to this fixture or Sunderland Nissan v Morpeth Town, also in the Vase. As I didn't want to be the "only" person in the ground (Nissan and Morpeth have very few supporters!) Meadow Park took the vote.

The Marske United supporters were determined to make a day of it! They were transported to Ryhope on a bus subsidised by CarCraft of Marske and had an enjoyable pre-match meal and drinks at The Village Tavern before coming on to Meadow Park. By then they were in fine voice, occupying one half of the Ray Baines Stand.

Marske United supporters in full voice
(Photograph courtesy of Moss Holtby, Marske United's awarding-winning programme editor)

Marske began the game kicking down bank with the wind and heavy rain at their backs. They took the game straight to RCA and made it obvious that nothing less than a victory would be good enough. After 28 minutes their many attacks at last paid off when a free kick was awarded on the left corner of the penalty area and Andy Swalwell sent his left foot shot past Craig Shields. Marske striker Craig Skelton later claimed that he got a touch on the ball before it went into the net, but I was at the other end of the pitch and can't comment - cue the Dubious Goals Panel! 0-1
Four minutes later, former RCA left winger Jonathan Newton carried the ball in from the left, along the byeline, beating a couple of RCA defenders before sending the ball across the front of goal, where, as yet untouched, it found Derek Bradley who only needed to side foot it into the goal. 0-2
At half-time, RCA manager Neil Hixon sent on midfielder Gary Shields to replace right-back Patrick Little and Shields soon began to form an understanding with one of my long-time favourite players - Steven (Buddy) Halliday, formerly of Hartlepool United, Carlisle United, Durham City, Sunderland Nissan and Seaham Red Star - in a 3-5-2 formation. Marske's well organised defence easily dealt with anything which was thrown at them, though. However, with about six minutes left, Buddy sent a ball forward down the right from the halfway line which Gary Shields did well to prevent going for a goal kick; he beat one player before sending in a very good cross which Andy Jennings won at the near post to head in. 1-2
A couple more attacks from RCA were beaten out and Marske were worthy winners.

Sunderland Ryhope CA: Craig Shields, Patrick Little (Gary Shields), Glen Moan, Richard Flynn, Neil Moan, Mark McLeod (Dean Goodwin), Lee Owens, Steven Halliday, Andrew Jennings, David Tait, David Lee. Unused substitutes: Paul Sammons, Andrew Middleton, Jon Minniss.

Marske United: Brendan Ledgeway, Andrew Raw, Stephen Gamble, Andrew Swalwell, Michael Waller, Mark Taylor, Derek Bradley, Steve Cochrane, Glen Wesson, Craig Skelton, Jonathan Newton (Simon Kasonali). Unused substitutes: Benn Thompson, Anthony Roberts, Jonathan Peirson, Shane Erkine.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Washington 5-1 Darlington Railway Athletic

Northern League Division 2
I paid my second visit in a week to Albany Park to watch a revitalised Washington side just about demoralise the RA team which is very much in a state of flux following managerial and playing staff changes. Washington fielded new signings striker Garry McCartney from Birtley Town, defender Liam Clough and midfielder Andy Howarth, both from Shildon. After a tentative start, McCartney began to link up well with Paul Terrell and began to cause the RA defence a lot of problems with their running on and off the ball. A sweet pass from Howarth found James Riordan on the edge of the penalty area and he took a touch before sending a left foot shot past RA keeper Paul Clements, who was already looking nervous. 13 minutes 1-0.
This setback seemed to awaken RA and they began a series of attacks which the Washington defence was able to deal with but on 17 minutes a lovely cross from the left was met by the head of recently returned Paul Freary. 1-1
On 35 minutes Terrell received the ball on the corner of the penalty area and his right foot shot was only helped into the net by a defender but I think the ball was already over the line. 2-1
Just a minute later, McCartney, following up, was in the right spot when a Terrell shot was only parried by Clements and just about finished the game as a contest. 3-1 Half time.
Both sides made substitutions at half time and the RA began to look interesting for a little while, but, on 52 minutes, Washington substitute John Lydon, going down the right, put a lovely ball into the mixer, leaving Terrell and Clements with a one-on-one situation, which Terrell won, just managing to flick the ball over Clements into goal. 4-1
11 minutes later it was all over when Lydon, in a virtual repeat of the above play made a similar cross, which Terrell jumped over, leaving McCartney to blast a fine shot into the net. 5-1
On this showing, returning RA manager (The One) Dave Woodcock has a lot to do to bring his team into shape. From the other view-point, Washington manager Keith Sheardown must be well pleased with his recent acquisitions.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Birtley Town 2-3 Scarborough Athletic

FA Vase 2nd. Round Qualifying
The following announcement was made on the Northern League Official web site earlier in the week:
"Because of problems of standing water, now contaminated, on and around the pitch, Birtley's FA Vase tie on Saturday September 20 will now take place at Washington."
So it's off to Albany Park for my first visit of the season, a little earlier than I had expected!
This is to be Birtley's first venture into the FA Vase, against a side which was formed on June 25 of 2007 following the liquidation of Scarborough FC. Athletic are doing fairly well, being in top spot of the Northern Counties East League Div 1, with 17 points from 8 matches.

I was amazed to learn that Scarborough brought about 200 supporters along! They draped their flags behind one of the goals and made a fair bit of noise for their team.
Birtley worked hard as usual, while Scarborough were the better footballing side and probably deserved the result. However, both sides were guilty of some poor finishing and the scoreline could have been so different. Birtley were pegged down in their own half for long periods and most of their chances came on the break after some (at times) desperate defending. Scarborough were much more thoughtful with their attacks and displayed a lot of skill. Tony Thirkell was in the right place to score both Birtley's goals; Scarborough's first two came from David Thompson and Rob Ellis, while Scott Phillips got the the third after a goalmouth scramble.

Attendance 240

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Norton & Stockton Ancients 4-1 Whickham

Northern League Division 2
My first choice for today had been to take another look at Whitehaven Amateurs at Sunderland Ryhope CA. Meadow Park was declared unplayable early in the day, obviously to save the visitors a needless journey, so I tootled off down the A19 to Norton on Tees. Norton now boasts a new 160 seater stand - very impressive, too. A pint of John Smith's Smooth went down well in the Sports Centre bar before kick-off.

The game kicked off in perfect conditions on a very good playing surface and a tough midfield battle commenced. It took until the 10th minute for the first shot of the game, when Michael Dunwell floated a shot over the crossbar after a flick-on from Gary Mitchell. Norton began to take a stranglehold on the match and looked very organised across the park. David Hillerby was next to go close when a goalmouth scramble allowed the ball to run clear. The youngster could only smash his shot just wide of the mark. On 22 minutes, a hopeful pass forward was chased down by M. Dunwell causing a mix up at the back. The ball ran free for MITCHELL to take one touch before stroking the ball into an empty net. Whickham fought well, but were unable to break down a well ordered Norton rearguard. On 38 minutes, Nathan Mulligan ran into space on the left. He received a good pass from Marcus Laing but his touch took him a little wide and he could only manage to screw his shot the wrong side of the upright. It was 2-0 on 40 minutes, when MITCHELL doubled his tally. Veteran midfielder cum defender Richard Gaston, jinking and turning then playing an inch-perfect pass to put the striker clear on goal. Mitchell made no mistake with a great finish on the half-volley.Whickham created their first real chance in the last minute of the half when some hard graft got them behind the Ancients defence. A dive from Ian Robson tried to win a penalty but the referee gave a free-kick just outside the box for an earlier foul by Chris Dunwell. The kick was taken well and was heading for the top right-hand corner, but James Briggs pulled off a good save, tipping it over the bar. The resulting corner was cleared and the home side had a great chance to counter attack. N. Mulligan tried to put M. Dunwell through on goal but the linesman pulled it back for offside.

Half time: 2-0

Whickham started the second half a lot more brightly and looked to stretch Norton. Good work at the back though, from C. Dunwell and James Middleton, kept them at bay.The first chance of the second period fell to Alan Cossavella on 55 minutes. A good corner floated in by Hillerby was met at the back post by the midfielder, but he could only head just wide. Two minutes later, Hillerby went close himself as he wriggled clear of the defence only to shoot just wide. Whickham then upped their game and mounted a good spell of pressure. On 70 minutes, a fierce shot through a crowded penalty area was well held by Briggs and few minutes later, a curling effort was parried by the Norton goalkeeper. On 76 minutes Harrison Davies was introduced to the action replacing Nathan Mulligan. The change was to have an immediate effect when from the next attack MITCHELL completed an excellent hat-trick. A chipped ball over the central defenders bounced up, and the quick-thinking hit man stuck out a leg, beating the goalkeeper to the ball. Mitchell jumped to his feet and tucked the ball into the empty net. 5 minutes later it was four when substitute RICHARD WALKER ran onto a Mitchell pass, and slipped the ball under the advancing Stephen Robinson. In the last minute of injury time, Whickham got the consolation maybe their hardwork deserved when DAVID FAIRLESS created some space on the left to shoot. Briggs got a hand to it but the ball trickled over the line.

Norton: James Briggs, Richard Gaston (David Alderson), Richard Dacombe, Chris Dunwell, James Middleton, Marcus Laing, David Hillerby, Alan Cossavella, Michael Dunwell (Richard Walker), Gary Mitchell, Nathan Mulligan (Harrison Davies). Unused subs Dale Mulligan, Daniel Fowler.
Whickham: Stephen Robinson, Craig Cowell (Josh Watson), Paul McQuillan (Graeme Jackson), Gary Andison, Adam McLane, Paul Cavanagh, Chris Douglas, Anthony Dowson, David Fairless, Ian Robson (Mark Heron), Andrew Wilson. Unused subs Peter Adnitt, Daniel Henderson.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Wednesday 10/09/08 Crook Town 3-2 Billingham Synthonia

FA Vase 1st. Round Qualifying

This excellent, almost impartial report comes courtesy of Paolo at http://www.synners.co.uk/

Synners started the game well and in the 6th minute Michael Jameson made a strong run down the left. His cross was headed behind by Crook's Keith Foster. The resulting corner saw Steven Baynes pull the ball back to Jameson, his looping ball into the box found DAVID ABEL who headed in from close range in the 7th minute.
Crook then had a couple of chances. Firstly in the 8th minute a throw-in on the right came to Michael Cooke, but he shot wide. Then 2 minutes later a free-kick from the left picked out Cooke with a free header which he sent over the cross-bar.
A free-kick in a good position in the 16th minute was wasted as Jameson sent his dead ball kick well over. Then in the 16th minute Neil Campbell sent in a good cross from the left to Tyson Masters. The striker went for a first time volley, but saw his effort go wide.
Billingham continued to have the better possession and in the 27th minute Michael Cater split the Crook defence with a diagonal pass through to Masters who had got beyond the back line. This time however, home 'keeper Liam Connell was out of his goal to gather the ball.
Another good through ball in the 32nd minute, this time from Campbell, saw Colin Iley run on goal. Again Connell was alert to snuff out any danger as he smothered the ball under pressure from the Billingham man. Two minutes later Iley made a strong run down the right, with Foster making a timely challenge to stop the cross.
The hosts came back at Synners with a quick counter attack. A strong run from Daniel Olusoga on the left saw him cut inside, only to shoot straight at Synners 'keeper Peter Keen.
Crook had a great chance to level in the 40th minute. Some good interchanging play on the left between Darren Kokes and Matthew Coad saw the ball come inside to Shaun McAvoy. His pass fed in Dale Sheridan who shot and forced a good save out of Keen.

Half-time: Crook 0, Synners 1

The home side came out for the 2nd period and immediately put Synners on the back foot with a good spell of possession and passing football. However, they were limited to two long range efforts from Kokes and Foster that never troubled Keen.
Synthonia struggled to get a foot-hold on the game and after 55 minutes a cross from the right found a Crook man, the shot was heading into the net before Brian Close made a block on the goal line and cleared.
An equaliser looked inevitable, and came in the 59th minute. McAvoy won the ball and spread the play out wide to Olusoga on the right. His cross to the back post saw MATTHEW COAD arrive in good time to head beyond Keen and level the tie.
Billingham came back into the game and in the 69th minute a good delivery by Adam Clough from a free-kick to the left, picked out substitute James Magowan who headed towards goal. Crook stopper Connell was equal to the effort, making a good save.
Crook took the lead in the 72nd minute. Jameson conceded a free-kick near the right touch line and the resulting ball into the penalty area saw DANIEL OLUSOGA score with a glancing header that nested into the corner of the net.
Synners levelled in the 84th minute when Abel sent a long ball over the top of the Crook rearguard. NEIL CAMPBELL latched onto the pass and slotted the ball under Connell towards goal. Despite an attempt from from Dale Sheridan to clear off the line, the Crook defender could only help the ball into the net.
With extra time looming, Crook made a final attempt to win the tie deep in stoppage time in the 92nd minute. With a suspicion of offside, Olusoga sent SHAUN MCAVOY through on goal, and he made no mistake as his shot bulged the net to give the home side the win.
Synthonia now return to league action on Saturday at the PTS Stadium with a home game against Seaham Red Star.

CROOK TOWN: Connell, McTaggart, Green, Sheridan, Nesbit, Foster(c), Cooke, McAvoy, Olusoga, Kokes, Coad. Subs nor used; Quinn, Bone, Tate, Emmerson, McKie.
BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA: Keen, Close, Baynes, Cater, Abel(c), Barnes, Masters (Magowan), Clough, Campbell, Iley, M Jameson. Subs not used; Hobday.
Referee: Mr S Stocksbridge
Assistants: M Edwards, M Eddy
Att: 108

Friday, 5 September 2008

Saturday 06/09/08 Crook Town v Billingham Synthonia

FA Vase 1st. Round Qualifying

I risk the wrath of the Synthonia supporters by going to this one! Synners' record with me in attendance has not been good of late - played 5, won 1, lost 4. Nevertheless, undaunted, up the A690 I will go, to the Mill Field, Crook.
Besides, I owe a couple of the Crook supporters a drink and they won't let me forget it!

In common with most matches in the region, this was postponed. I did have a slim chance of getting to Guisborough Town for the FA Vase tie against Pontefract Collieries but it left a lot to chance, so I opted for going shopping with my better half! Might have been better off risking the drive down the A19 - Guisborough won 5-0! The Missus looked a lot, hummed and ha'd a lot and decided to have another look tomorrow! Crook Town and Billingham Synthonia will hopefully take the field on Wednesday 10th. September and I will try to make it, but, there are possible obstacles.

Wednesday 03/09/08 Brandon United 0-1 Whitehaven Amateurs

Northern League Division 2

Two games in two days! Someone up there is smiling on me!

Brandon made the much better start and in the 4th minute Mark O'Dea had a shot on goal which Whitehaven keeper Jack Fryer pushed over the bar. This led to three corners in quick succession as Brandon applied the pressure. After some excellent play in midfield, Afelobi Shekoni had a good opportunity with his head which went over the bar and in the 14th minute a good run from Paul Dixon resulted in a strike from distance which was wide of the target. The game at this point was being played at a very high tempo with Brandon dominating possession and it was not until the 16 minute that Whitehaven had an effort on goal-but did not trouble new signing Alex Seward in the Brandon goal. In the 21st minute Whitehaven created their second attempt at goal and appeared to be coming into the game and having some good possession. The 35th minute saw an ankle injury to Shekoni which resulted in his withdrawal and the introduction of Dan Johnson, but just 3 minutes later Whitehaven should have made more of a good opportunity when, from a difficult angle, unmarked Malcolm Holliday blasted a shot over the bar from around 8 yards out.

Half time 0-0
The second half carried on in the same tempo as the first, but with little incident involving either keeper until the 71st minute when a cross was driven low into the Whitehaven area and Kevin Law was lucky not to direct the ball into his own goal. The 75th minute saw O'Dea latch onto the free ball following a defensive mix-up between Fryer and Carl McGrady but his shot from 6 yards was high over the bar. Whitehaven immediately went up to the other end where a mistake from the Brandon defence allowed David Dustin an effort which hit the top of the bar. There followed a long period of Whitehaven dominance, which was helped by Brandon players giving the ball away cheaply several times. A long ball upfield led to Seward making a good block when coming out of goal to deny Lee Dixon, but the game was won in the 86th minute when a speculative cross into the Brandon area was met at the far post by substitute Stuart Shaw who sent a good header back across goal and into the net. Brandon really applied the pressure in the last few minutes and a number of half chances were created but came to nothing.
Full time 0-1

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Tuesday 02/09/08 Ryton 2-1 Billingham Synthonia

Northern League Division 1

Having the opportunity to take in a rare midweek game, I decided on the re-match in the league of last Saturday's FA Cup tie. It was what I would call an edgy game played in poor weather conditions as it was raining throughout. Ryton fielded the same team as Saturday whereas Synners had several changes. The first half saw mainly midfield action and very few clear-cut chances at either goal. Synners' new signing David Barnes tried his luck with a bicycle kick following a free kick from the right and was unlucky that his shot hit a post and was scrambled away. A strong claim for a goal by Synners' Michael Cater was ruled out for offside.
Half-time 0-0
Both sides made more of an effort in the second half and Michael Jameson gave Synners the lead in the 58th. minute with a good strike which I missed, due to delving in my pocket for change for a collection for a local charity! On 69 minutes, Ryton were awarded a free kick just inside the Billingham half and Craig Marron sent in a good ball from about 40 yards which totally deceived goalkeeper Jonathan Hobday and curled into the net off the underside of the crossbar. (I spoke to Maz after the game and he insists he went for it!). Six minutes later, Barnes made contact with Tony Healer in the penalty area and Marc Walton gave Hobday no chance with the spot kick.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

30/08/08 Billingham Synthonia 0-2 Ryton

FA Cup Preliminary Round

The first opportunity of the game fell to Ryton in the 1st minute of play. My good mate, Craig Marron fed the ball to Glenn Reay who was clear on goal. His shot however, went wide of the target without testing Synners keeper Peter Keen. Billingham almost opened the scoring after 22 minutes. A Simon Shaw corner from the left was cleared only as far as Michael Jameson, he took a touch before unleashing a shot that had Ryton keeper Ben Starford beaten, but watched agonisingly as it struck the cross-bar. The visitors opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Carl Paterson ran at the heart of the Synthonia defence who backed off, then after a quick 1-2 with Tony Healer, the Ryton man coolly finished with a low left-foot shot past Keen.

Half-time: Synners 0, Ryton 1 and Ryton Manager Barry Fleming, (pictured below) looks as though he has been on the receiving end!
It was Ryton who had the next goal opportunity. A Reay shot in the 53rd minute was blocked, but the ball fell to Healer, his deflected shot had Keen beaten, but struck the upright. Synners then pressed hard, keeping the ball in the final third for a good 5 minute spell, with three corners and numerous long throw-ins from Joel Guy into the box.After withstanding the pressure, the visitors then put Billingham on the back foot. A good attacking move in the 70th minute ended with Steven Shaw shooting wide. Then a speculative Marron free-kick from 30 yards went just over the bar.
Synners had a great chance to equalise in the 76th minute. Michael Cater sent Tyson Masters through on goal with a defence-splitting pass. Masters produced a good shot but Starford matched it to make the save and hold on under pressure from Iley.
Ryton came back at Billingham, and in the 79th minute a long Marron pass was helped on by Reay to Marc Walton, whose shot brought a good save from Keen.
In the 80th minute a Keen clearance was charged down by Healer, the ball spun kindly for the Ryton man who produced a fine finish into the far corner of the net to extend the visitors' lead.
Synthonia tried to salvage something from the game, but couldn't break through a well organised Ryton defence. Jameson created a half chance in the 84th minute, but his shot was straight at Starford. Then in the closing minute a 25-yard Simon Shaw free-kick went well wide, summing up the hosts afternoon. I didn't win the raffle, which sums up mine! :-)

Attendance: 96

The photograph of Craig Marron (below) appears courtesy of Mark Fletcher, whose portfolio of the game can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_fletcher/sets/72157607039196509/

Sunday, 24 August 2008

23/08/08 Birtley Town 2-1 Crook Town

Northern League Division 2

I always enjoy the craic with the lads from Crook and I also feel comfortable at Birtley so this was an easy choice for me. Having made sure the game was going ahead following the heavy rain over the past week, I then spent a pleasant hour in the William IV Hotel in the company of the fathers of two of the Birtley players.
Birtley have registered a lot of players this season - 42 at the last count - so there were several new faces on view in the green and white hoops. Crook were suffering from players absences due to injury, holidays and family events and their supporters were just a little worried about the outcome as the defence had been the hardest hit.
This last fact became evident early on as Birtley opened the scoring in the 8th minute by virtue of one of my old favourites, former Esh Winning, Washington and Seaham Red Star front-runner Steve Burns, with a clever right-foot strike from wide left into the far corner. Just 6 minutes later, Birtley went further ahead when Andy Innes turned in a nice cross from the right by Phil Sowerby to round off a powerful attacking move.
2-0 at half time and Birtley were worthy of their lead for all their hard work.
Crook management duo Peter Dixon and me old mate, former Birtley Assistant Manager Paul Foster, made a substitution at the start of the 2nd half which seemed to have an effect. Crook became more direct in their attacks and managed to hit the woodwork on three occasions. Their was a strong shout for handball in the penalty area on about 65 minutes which I thought was a certain penalty but it wasn't given. With 10 minutes left, another handball claim was given and Darren Kokes hit his spot-kick hard and low into the left corner. There followed more frantic attacks by Crook but resolute defending by the Birtley defence marshalled by new signings Martin Nugent and Robbie Houghton ensured the points for Birtley.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

West Auckland Town 2-1 Hall Road Rangers

I chose this FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Tie as I had not been to Darlington Road for about 3 seasons and I thought it was time I put that right.

West Auckland is famous for being the first team ever to win the World Cup! Sir Thomas Lipton, a multi-millionaire and keen sportsman, put up a trophy for a tournament to be played in Italy in 1909. Apparently, none of the higher profile English clubs were interested so, West Auckland took up the challenge and ended up as winners! Two years later, they were invited to defend their title, which they did. The players, mostly coal-miners, had to finance their trip to Italy themselves and when they returned home, they had to sell the trophy to redeem a debt of £40. The full story of their World Cup exploits can be found at http://www.westaucklandweb.co.uk/

West Auckland has one of those grounds which are apparently unique to County Durham, having been affected by subsidence and the pitch resembles a handkerchief held at the four corners.

The match started off well, Rangers looked the more dangerous but when West attacked, the Rangers defence looked a little suspect and I thought that West would be able to exploit that weakness. Each side had a player sent off inside the first 20 minutes - my Facebook Friend, Dale Jardine retaliated after a nasty two-footed tackle on him and both players were red-carded.

0-0 at half time. Rangers took the lead against the run of play in the 52nd. minute, courtesy of Martin Thacker with a rocket shot into the top corner. West replied 2 minutes later through Ian Maddison. Steve Flockett put West into the lead with about 15 minutes left.

The mince 'n' onion pies were delicious - I had two (!?!), but my day was rounded off by winning the second prize of 4 cans of ale in the half time draw!

Photographs of my match day at West Auckland can be found at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/blackfelladder/WestAucklandTownVHallRoadRangers

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Whitehaven Amateurs 5-1 Washington

It's not much more than 100 miles from Washington to Whitehaven, but the journey took the coach about 3½ hours each way. We arrived at about 14:45 and the kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes to allow the visitors time to change and warm up. Nightmare!

Whitehaven's ground is part of a sports complex, nicely laid out but only accessible down a very narrow lane - the driver must have been a bag of nerves by the time we got there. There is a very good playing surface and probably the minimum requirement of seating and covered standing.

Although Whitehaven were not 4 goals better than Washington, they did take advantage of a disorganised Washington defence on more than one occasion.

Scorers: Whitehaven - Lee Dixon pen, 6 minutes, Carl McGrady, 21 minutes, o.g. 41 minutes (not sure who), Kevin Law, 47 minutes, helped into the net by Bradley Brooking, Craig Robson, who took advantage of a mix-up between the Washy keeper and one of his defenders to round off a very impressive personal performance with his goal into an empty net.

Washington - Derek Waters with a very clever left-footed free kick on 52 minutes.

League Chairman Mike Amos arrived at half time with League Chaplain Rev Leo Osborn after their sponsored walk. Fair play to the both of them the weather was not very nice, to say the least.
My photos from my day at Whitehaven are to be found at

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Counting Down

It is now less than a week away to the start of the Northern League season and I am unhappy at having been able to watch only one of all the friendlies which have been staged over the past few weeks. It's a sin how much family and work can get in the way of a man's hobby! All I can do is dream of getting to a match every day!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Matches Attended Season 2008-9

  1. 09/07/08 Birtley Town 1-6 Dunston Federation Friendly
  2. 09/08/08 Whitehaven Amateurs 5-1 Washington Northern League Div 2
  3. 16/08/08 West Auckland Town 2-1 Hall Road Rangers FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
  4. 23/08/08 Birtley Town 2-1 Crook Town Northern League Div 2
  5. 30/08/08 Billingham Synthonia 0-2 Ryton FA Cup Preliminary Round
  6. 02/09/08 Ryton 2-1 Billingham Synthonia Northern League Div 1
  7. 03/09/08 Brandon United 0-1 Whitehaven Amateurs Northern League Div 2
  8. 10/09/08 Crook Town 3-2 Billingham Synthonia FA Vase 1st. Round Qualifying
  9. 13/09/08 Norton & Stockton Ancients 4-1 Whickham Northern League Div 2
  10. 20/09/08 Birtley Town 1-2 Scarborough Athletic FA Vase 2nd Round Qualifying
  11. 27/09/08 Washington 5-1 Darlington Railway Athletic Northern League Div 2
  12. 04/10/08 Sunderland RCA 1-2 Marske United FA Vase 1st Round Proper
  13. 11/10/08 Consett 5-2 Ryton Northern League Div 1
  14. 18/10/08 Seaham Red Star 1-2 Northallerton Town Northern League Div 2
  15. 29/10/08 Sunderland Nissan 3-1 Whitley Bay Northern League Div 1
  16. 01/11/08 Ashington 3-1 Northallerton Town Northern League Div 1
  17. 08/11/08 Chester le Street Town 4-1 Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastic Northern League Div 1
  18. 15/11/08 Spennymoor Town 2-1 Stokesley S.C. FA Vase 2nd Round Proper
  19. 19/11/08 Shildon 4-1 Billingham Town Northern League Cup 2nd Round
  20. 22/11/08 Esh Winning 3-1 Whitehaven Amateurs Northern League Div 2
  21. 29/11/08 Horden C.W. 3-2 Guisborough Town Northern League Div 2
  22. 06/12/08 Billingham Synthonia 5-2 West Auckland Town Northern League Div 1
  23. 27/12/08 Consett 2-2 Dunston Federation Northern League Div 1
  24. 03/01/09 Bishop Auckland 1-4 Dunston Federation Northern League Div 1
  25. 13/01/09 Tow Law Town 2-3 Billingham Synthonia Durham County FA Challenge Cup 3rd. Round
  26. 17/01/09 Dunston Federation 5-6 Chalfont St. Peter (after extra time, 4-4 at 90 minutes) FA Vase 4th. Round Proper
  27. 24/01/09 Spennymoor Town 1-1 Coalville Town (after extra time, 0-0 at 90 minutes) FA Vase 4th. Round Replay. Spennymoor go through 5-4 on penalties.
  28. 31/01/09 Jarrow Roofing 1-0 Darlington Railway Athletic Northern League Div 2
  29. 04/02/09 Billingham Synthonia 3-0 Shildon Durham County FA Challenge Cup 4th round (semi-final)
  30. 04/04/09 Bedlington Terriers 1-3 Spennymoor Town Northern League Div 1
  31. 10/04/09 Esh Winning 0-0 Norton & Stockton Ancients Northern League Div 2
  32. 25/04/09 Spennymoor Town 2-3 Whitley Bay Northern League Div 1
  33. 10/05/09 Glossop North End v Whitley Bay FA Vase Final (at Wembley Stadium)
  34. 15/05/09 Penrith 0-2 Newcastle Benfield Northern League Cup Final
  35. 22/05/09 Newton Aycliffe 0-1 Teesside Athletic Sunderland Shipowners' Cup Final

Friday, 11 July 2008

The warm-up begins!

Wednesday 09/07/08
Birtley Town 1-6 Dunston Federation
Birtley started the better and took an early lead with a good individual goal but no one knows the scorer (N0. 16). Dunston got stronger as the half went on and scored through Richard Logan's 16 yard shot on the turn, Mark O'Bern from close range and evergreen Steve Preen converted a pinpoint Fergal Harkin cross.
After a period of home pressure Birtley committed suicide when keeper Andy Mallinson dallied too long on the ball and sub Thompson within a minute of coming on charged the attempted clearance into the net. With time running out Kane Young converted a fifth from 10 yards and an 88th minute Neil Pattinson free kick deceived everyone and went straight in.
Tossed it down throughout but really enjoyed the first game of the season, especially the craic!
Birtley now have the building of their club house in place and are waiting to have it fitted out.

Monday, 26 May 2008

New addition to the Northern League line-up!

It has just been announced that Whitehaven Amateurs FC will take their place in Division 2 next season, having been granted promotion from the Wearside League. This will be a new venue for me, although it will mean a long day as Whitehaven is about 2½ hours drive from my home.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Sampling the fare offered by the Sandwich Van at Moor Park, Chester le Street

I always have a snack before kick-off or at half-time, usually a pie of some description, however, the Bacon Butties at Chester le Street must not be missed! That's me on the left with a gob full of buttie; the lad on the right is an Ashington supporter. (Ever wondered why we wear those silly badge-encrusted woolly hats?)

Saturday, 26 April 2008

el Queso Grande's Northern League Experence

This site will record all the games I attend from the beginning of the 2008-9 season. I intend concentrating on those Northern League grounds which I did not visit during season 2007-8 and will get to them all. I will be selective, however, and choose those matches which are most attractive to me on a week-to-week basis. Last season, I achieved my target of visiting the Northern League grounds which I had never visited and my records can be found at http://www.freewebs.com/blackfelladder/First on my list, although in no particular order other than alphabetical will be the grounds of Billingham Town, Bishop Auckland, Brandon United, Jarrow Roofing Boldon CA, Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics, Penrith Town, Seaham Red Star, Shildon, Thornaby, Tow Law Town, West Auckland Town, Whitehaven Amateurs and Whitley Bay.

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