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 48 years. We have 1 son, 3 daughters, 14 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and absolutely no money!

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.

Teams:
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.

Teams:
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.