Ray Simpson’s Northern League Round Up

Shildon manager Gary Forrest says that the Railwaymen’s visit to Morpeth Town on Wednesday could have a big bearing on the destiny of the Ebac Northern League First Division title after they beat Whitley Bay 1-0 at Dean Street on Saturday
Patched-up Shildon have five games remaining and need to win them all to lift their first title for seventy years, otherwise Marske United will almost certainly become champions.

“Marske’s win at Guisborough Town last week was a very big win,” said Forrest.

“I expect them to win their last two matches against Celtic Nation and Bishop Auckland, which means that we don’t have any margin for error. Marske can get 90 points, if we can match that figure, then we can pip then on goal difference.

“We need to avoid defeat this Wednesday, and we can take it from there. Our injuries are piling up now, it looks as if Darren Craddock is out for a while.”

Injuries are going to have an impact. Craddock was stretchered off against Whitley Bay, and Forrest said; “It’s very difficult to put eleven fit players on the field, but the players dug in really well and won the game.”

There weren’t many chances on a bobbly pitch, although Lee Scroggins and Paul Connor went close. The winner came from a deflected effort by Sam Hodgson midway through the second half.

Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson said; “We had a lot of youngsters in the team. It was a game of two halves with the wind. We lost to a deflected goal and so disappointed not to get a draw. We’ve played the top six teams in the last five weeks and not been disgraced by any means.”

League leaders Guisborough Town came from behind to win 3-1 against Dunston UTS at the King George, but they only have one game remaining.

Luke Bythway hit the Dunston post in the first half, but it was the visitors who took the lead when Gary Ormston scored from a corner.

But Guisborough equalised when Liam McPhillips scored from a Danny McWilliams through ball – Guisborough’s 800th goal under manager Chris Hardy.

Bythway again hit the woodwork before Danny Earl scored at the second attempt after he broke through, and Curtis Round scored the third in stoppage time.

Guisborough manager Chris Hardy said; “We were fairly consistent all the way through the game. We controlled the ball and created all the chances.”

Dunston UTS manager Billy Irwin said; “We were beaten by the better side, we looked jaded.”

Out of the main title contenders, Marske probably had the most convincing performance when they won 4-1 at Consett, with Josh MacDonald scoring a hat-trick.

He opened the scoring after 8 minutes when broke clear and beat Consett keeper Joe Longstaff, but Consett nearly equalised when Josh Gray they hit the bar. Glen Butterworth scored the second when he broke away on the left, and after his first shot was blocked, he recovered quickly to curl the ball home.

MacDonald scored the third with a 25-yarder, and after Michael Mackay pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, MacDonald completed his hat-trick with a good free kick.

Consett manager Colin Myers said; “It was another disappointing performance. If we don’t start well, we will struggle. We need to show more fight when the chips are down.”

Marske manager Carl Jarrett said; “The lads are playing with a lot of belief. That was a great win for us. We’ve played three very hard games and got nine points, so I’m proud of the team.”

West Auckland Town, who had an eight point lead back in November, can’t win the league now because they lost 2-1 at Penrith.

West had a first half to forget, because Alex Francis missed a penalty, and he also hit the post.

Penrith took the lead at the start of the second half when Martyn Coleman broke through and slotted past Dan Lowson, then Coleman had a hand in the second when his shot was blocked and Richard Faustino scored from the loose ball.

Darryl Hall pulled a goal back for West, his first goal in three seasons, but it wasn’t enough.

West Auckland manager Steve Skinner said; “All I’ll say is, the best team won.”

FA Vase finalists North Shields could only manage a goalless draw against Durham City, which leaves them ten points off the lead.

The wind completely spoilt the game, and there were very few chances, the best of them a header by James Luccock that went just over the bar.

North Shields assistant-manager Andy Bowman said; “It was a hard fought game spoilt by the wind. One real chance to speak of but a rather dull game. We need snookers for the league now, but we’ll fight all the way.”

Durham manager Ian Chandler said; “It was a very good performance in difficult weather conditions. There weren’t many chances for either team, a draw was a fair result.”

Billingham Synthonia are relegated to the second division because of their 4-0 defeat at Morpeth, while previous third bottom West Allotment thumped Bedlington 6-2.

Synners began the game at Morpeth with plenty of confidence, but they went behind when Dan Taggart’s shot was blocked and Michael Chilton scored from the loose ball.

Synners hit the bar, but then Morpeth went 2-0 up with a 25 yarder by Ben Sayer. It was 3-0 before half time when Taggart set up Sayer to score.

Michael Sweet hit the post for Synners, and Morpeth went up the other end and Sayer completed his hat trick.

Morpeth manager Nick Gray said; “We weren’t at our best today but we can’t complain. I was disappointed for Synthonia being relegated, they gave everything.”

West Allotment Celtic got off to a flier, and never looked back in their win over Bedlington Terriers.

Michael Bell scored early in the game, then Sean Reid made it 2-0 with a 25 yarder.

Liam Hudson then went on to score a hat trick, and sub Mark Waite the sixth. Jordan Nellis and Lee Scott scored Bedlington’s consolations.

West Allotment manager Paul Stoneman said; “What a reaction from Wednesday. That’s what we’re capable of, the lads were superb. There aren’t many teams who would have lived with us in the first half.”

Bedlington manager Gary Innes said; “Disappointed.”

Newton Aycliffe are safe after winning 2-1 at Ashington.

Aycliffe took the lead with a 20-yard free-kick by Jordan Laidler that he put into the top corner, but Ashington levelled with an effort by Glen Taylor.

But Aycliffe got the winner with a Stuart Banks penalty after Laidler was brought down by the Ashington keeper.

Ashington have yet to decide whether to appeal against the league’s decision to remove them from the League Cup for fielding an ineligible player.

Ashington assistant-manager Ian Skinner said; “It was a scrappy game in tough conditions. We didn’t take play to the levels we have done recently, although on chances we had enough to win the game.”

Newton Aycliffe manager Peter Dixon said; “I’m delighted that we stayed up without relying on someone else.”

Newcastle Benfield striker Paul Brayson now needs only one more goal to reach 50 for the season after he scored both goals in their 2-1 home win over Bishop Auckland.

Brayson scored his first goal when he collected a long clearance by keeper Andy Grainger and beat Scott Pocklington in the Bishops goal, then he scored his second from a few yards even though Pocklington appeared to be fouled.

Andy Johnson pulled a goal back for Bishops with a shot on the turn.

Bishop Auckland joint-manager David Bayles said; “It was a typical end of season game. We gifted them a couple of goals and gave ourselves too much to do.”

Sunderland RCA, who were second bottom not so long ago, completed their escape from relegation by winning 4-0 at relegated Crook Town.

They took the lead after just 2 minutes through Joe Hughes, who also scored a second before half-time. Clayton Davis scored twice in the second half.

Sunderland RCA manager Marty Swales said; “It was a great win, we’re safe now.”

West Allotment’s win also relegated second bottom Celtic Nation, who lost 3-1 at home to Jarrow Roofing.

The visitors took the lead with a Bruno Pilatos free-kick, then Paul Chow scored from a Lewis Teasdale free kick. James Salkeld pulled a goal back with a 25-yarder, but then Chow nodded down a free-kick for Shaun Vipond to score.

West Allotment manager Paul Stoneman said; “What a reaction from Wednesday. That’s what we’re capable of, the lads were superb. There aren’t many teams who would have lived with us in the first half.”

The surprise result in the Second Division was champions Seaham Red Star’s 4-3 away defeat at third-bottom Esh Winning.

Esh scored were 3-0 up in the first half-hour with goals by Anthony Phillipson, Lee Blades and Paul Basey, and after Liam McBryde pulled a goal back, Basey made it 4-1 before half-time.

David Palmer and Warren Byrne pulled two more back by the 75th minute, but Esh held on for their best win of the season by some distance.

Esh Winning manager Chris Blakelock said; “It was one of our best performances. We played with three quick lads up front, Seaham weren’t expecting it and we finished the first half 4-1 up. They came back in the second half, but we were able to see it out. I’m very pleased for our lads.”

Team Northumbria completed their fixtures by winning 2-1 at Ryton & Crawcrook Albion to put them second.

David Dormand scored both goals for Team North, while Josh Holland was on target for Ryton right at the end.

Washington are level with Team North but have a worse goal difference after they beat fifth-placed Hebburn 1-0 thanks to a second half goal by James Fairley.

Hebburn had defender Ross Toward dismissed after just 10 minutes.

Washington manager Stephen Hutchinson said; “We were against the strong wind in the first half and went in 0-0. In the second half we penned Hebburn in their half and scored a great goal. We controlled the game from start to finish. Great attitudes from the lads got us three points.”

Hebburn manager Scott Oliver said; “I’m really proud of my players. A last man sending off after 10 minutes changed the whole game. We had the better chances, and a great goal beat us.”

Brandon United are assured of bottom spot after they lost 7-2 at home to Sunderland Ryhope CW, for whom Conor Winter scored four.

Richard Hodgson scored two penalties, with Chris Trewick getting another. Shane Todd and Jonathan Yip scored for Brandon, who must now hope for help from the rulebook to stay in the Northern League.

Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson said; “Considering the number of players we had missing, it was a job well done from a potential banana skin. Conor Winter was outstanding and deserved his four goals. Richard Hodgson scored a couple of casual penalties, and I was pleased for Jack Pounder to get on the scoresheet because that’s the only thing he’s been missing as of late.”

Tow Law Town can’t finish any better than third bottom after they lost 3-1 at home to Alnwick Town, even though they took the lead through Scott Brassell. Kenny Collins, Stephen Hogg and Darren Riddell scored for Alnwick.

Thornaby need another point to be sure of sixth place after they won 2-0 at Chester-le-Street, with goals by Curtis Edwards and Michael Joseph.

Thornaby manager Paul Edwards said; “They were bad conditions and a hard pitch, but we deserved the win. I’m delighted.”

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “We never got started all afternoon but missed a lot of chances in the second half to try and make a game of it. If we had scored it would have masked what was a poor performance apart from the back three who stood out for us.”

Willington had a good 3-2 away win at Billingham Town.

Reece Marshall and Jason White put Willington 2-0 up, with Callam Brown and David Onions equalising before half time. Aiden Goodey scored the winner for Willington from the penalty spot in the second half.

Billingham Town manager Darren Trotter said; “I was disappointed with the performance despite getting back into the game. We never looked like getting anything. We need a big improvement before our cup final.”

Willington manager Rob Lee said; “It was a hard fought game in windy conditions, it was a good three points in the end.”

Darlington RA lost 4-0 at Heaton Stannington, for whom Richie Hoggins scored twice in the first half, with Lewis Burns and Gary Yates on target after half time.

Heaton have had three points deducted for using an ineligible player in their recent 1-1 draw at Willington.

Heaton Stannington assistant-manager Geoff Walker said; “It was another very good display, and we were comfortable throughout the whole game. We went in 2-0 up at half time against the wind after playing some great controlled football. We controlled the second half and added another two goals. The season is coming to an end too quickly.”

Northallerton Town came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Whickham.

The visitors led with goals by Chad Collins and Ross Peareth, but Thom Atkinson hit back with two late goals for Northallerton.

Northallerton manager Danny Mellanby said; “We got out of jail. We were second best all day and lucky to get a draw.”

South Shields beat Birtley Town, thanks to a goal by Stephen Ramsey.

Ray Simpson

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