Some First Division fixtures have been moved following yesterday’s FA Vase results.

Saturday 10th October 2020
Stockton Town v Consett (from 27/02)
Whitley Bay v Hebburn Town (from 31/10)

Tuesday 27th October 2020
Ashington v Hebburn Town (from 10/10)
Sunderland RCA v Guisborough Town (from 10/10)

Wednesday 28th October 2020
North Shields v Whickham (from 10/10)
Stockton Town v Seaham Red Star (from 10/10)

Wednesday 4th November 2020
Penrith v Northallerton Town (from 10/10)

Wednesday 11th November 2020
Thornaby v Consett (from 10/10)

And changes to the Second Division schedule:

Saturday 26th September 2020
Brandon United          v         Birtley Town                    (from  20/02)
Wednesday 30th September 2020
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion       v     Birtley Town          (from 23/01)
Saturday 10th October 2020
Bedlington Terriers         v       Sunderland West End   (from 07/11)
West Allotment Celtic          v     Washington               (from 26/12)
Monday 19th October 2020
Newcastle University         v         West Allotment        (from 21/09)
Wednesday 28th October 2020
Bedlington Terriers           v       Brandon United          (from 10/10)
Wednesday 4th November 2020
Birtley Town           v        Heaton Stannington             (from 10/10)
Redcar Athletic           v          Jarrow                           (from 10/10)
Wednesday 11th November 2020
Crook Town           v        Chester-le-Street                   (from 10/10)
West Allotment Celtic        v      Billingham Synthonia   (from 10/10)
Monday 16th November 2020
Newcastle University            v        Washington           (from 10/10)
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
Sunderland West End v Esh Winning (from 10/10)
Wednesday 9th December 2020
Sunderland West End V Redcar Athletic (not 09/01)
Saturday 23rd January 2021
Birtley Town          v         Ryton & Crawcrook Albion   (from 30/09)
Saturday 20th February 2021
Birtley Town     v         Brandon United                 (from  26/09)

The draws for both the first and second qualifying rounds of the Buildbase FA Vase were made at the same time.  Following yesterday’s fixtures, these are the ties involving Ebac Northern League teams in the second qualifying rounds to be held on Saturday, October 10:

Esh Winning v AFC Blackpool

Newcastle University v Thornaby

Holker Old Boys v Crook Town

Silsden v Guisborough Town

Redcar Athletic v Whickham

Heaton Stannington v Padiham

North Shields v Northallerton Town

Nelson v Ashington

Newton Aycliffe v Billingham Synthonia

Brandon United v Penrith

Jarrow v Birtley Town

Sunderland RCA v Shildon

Campion v Sunderland Ryhope CW

Garforth Town v Seaham Red Star

Winning club to receive £725, with the losing club receiving £225.

(Four clubs have exemptions to the second round: Consett, Hebburn Town, Stockton Town and West Auckland.  Newcastle Benfield has an exemption to the first round.)

Ryton and Crawcrook 2 Ashington 4 – Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round

For a very short time there was just the hint of upset in this game.

Despite some good performances, Ashington had lost four on the bounce.  Up against second division opposition in the Vase, the last thing they needed was to go behind, but concede a goal they did, and they were masters of their own misfortune.

Keeper Adam McHugh tried to dribble the ball round Ryton substitute striker Lee Richardson who managed to dispossess the No. 1, take it round him and a defender before bending the ball round a second defender and sending it into the net.

Fortunately for Colliers fans, the team was able to pick themselves up almost immediately – with Max Emerson equalising with a well-struck, low, hard shot from 20 yards out to restore their confidence.

Up until then Ryton had more than held their own, only two days since their last match.  They looked particularly dangerous down the right thanks to David Below and Harry Outterside who sent over several probing crosses.

Before the opening goal in the 36th minute, both sides could have taken the lead.  In the 8th minute Ashington’s Brandon Slater had a shot saved by keeper Josh Graham, with a follow-up shot by Dean Briggs blocked by Ryton captain Callum Turnbull.

Three minutes later McHugh pulled off the save of the match (and the best save I’ve seen so far this season), making a point blank save to deny an effort by Richardson.  The substitute couldn’t believe he hadn’t scored.  Briggs had another shot  cleared off the line by Gavin Dick in the 21st minute.  Dick also managed to get in the way of successive shots by Robert Taylor and Karl Ross only minutes after Ashington had equalised.

Ashington took more control of the game in the second half, peppering the Ryton box with shots and passes without being able to find a way through.  They finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute with a shot on the turn by Brandon Slater.  Team mate Ben Harmison should have added to the Colliers tally in the 75th minute but the No. 9 put his header wide after getting on the end of a Max Cowburn cross.  Ashington were the stronger team although the Ryton defence were proving a tough nut to crack.

The last seven minutes were the most dramatic of the match.  In the 83rd minute it looked as though there was no danger to the Ashington goal, but out of the blue Owen Brearton scored the goal of the game – hitting the ball on the turn and striking a looping shot that left McHugh unable to get back in time to stop it dropping into the net.

Any further Albion hopes of a comeback were soon dashed.

Two minutes after levelling the scores, Albion conceded a third – a Briggs shot slipped under the out-stretched hands of Graham and with only three minutes left Briggs hit a thundering shot that came back off the underside of the bar.  Harmison – only a few feet from the goal line – couldn’t miss and put the finishing touches to the tie.

Ashington progress to the next round where they meet Nelson in the second qualifying round on October 10.  The two teams also met in the Vase two seasons ago.

Mike Snowdon

(The situation regarding spectator numbers for matches in the local authority areas affected by the new measures has changed since we first published our statement- it is now 300 spectators not 150 for fixtures this weekend – please see third paragraph below.)

Following the decision to impose further restrictions in seven local authority areas in the region, the Ebac Northern League has released the following statement:

“Following the Government decision made in consultation with Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham, we can confirm that our league fixtures will continue to be held.

“And following further discussions between the Northumberland and Durham FAs and the local authorities in the region affected by the new restrictions, we have been informed that a decision has now been taken that fixtures over the weekend can have 300 spectators present.

“The situation for spectator numbers will be further reviewed on Monday.

“If spectators decide to attend a game, then we would urge them to follow Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.

“We would also urge everyone involved in the league to follow the safety measures at our clubs to ensure that we can continue to hold fixtures.”

The Government guidance for the region, including advice for spectators  at sporting events, is here:

It includes this:  “We advise that you should not attend amateur or professional sporting events as a spectator in the areas affected. If you do attend, you must remain socially distanced and groups of no more than 6.”

Our website has a section on Covid-19 here:

But it could have been more

Esh Winning 1 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 0 – Ebac Northern League Division Two

It’s not often that the main protagonists in a game are one side’s keeper and the opponent’s full back.

But if there was such a thing as a ‘Man of the First Half’ award, Ryton’s keeper David Hansen would have won it hands down.  Or, more accurately in this case, hands across (twice) and hands up.

Twice he denied Esh Winning’s No. 2 Nathan Burrell who stepped forward to take free kicks on the edge of the box.  The full back hit both well enough – bending the ball round the wall and on target – and Hansen twice dived left to stick his hands out across his goal to get the ball away.

In the 35th minute, Esh No. 6 Lee Calvin McMahon chipped in with his own contribution, intercepting a Ryton pass 30 yards from goal, running forward and then trying to chip Hansen from outside the box.  At first it looked as though the ball was going to sail over the bar, but it dipped at the last moment and Hansen had to peddle backwards to nudge the ball on to the bar and out for a corner.

Overall, this was one of the best passing displays I’ve seen by Esh Winning.  They looked comfortable on the ball and tried to work it through midfield.  Centre back Matthew Soulsby added to the mix with two excellent, pinpoint passes of 50+ yards.  Their main problem was getting their shots on target.

For their part, Ryton were more direct, trying to get it up to their front players quicker than the hosts.  It almost worked in the 14th minute when a ball over the top of the Esh back line was misjudged by Soulsby, allowing Ryton No. 9 Louis Anderson to run at goal only to have a shooting chance snuffed out by Soulsby who made up for his mistake with a timely, sliding tackle.

At the other end, Hansen got the slightest of touches to a Jay McLean shot to divert the ball out for a corner.  Almost immediately afterwards, Ryton winger Matthew Law broke quickly down the left, cut back and unleashed a shot that Esh keeper Thomas Orton could only push in front of him, but a defender cleared the loose ball just before Albion’s Daniel Blewitt could get to it, with the goal gaping.

In the second half Esh No. 11 Callum Baoakes took over free kick duties.  The first sneaked just round the outside of the left hand post, while the second was sent well wide.  Burrell had one further attempt to score from a free kick but he hit it straight at the wall.

Meanwhile, in the 66th minute it was advantage to Esh Winning when Ryton No. 5 Michael Stephenson was sent off for bringing McLean down just as the No. 9 was running clear on goal.  Despite that, Esh looked as though they weren’t going to make their extra man count.

The nearest they came was when Boakes sent the ball across the Ryton goalmouth.  Albion’s Eoghain Sherrard – only a couple of feet from the far post – just managed to kick it out for a corner with Matthew Allison right behind him, ready to pounce.

The winner came in the 88th minute.  A long ball found Soulsby on the far side of the box.  He knocked it back across the box and, in turn, Boakes knocked it into the six-yard box where Channon North was on hand to prod the ball into the net.  It wasn’t the prettiest goal of the season, but it earned Esh Winning a deserved victory.

Mike Snowdon

North Shields 4 Billingham Town 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One

North Shields’ performance was like a fine wine – it matured and got better with age.

As they game started to open up just before the half-hour mark, the chances started to come and once they got going, there was no stopping them.

Craig Spooner pulled a shot wide in the 28th minute, Chris McDonald put a dangerous cross into the six-yard box and Andrew Cartwright had a shot deflected for a corner.  Within seconds Cartwright had crafted the opening goal with another cross, this time deflected into his own goal by Billy Town fullback Matthew Osmond, with only a minute to go before half-time.

Shields doubled their lead in the 55th minute, with a Dan Wilson header coming back out from the underside of the bar.  Tom Bexton was quickest to react and scored with a follow-up header.

Two minutes later and the game was effectively over.  A free kick careered off Town defender Clayton McDonald and wrong footed his fellow defenders and keeper, allowing Wilson to nudge the ball into an empty net from a few feet out.

Shields took control of the match and then wrapped up their scoring with 10 minutes to go.  The ball was knocked over the heads of the defence, substitute Robbie Christie raced clear and passed it sideways, allowing Spooner to stroke it into the net.

Billingham Town’s performance was much more of a mixed bag.  In the first half they matched Shields in the passing and possession stakes, looking confident on the ball.  When they conceded their third, the scoreline looked a little harsh.

But conversely it was hard to remember too many times up until that goal when they really tested keeper Greg Purvis.  And they’ll be really disappointed how they didn’t offer much at all after Wilson’s goal.  It knocked the stuffing out of them.

Some of their drive seemed to disappear when Ash Lavan was substituted.

The game was long gone when they did manage to score – Danny Earl knocking the ball round the corner to Danny Boyle who ran past him and hit a first time shot past Purvis.

PS –Boyle might owe a few people a pint or two.  In the 20th minute the No. 4 unleashed an optimistic shot from 25 yards out that was off target, but he sent the ball straight through the open doorway and into the clubhouse, prompting one fan to surmise that he might well have sent a few pints flying:  “There are five people in there who want a beer off you.”

The drinks were on Shields, which, on the alcohol front, is where we started.

Mike Snowdon