Responding to the decision by the FA to end the current season with immediate effect, with all results expunged and no promotion or relegation, the chairman of the Ebac Northern League Glenn Youngman said:

“This will be a huge disappointment to clubs, players and fans across our league.

“Our preferred option was that we should try and finish the current season, but if that was not possible then determine final positions on a points per game basis.

“However, it must have been a very difficult decision for the FA to make and whatever the outcome was, they were never going to keep everyone happy.

“Clubs and players in particular will feel frustrated that months of hard work and commitment will count for nothing.  I’d like to thank everyone for all the work they have put in.

“We announced yesterday that we will be waiving membership fees for our clubs for next season and have cancelled the annual dinner.  Both these measures will help our clubs meet the bills they are facing in the coming weeks and months.

“We hope everyone connected with the Ebac Northern League stays safe and well.”

The Football Association has decided that current season for Steps 3-6 will be ended with immediate effect and that all results will be expunged.

The Ebac Northern League’s two divisions are at Step 5 and 6 respectively.

This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between Steps 3-6, or relegation from Step 2.  The measures also apply to Step 7 leagues.

The setting up of the FA’s new Step 4 league, due to come into effect next season, has been deferred until the start of the 2021/22 season.

The FA looked into extending the season and or use a mechanism to calculate final league tables and preserve promotion and relegation.

Two key decisions have been agreed to help Ebac Northern League clubs through the current situation.

League membership fees for the 2020/21 season are to be waived and the annual presentation dinner is to be cancelled.

League chairman Glenn Youngman said:

“We fully appreciate that clubs are facing a very difficult time in the coming weeks and months.

“We will do all we can to help and support them.

“By waiving fees and cancelling the annual dinner clubs will be able to put hundreds of pounds towards paying essential bills and other costs.

“We are sending regular updates from the FA to our clubs so they are aware of how the pandemic is affecting football nationally and how any developments may affect them.  We will also continue to liaise closely with the FA.”

The updates include guidance about the Government’s financial help for businesses.

After taking all advice into account and giving the matter careful consideration, the league management committee has decided to suspend all scheduled fixtures with effect from Saturday 14th March 2020 up until Friday 3rd April 2020.
Although the decision itself was a difficult one, the fact a growing number of clubs were reporting players, management and officials as self-isolating, meant the effect on the health and well-being of everyone concerned was the most important consideration.

The league will continue to monitor the situation and take on board both government and FA advice and will issue updates as and when its received while fixtures will resume as soon as its felt safe to do so.

Tonight’s game at Willington has also been postponed.


Seaham Red Star 1-1 Hebburn Town – Ebac Northern League Division One

Seaham and Hebburn played out an entertaining draw at the Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium in the Ebac Northern League.

The away side had the first chance of the game when Michael Richardson played through Cedwyn Scott, however he could only hit the side netting.

Hebburn went close again two minutes later, after Oliver Martin dispossessed Liam Gillesphey, but he dragged his effort wide.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring on the half-hour mark, as Chris Bannon tipped away Richardson’s long range effort.

Seaham took the lead five minutes later as Dan Wilson picked up the ball on the edge of the box before curling his effort beyond Hebburn keeper Mark Foden.

The hosts almost doubled their lead three minutes later, however Wilson could only place his effort wide of the post.

Hebburn drew level in the 54th minute, as Scott got onto the end of Richardson’s cross, before tapping home beyond Bannon.

The away side went close to taking the lead two minutes later, as Thomas Potter picked out Richardson at the back post, however he could only send his volley over the bar.

Hebburn came close to taking the lead 15 minutes from time, however Bannon was equal to Richardson’s well struck free kick.

Seaham almost snatched all three points in added time, as Sean McRoberts skipped past Darren Lough, however he could only rattle the bar with his effort.

Hebburn remain 3rd, two points behind Shildon, while Seaham move up one place to 14th.

Adam Gill


Jarrow 3 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 0 – Ebac Northern League Division Two

It’s funny how things sometimes turn out.

The first choice for last night was the cup tie at Guisborough.  An accident leading to the closure of the A19 scuppered that.  Just enough chance to turn round to make it to second choice:  Heaton Stan.  The postponement alert for that came through en route.  Option three:  Benfield.  Cars coming away from the ground as I’m pulling up is not a good sign and notification of the postponment comes through as I’m parking up.  Option four:  Jarrow.  I arrive just in time to be informed that there’s a pitch inspection 20 minutes before the scheduled kick off at 7.30.

Fate then took a positive turn – the game’s on, with the kick off put back 15 minutes.  Fate then took an even more fortunate turn.  For the second time on the trot, it’s a really good game at Jarrow, with the crowd – huddled in the stands against the wind and rain – are entertained with a brisk, open, attacking match.

We didn’t have to wait long for the first action.

In the first minute Jarrow right back Nicholas Little produces a goal-saving sliding tackle to intercept a James Thompson cross with two Ryton players ready to pounce.  Jarrow launched an immediate counter attack, converted by No. 9 Levi Collins to make it 1-0.

The attacks kept on coming.  Twice Jarrow’s David Smith and Lee Hetherington combined well down the right to set Collins up, with both shots well saved by Ryton keeper David Hansen.  At the other end Ryton No. 8 Tyler Davis hit a free kick just wide of the goal.

Jarrow double their lead in the 32nd minute when a corner goes over Collins but is just right for Daniel Smith to rifle the ball home.  Ryton came close to scoring in the 38th and 40th minute:  Parkin couldn’t hold on to a Callum Turnbull free kick but he managed to flick it away just before a Ryton player can get to the loose ball.  The keeper then manages to push away a Mitchell Ramsay curling shot which is heading for the top left corner of the goal.

Ryton conceded a third in the 42nd minute when their defence, trying to play the offside trap, are caught square and flat-footed.  Hetherington ran through.  His first shot was blocked by Hansen but the No. 10 then managed to pick up the rebound and slot it between the keeper and a defender.  At half-time, Jarrow had made the most of their chances, but it was tough on Ryton to be 3-0 down.

The second half wasn’t quite as lively, not helped by driving wind and rain.  Ryton made the better start to the half.  Sub Daniel Blewitt’s first touch was a shot which forced Parkin to make a save diving to his right.  It took Jarrow a bit to pick the pace back up but within three minutes they hit the post twice.  In the 58th minute David Smith shrugged off a challenge by Benjamin Joyeux before hitting a shot that ricocheted off the right hand post.  In the 61st minute Hetherington broke down the left, passed the ball back to Lee Kerr and his shot, from outside the box, hit the left hand post.  Seconds after that, Collins chipped the ball on to the roof of the net.  Their other best chance fell to Joshua Elcoate who had a shot saved by Hansen with his outstretched hand.

Ryton had fewer chances in the second half.  Their approach play was good enough, but moves fell down in and around the Jarrow penalty area.  A Ramsay lob in the 63rd minute went just over the bar and with eight minutes to go, a Gavin Dick effort was punched away by Parkin.

It was a confident display by Jarrow, while Ryton’s promotion push continues to falter.

And finally, returning to the theme of fate taking a kindly turn, there was one other fortunate side to last night’s game.  With the rain pouring down, the covered standing area was fuller than usual, and the location for some highly entertaining banter which ranged from Teletext, Twitting (sic), Geordie Jeans (for people of a certain age) and sports mixture sweets.

The linesman was given a running commentary too:  “Put your flag down.  Put your flag up.  Join in.  Do you want a sports mixture?”  And the quote of the day:  “He’s been to more games than me, and I haven’t missed a game.”

Mike Snowdon