ALL SQUARE AT MOOR PARK

I had hoped for a much better game than the one played out at Moor Park yesterday.

Chester-le-Street and Thornaby are the pace setters at the top of the second division and it might well have been that they cancelled each other out – leading to the 0-0 final score.

The opening 20 minutes was the best part of the game and Thornaby could have taken the lead twice within five minutes of kick-off.

Three minutes in and Kyran Clark got to the by-line and trundled the ball across the goal line before Cestrian left back Jai Grant cleared it at the far post.  A couple of minutes later Clark got goal side of the Chester-le-Street back four but his touch took the ball too close to keeper Jack Wilson who managed to get his feet to the ball first.

Each side had a penalty shout, with the first coming in the 8th minute.  Chester-le-Street No.9 Jack Oliver made a run into the box with Thornaby’s Jamie Poole leaving a trailing leg.  Oliver fell but referee Joe Pringle waved appeals for a spot kick away.

Next came the first of Chester-le-Street’s chances:  Alex Walker got on the end of a free kick at the far post and it was heading in until Matthew Osmond managed to get enough contact on it to slow it down, allowing keeper James Dawson to grab it.

Thornaby went straight up the other end, with No. 9 Lewis Murray getting on the end of a long ball.  He managed to get a shot away just before being clattered to the ground by Wilson, with instant appeals for a penalty as the ball went just over the bar.  He suffered a broken toe in the collision and had to be substituted.

In the 20th minute Oliver set Michael Hepplewhite up but the Cestrian’s No. 10 blasted his shot wide of the right post with plenty of the goal to aim at.

After that promising start, the game developed into a game of hoof ball, with slick passing moves few and far between.  The only decent shot for the rest of the half came from Hepplewhite again.  Owen Henderson sent over a first time cross from close to the corner flag and Hepplewhite only just missed the target with a first time volley.

And for the rest of the game it was more of the same – long balls prevailing over moving the ball through the midfields, although Thornaby spent most of the half in the home team’s half, they just couldn’t create many scoring opportunities.  The best of them was in the 55th minute when a clever back heel by Paul Blake set Lee Posthill up with a chance, but Wilson managed to get his feet to Posthill’s shot as he fell backwards.

Chester-le-Street’s best chance came in the 90th minute when Josh King got a clean header on to a free kick, only to see it go past the outside of the post.

Chester-le-Street 0 Thornaby 0 – Ebac Northern League Division Two

Mike Snowdon

  • Chester-le-Street had a bumper number of mascots for the game. They were all from the club’s “Superstars” programme and were the first boys and girls to go through the 30-week scheme.

The children were given free coaching with Davey Surrey – the club’s head of youth development – and the scheme is designed to be a fun and enjoyable introduction to football, while providing a technical foundation for their football development.

Thanks to Neil Smith at NeilSmithSportsPhotography for the photo of the youngsters with captains Craig Marron and Joe Scaife-Wilson along with officials Joe Pringle, Michael Heskett and Colin Stores.