Due to the clash with Durham Challenge Cup the following fixtures have been rescheduled to Saturday 3rd December 2022:

Bedlington Terriers v Jarrow (from 13/09)
Boldon CA v Chester-le-Street United (from 13/09)
Brandon United v Newcastle University (from 14/09)
Chester-le-Street Town v Esh Winning (from 13/09)
Sunderland West End v Birtley Town (from 13/09)
Willington v Horden CW (from 14/09)

Newton Aycliffe 6 Tow Law Town 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One

In blistering heat, Newton Aycliffe sauntered past newly-promoted Tow Law with an impressive performance that started from the off.  But despite their early pressure they weren’t able to get beyond the 18-yard line.  They should have taken the lead in the 15th minute when Joe Ferguson’s shot was palmed away by Tow Law keeper Andrew Coulson, spilling to Oscar Taylor who planted his shot wide.

It didn’t take long for him to make amends.  A mis-placed clearance by Lawyers defender Daniel Harvey went straight to Ethan Wood.  His pass to Marc Costello was guided on by the midfielder to Taylor who had a simple tap-in.

Aycliffe never looked back and bagged another three before the break:  Wood chipped the ball in to Jamie Owens who put an uncontested header past the keeper; a long free kick from the left found full back Callum Munro at the far post, with the No. 2 powering a header into the net.  Quick passing by Aycliffe on the edge of the box set Owens up and the No. 10 placed the ball perfectly between the left hand post and the keeper to bag his second.

Just about all of the play was in Tow Law’s half, with the Lawyers not helping their cause by failing to hold on to the ball; their passing moves lasted only two or three passes at the most.

In the closing minutes of the half Tow Law had two opportunities to claw a couple of goals back.  Joel Pearson floated a free kick into the Aycliffe box where Harvey hit a first time shot that was tipped over the bar by Aycliffe keeper Adam McHugh who then had to produce a diving save to stop a Pearson shot in time added on.

I suspect words were exchanged in the Tow Law changing rooms at half-time.  They came out with more energy and purpose and were rewarded after only three minutes.  Luke Bailey turned and chipped the ball into the area, a defender tried to clear it but it came off sub Nick Marley and rebounded into the net.  Three minutes later Pearson had another shot blocked by the defence.  The introduction of Marley gave them a more physical presence up front.

But just as the Lawyers were making more of a contest of it, they suffered another setback from which they never recovered.  Wood tried a long-range effort that left a probably unsighted Coulson standing still as the ball flashed past him and into the net.

It also signalled a change of pace by Aycliffe who didn’t play with the same urgency.  With the heat and the game won that was hardly a surprise.

With less than a quarter of an hour to go Aycliffe wrapped up the scoring with a long kick by McHugh over the Tow Law defence, releasing sub Liam Jarvie for a run at goal and the No. 12 was able to lob it past Coulson.

The win sees Aycliffe in third in the table, but it was a long, hard, tiring day for the Lawyers after the highs of their midweek FA Cup replay triumph.

There were water breaks and substitutions aplenty.  In the heat, no-one was complaining.

Mike Snowdon

Heaton Stannington 0-1 Whickham – Ebac Northern League Division One

This game could have went either way. Both sides seemed to lack a cutting edge – which the decisive moment coming from the penalty spot.

In terms of entertainment, the first half offered very little. Whickham had the majority of possession, however it was Heaton who came closest in the first 45.

The Lang Jacks’ Joseph Smith saw his strike from the edge of the area on 15 minutes turned away by Tom Flynn before Nathan Greenwood put the rebound well wide of the post.

Heaton almost took the lead 10 minutes before the break. Matthew Ward latched onto a through ball before cutting inside and firing low at Nathan Harker, with the Whickham keeper equal to his effort.

The second half offered more than the first. Heaton started the more brightly of the two – Louis Anderson headed over the bar from a Dan Stephenson cross, before Stephenson sent an effort wide of the post from 20 yards out.

Whickham were awarded a penalty after Scott Robson was brought down in the area by Flynn. Jamie Dunn stepped up and confidently placed his penalty into the top corner, sending Flynn the wrong way.

Heaton had one last chance two minutes from time. A long ball into the Whickham box was headed across the area, which was met by Max Cowburn, however his header was a tame one and straight at Harker.

The result sees Whickham continue their 100 percent start to the season putting them top of the league, whilst Heaton are yet to pick up three points.

Adam Gill

Newcastle University 2-5 Bedlington Terriers – Ebac Northern League Division Two

Newcastle University and Bedlington Terriers have got off to very different starts to their league season. Before the game Uni had lost their first two, whilst the Terriers won their season opener – and the pattern continued.

The first half an hour was quite uneventful. Neither side were able to create any real chances – Uni’s Christopher Pearson went closest just three minutes in as he saw his low effort saved by Adam Cameron.

The hosts opened the scoring on the half hour mark when Ben Long’s driven free kick from 25 yards out found its way past Cameron. Bedlington equalised just before half time when James Wilson latched onto Joseph Thompson’s through ball before slotting home.

Bedlington took the lead just a minute into the first half. High pressing from the Terriers forward line resulted in Gilberto Chapim picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area, before firing low into the bottom corner.

The visitors then added two goals in five minutes to put the game beyond doubt – both of them penalties, both scored by Kristian Sands.

The first spot kick was awarded after Thompson was brought down in the area by Uni keeper Kieren Proctor – which Sands then placed into the bottom left corner, sending Proctor the wrong way. Lewis Scorgie then brought down Wilson in the area, leaving Sands to add his second of the match.

Uni were unable to claw their way back into the match as the away side held firm at the back, snuffing out any attempt at an attack from the hosts. James McNicholas came close 10 minutes from time, when his free kick was brilliantly tipped over by Cameron.

The final five minutes saw two goals – one from either side. Bedlington added their fifth when Daniel O’Reilly latched onto a long ball forward with a tremendous burst of pace before putting it home beyond Proctor. Uni then pulled a goal back immediately when Scorgie turned home a diving header from a free kick.

A comfortable victory for the Terriers who move into fifth place, whilst Newcastle Uni sit second bottom following the defeat, but they improve when they have a fuller squad.

Adam Gill

Pickering Town 0 Whickham 2 – Ebac Northern League Division One

It’s been a tough baptism in the league for Pickering Town.  This was their fourth defeat of the season after being relegated from the Northern Premier League. But the scoreline doesn’t tell anything like the story of the match.

Admittedly they got off to a shaky start.  Right back Adam Warrilow hit a weak back pass that allowed Whickham striker Scott Robson in.  Pikes keeper Jack Norton rescued his team mate with a top save of Robson’s shot.  Warrilow didn’t dwell on the mistake.  Two minutes later he made a strong run down the right and hit a shot that only just missed the target.

Apart from that, Pickering gave the ball away cheaply in a robust opening 10 minutes, with tackles flying around.  Whickham started liked they meant business from the off – launching quick attacks and putting the home side’s defence under pressure.  That pressure paid dividends in the 17th minute.  A pass by Jamie Dunn put Robson behind the defence, forcing Pickering No. 4 Paul Roddom to dive in with a blocking tackle, sending the ball out for a corner that led to the first goal:  Nathan Greenwood’s shot ghosted past Robson who looked as though he blocked the sight lines of Norton who couldn’t re-adjust to make the save.

After that Pickering started to grow in confidence and the chances started to come:  a shot by James Nichols taken at the second attempt by Whickham keeper Nathan Harker and then a quality cross by Warrilow that was met with a header by Nichols that hit the underside of the bar, with the officials turning down appeals that the ball had crossed the line.

Whickham had two half chances – Greenwood sending a shot wide, with the defence backing off as he made a 30-yard run and then Harry Yoxall trying to catch Norton off his line with a free kick that the midfielder took close to the halfway line.

Pickering finished the half well but were dealt a blow seconds before the break.  Norton was sin binned after protesting that he was fouled as he spilled the ball out for a corner.  No. 6 Jamie Poole donned the keeper’s jersey and for the opening 10 minutes of the second half Pickering’s task was to survive without their keeper and to protect his stand-in.  It was mission accomplished….but only just.

Roddam made a crucial goal line block to stop a certain goal after Robson who was able to get past Poole and tried to roll the ball in.  And then, in the final seconds of the 10-minute sin bin, a Dunn cross was met with a powerful header by Robson that bounced off the top of the bar.

Back to 11 men, the home team started to press forward.  A long ball up to No. 9 Bobby Rye was a smidge too strong and Harker was able to get to it first and then Warrilow was within inches of connected with a perfect low cross by left back Liam Love as he made a far post run.  But it wasn’t all one-way traffic:  Greenwood made a run, finished off with a shot that Norton palmed away at full stretch.

A measure of good luck and bad fortune set up the second and final goal.  Pikes defender Daniel Nichols tried to hit a long pass, it rebounded off Whickham sub Joey Smith and fell kindly to Robson who rounded Norton before sliding the ball into the net.  Pickering had one last chance in the 92nd minute when Harker had to make a save at full stretch after a turn and shot by Tom Alonghuro.

It was a full-blooded, high energy game from start to finish. I thought Pickering deserved something out of it.  Since taking over, Tony Fawcett has made the Tynesiders a tough team to beat.  They’ll be delighted with four straight wins to start the season – three in the league and one in the FA Cup – to finish the night as joint leaders.

PS – the slope on the cricket pitch side of the field will take a bit of getting used to for visiting players.

PPS – Norton’s sin bin was the first witnessed at the ground.  They’re a sanction not available to referees at the level that the Pikes played at last season.

Mike Snowdon








Birtley Town 6-2 Chester-le-Street United – Ebac Northern League Division Two

League newcomers Chester-le-Street United were dealt a harsh lesson by local rivals Birtley Town – a lesson which was kickstarted by three goals inside 10 minutes.

The hosts got off to a blistering start. Birtley’s high pressing forced the visitors into mistakes, putting them under pressure from the off.

Birtley opened the scoring four minutes in – Alex Francis’ corner was headed back across the box by Sam Hedley, before Jack Honour tapped home from close range.

Francis was once again involved just three minutes later as his through ball was met Aidan Rutledge who slotted home beyond Matthew Pattinson.

Another ball in behind was met by Rutledge who added his second and Birtley’s third, giving his side a commanding lead.

The tempo of the half slowed as Birtley dominated possession, with Francis’ composure in midfield helping the hosts control the game.

With five minutes remaining until half time, the home side added a fourth. Callum Smith’s exquisite through ball was retrieved by Rutledge, who slid it home to complete his hat trick.

Chester-le-Street pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time – Ryan Muldoon played through Daniel Lanning who rounded Conor Grant before scoring into an empty net.

The goals kept on coming as Birtley extended their lead even further – Rutledge worked space for himself on the edge of the area before firing into the bottom corner for his fourth of the match, before Smith capped off a swift counter attack to add his side’s sixth of the game.

The goal of the game came in the 84th minute, when Samuel Johnson curled home a brilliant strike from 25 yards out.

Birtley continue their unbeaten start to the season, whilst it’s two consecutive defeats for Chester-le-Street ahead of their next fixture away to Brandon United.

Adam Gill