Bishop Auckland 2-3 Sunderland RCA – Ebac Northern League Division One

 Sunderland RCA fought back in the second half to come away with all three points from the Voneus Stadium against Bishop Auckland.

The visitors opened the scoring just eight minutes in when Taylor Richardson beat the offside trap to find himself one on one with Nicholas Liversedge – Richardson saw his first effort saved but he slotted home the rebound into an empty net.

Bishop equalised three minutes later when Matthew Waters got onto the end of a cross before brilliantly flicking the ball over the head of RCA keeper Jonathan Ball.

In the 28th minute Bishop took the lead through Damien Stevens who slotted home after getting on the end of George Pinder’s low cross.

The only real chances of the first half resulted in goals – with neither side creating much else for the remainder of the half as Bishop went into half time in the lead.

With both sides not creating many chances, RCA began to gain control in the last 20 minutes of the match.

With 72 minutes on the clock, Richardson drove into the box before cutting his shot back across goal – which agonisingly came back off the post.

In the 78th minute RCA drew level, as Richardson cut inside and took aim from 30 yards, which resulted in his effort nestling in the top corner leaving Liversedge no chance.

Straight from the kick off RCA came close to taking the lead, when Mark Davison cut inside and fired just wide from the edge of the area.

RCA completed their second half comeback in the 83rd minute when Davison drove into the box before slotting home beyond Liversedge.

Bishop had a chance to secure a point at the death, however Pinder could only fire inches wide of the post.

Bishop Auckland travel to Whickham in their next game, whilst Sunderland RCA travel to Newton Aycliffe.

Adam Gill

Horden CW 8 Durham City 1 – Ebac Northern League Division Two

Horden ended a run of four successive defeats with a comprehensive win over Durham City.  Their aim this season is all about consolidation in Division Two.  Despite their recent form, they look well set to achieve that.

And, apart from a new look programme (the Marras Mag) it was also a bit of a historic night, with this the first game played under the newly-installed floodlights.  They took a bit of time going, but once they did, the result was somewhat predictable and inevitable.

No. 8 Martin Fowler opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he hit a shot from distance.  Durham keeper Niall Frampton got hands to the shot only to see the ball slide into the net.

Their cutting edge was No. 9 Jack Maskell who grabbed himself a first half hat-trick, with goals in the 15th, 23rd and 44th minute.

For the first he met a cross by Kieran Campbell from the left, the second came when the Durham defence stood off, allowing him to get on the end of a header by John Bowes and then just before half-time he rose above the defence to meet a cross from the left.  Frampton denied him a fourth goal in the 22nd minute, tipping a shot over the bar.

The goals kept coming in the second half: An inch perfect pass by Fowler set Neil Fannan up in space on the right.  He had all the time he needed to hit the ball into the bottom left corner of the Durham goal.   Barney Dobinson made it 6-0 in the 62nd minute, finding the net with a low shot from the right.

The seventh came with John Bowes getting a touch on a low, hard cross by Campbell and then David Doughty wrapped up the scoring in the 90th minute.

For Durham, it was a similar pattern to the last time I saw them play – getting off to a good start and then conceding a steady stream of goalsThey could have easily grabbed a couple before Horden scored.

In the opening 10 minutes Alfie Snow had three attempts only to send the ball just wide of the posts on each occasion.  And with 10 minutes to go before half-time he had another chance, cutting inside before hitting a shot over the bar.

Unlike the last time, at least they didn’t throw in the towel and were able to grab a consolation goal when James Hudspeth met a cross with a first time shot to make it  6-1.

Mike Snowdon

Whitley Bay 2-3 Consett – Ebac Northern League Division One

 Consett picked up a crucial three points away to Whitley Bay in what was a fantastic game for the 637 fans in attendance.

The game got off to a flyer when Consett were awarded a penalty just 25 seconds in as Callum Guy was brought down in the area. Stephen Callen stepped up only to see his tame effort saved by Dan Lister.

Callen was made to rue his missed penalty as Whitley Bay took the lead in the 13th minute. Henry Dorward played Mitchell Ramsay through on goal with an inch perfect pass, before the winger sent his effort past Kyle Hayes into the roof of the net.

Both teams saw efforts saved – Callen being denied by Lister and Michael Speed seeing his effort saved by Hayes – before Consett equalised.

Calvin Smith picked up a loose ball in the Whitley Bay box before he fired low off the far post past Lister – to get Consett back in the game with 21 minutes on the clock.

The away side turned the game around in the 33rd minute through Jake Orrell. Consett full back Jermaine Metz drove down the right before pulling the ball back into the path of Orrell who tapped home.

Consett went into the break in the lead despite Whitley Bay arguably being the better team in the first half.

The visitors added a third in the 53rd minute through a fortunate bit of luck. Smith’s low effort was brilliantly cleared off the line, only for the clearance to bounce off James Martin into the Whitley Bay net.

It only took Whitley Bay four minutes to respond as they grabbed a second through Adam Shanks. A long free kick forward was headed across the box by Jamie Dunn, leaving Shanks to send his well placed volley into the bottom corner.

Whitley Bay kept pushing for their equaliser and it almost came in the 74th minute. Dorward’s low cross was met by Shanks who could only send his effort wide of the post from a few yards out.

With the last kick of the game, for the second time they almost found their equaliser. Speed’s corner was met by Luke Taylor, who could only send his effort off the top of the bar – much to Consett’s relief as they held on for the three points.

Whitley Bay travel to West Auckland Town in their next game, whilst Consett take on North Shields in their next match.

Adam Gill

Guisborough Town 0 West Auckland Town 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One

It was all very messy (and we’re not talking of Lionel here).

Moments of quality were few and far between in a match that at times was very tetchy, with plenty of yellow cards brandished by the referee who may not have had the best of games but he certainly wasn’t helped by the players – crowding round him on several occasions.

The match got off to a promising enough start:  West winger Corey Nicholson cutting in from the right, with his shot parried by Guisborough keeper Robert Dean and then hacked away by No. 2 Callum Martin.  West keeper Sam Guthrie then stopped a Louis Johnson shot with his legs.

A long ball up to Guisborough No. 10 Steven Roberts gave him a run at goal but he could only pull his shot wide left.  Nicholson then had his second shot after cutting in only for it to go over the bar.  He was West’s most dangerous threat in the match.

Guthrie then made two crucial saves – tipping a Joseph Hope cross over Guisborough skipper Joseph Bartliff just as he was running in at the far post.  He then followed that up within a couple of seconds with a point blank save to deny Johnson.

The game was ultimately decided in West’s favour in the 29th minute and the goal was down to Nicholson who chased a long kick out by Guthrie all the way to the byline, managing to keep the ball in play before hitting the ball into the box where Jordan Blinco met it at the near post and slid it past Dean.

It was the highlight of the game, with the flow regularly interrupted by fouls and bookings, with Bartliff sent off in the 56th minute for a second booking.  It took West another 15 minutes before they shifted the balance of play their way.

Guisborough’s best chance to level the score came in the 79th minute.  Brad Plant ran at the defence before passing it out to Roberts.  His cross to the far post was met by Ben Jackson but he couldn’t keep his header down.

West looked content to hold on to their one-goal lead by committing only a couple of players to their attacks.  The three points and the play of Nicholson were the best features of their afternoon’s work.

Not one for the football purist.

Mike Snowdon

Redcar Athletic 0-2 Billingham Town – Ebac Northern League Division One

Billingham Town capped off a great away performance with three points against Redcar Athletic.

The first chance of the game went to the home side – Isaac Walker seeing his low effort saved by Jack Norton.

Billingham took the lead in the 17th minute through Connor Dunlavey – with a fantastic looping volley from about 30 yards out which left Norton no chance.

Redcar almost levelled the score 31 minutes in through Walker. Nicholas Martin won possession midway in the Billingham half, before a great through ball sent Walker through before he cut inside and sent his effort of the outside of the post.

The hosts started the second half the better of the two teams and they almost got their reward – Walker’s low corner was met by Max McGuckin who could only send his effort wide of the post in the 52nd minute.

From then on Billingham began to gain control and had a couple of half chances – Dunlavey and Danny Boyle sending strikes just over.

In the 83rd minute Billingham had a great chance to seal the three points, as Boyle created space in the box for a shot, however he sent his effort just inches over the bar.

It was Boyle’s strike partner, Dunlavey who sealed the points for the visitors just four minutes later.

Ash Lavan drove down the edge of the area before his low cross was tapped home by the unmarked Dunlavey to add his second of the game and three more points to Billingham’s league tally.

Redcar Athletic visit Seaham Red Star in their next match, whilst Billingham Town travel to Sunderland Ryhope C.W.

Adam Gill

Penrith 3 Sunderland RCA 2 – Ebac Northern League Division One

It’s been a bit of a struggle in the league so far this season for the Bonny Blues, but last night they banished the blues, with a spirited performance to gain three valuable points.

They were up for it from the off; for the opening 15 minutes taking the game to RCA, playing some neat attacking football.  They could easily have been awarded a penalty in the 9th minute when left winger Jamie Armstrong was “nudged” as he tried to take the ball past a defender in the box.

They took a deserved lead when the ball fell to No. 9 Max Brown.  Given plenty of time and space more than 20 yards from goal, he looked up and curled an unstoppable and perfectly hit shot into the top right corner.  Brown was denied a second only a couple of minutes later when RCA No. 4 Simon Jakab stuck a foot in to knock the ball away just as the No. 9 was about to shoot from inside the box.

But they couldn’t maintain the quality of their play and gradually RCA got going, with chances for Michael Coghlan and Taylor Richardson thwarted by Penrith centre backs Matthew Moynan and Grant Davidson.  RCA’s biggest threat came down the left through Layton Watts.

As the game progressed, both teams were guilty of losing possession cheaply, with a scrappy end to the half.

Like the first half, Penrith started the better of the two and within five minutes of the re-start they doubled their lead when Jakab brought down Penrith’s No. 3 Matthew Coombe in the box, with Kingsley Grandison converting the spot kick.  Unlike the first half, they were able to maintain the quality of their play for much of the second half.

RCA keeper Jonathan Ball made a top save to stop a powerful shot by Penrith No. 8 Matthew Story at close quarters in the 54th minute.

Within seconds RCA got back into the match with one of the goals of the season so far.  The ball dropped to No. 7 Craig Hennis 30 yards from the Penrith goal.  There didn’t seem to be any imminent danger, only for the RCA midfielder to hit a screamer into the net.

The goal heralded the best phase of the match.  Ball pulled off another good save for a thumping shot by Armstrong, while at the other end, Penrith keeper Aaran Taylor was able to dive down to his right to push the ball out for a corner as Coghlan tried to place a header into the net.

A crucial error by RCA gifted Penrith their third goal.  A misplaced pass by Hennis went straight to Armstrong whose placed his shot just inside the left hand post to make it 3-1 in the 63rd minute.  The sides then traded half chances:  Grandison putting a shot wide right and a cross by RCA sub Thomas Hunter going just too far in front of Richardson, with a follow-up shot by skipper Daniel Hawkins sent over the bar.

With only a few minutes of normal time left, RCA made it a nervy finish for Penrith when Layton Watts knocked a short free kick to Coghlan.  As Penrith players stood rooted to the spot, they watched as the No. 8 blasted it in.  A second quality goal for the visitors but it came too late for them to salvage a point.

Post script:  League chairman Glenn Youngman presented Bonny Blues fan Bradley Hodgson with a specially commissioned Ebac Northern League top. Bradley is stepping down after 17 years as team mascot at the end of the season (see photo below).

Mike Snowdon