The North East Match Officials Pool is looking for a Voluntary Observers Appointments Officer to appoint observers together with administrative duties  for next season.

Should any person be interested, a full detailed job description can be obtained from Dave Robinson at daverob.northernlge1@btinternet.com

Applications giving full details of experience etc should be forwarded to Dave Robinson by noon on the 1st June, 2021.

Following the resignation of Craig Hughes and David Pounder last week, the club is now accepting applications for the role of first team manager.

All applicants are asked to express their interest through email to chairman Paul Adamson at pa@finishingtouchesteesside.co.uk.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 18th May, after which point interviews will be conducted.

Warrington Rylands 1 Hebburn Town 0 – Buildbase FA Vase quarter final

It was with some trepidation that I travelled to Warrington – along with both hope and expectation, with Hebburn fresh from their great FA Vase win on Monday.

Trepidation as I’d seen Rylands beat Shildon and West Auckland in the previous two rounds, both in penalty shoot-outs (having previously dumped Jarrow out of the cup, also in a shoot-out).

But the Cheshire made it four Northern League scalps out of four to progress to the semi-finals, where, no doubt, they’ll deservedly be installed as favourites to lift the trophy.

Hebburn couldn’t quite scale the heights of their Wembley heroics and by the end of the game they looked as though the rigours of the weekend were starting to take their toll.  They battled all the way and on another day could have grabbed a win, but on their second half performance Rylands deserved to progress, looking quicker and sharper in the second 45-minute spell.

Both teams started the game well, on the front foot and looking to attack.  In the 21st minute Graeme Armstrong (who put in a shift and a half up front), met a Michael Richardson corner with a header that a Rylands defender could only block a couple of feet from the goal line, but Armstrong couldn’t quite reach the loose ball for a second chance.  His opposite number – Elliot Nevitt – had Rylands’ best chance of the half when he was put through only to take the ball wide with a poor first touch.

In previous rounds, Rylands keeper Graeme McCall had been the standout player and only two minutes into the second half he produced a match-winning save to deny an Amar Purewal shot after the ball was flicked on to him by Armstrong.

Then Rylands started to gain the ascendancy, particularly in midfield, forcing Hebburn on the back foot.  On the hour mark they got the breakthrough that they’d been threatening with a period of sustained pressure.

Right back Warren Gerrard worked the ball into the Hebburn box where Nevitt was able to turn and hit the ball low into the right hand side of the goal, just out of the reach of keeper Mark Foden.

They almost doubled their lead in the second minute of added on time.  No. 10 Ste Milne had a shot deflected by Darren Lough, with the ball rebounding off the bar and landing just in front of the goal line.  Minutes later it was all over for the men from South Tyneside.

Despite the defeat, it’s been an incredible (truncated) season for the Hornets – promotion out of the league and that Vase trophy.  They leave the Northern League for pastures new, with this as their swansong.  They gave it their best shot, but it wasn’t quite good enough on the day.

Mike Snowdon

As well as congratulations and commiserations for the all-Northern League Vase final

The management committee has announced that the 2021/22 season will start on Saturday, July 31.

The league’s annual general meeting will be held as an online/virtual meeting on Saturday, June 19.

League chairman Glenn Youngman said:

“Hopefully we can all look forward to welcoming spectators back into our clubs and having a full, uninterrupted season ahead of us.

“We have all missed our regular football fix.

“The new season heralds a significant change for our league – with three clubs being promoted from our first division into the new Step 4 league for the region, along with three teams being promoted from the second division and clubs coming into our league from our feeder leagues.

“But the new season will still mean that our league can offer some great games.

“Finally, I would like to congratulate Hebburn Town on a great victory in the Buildbase FA Vase on Monday and commiserations to Consett who played their part in a great game that showed this league and non-league football in such a fantastic light.”

Chester-le-Street Town has a new website address: http://www.chesterlestreettownfc.com/

Consett 2 Hebburn Town 3 – Buildbase FA Vase final

Yesterday, in the wake of the fan invasion at Old Trafford, a national newspaper ran the headline:  “The beautiful game is gone”.

I’ve got news for them – it’s alive and well at non-league level.  And it was proudly on display at Wembley Stadium when two Ebac Northern League teams put on a thrilling Buildbase FA Vase final.  For the second time, the final was contested by two Northern League teams and they did us proud in front of a national TV audience.

Winner and loser – they showed the true spirit of football.  To the victors, the Vase, to the losers a defeat where they can still hold their heads up high.

And so to the game.  The second half may not have reached the heights of the first, but the opening 45 minutes was a classic.  Every time Consett got their noses in front, Hebburn pegged them back almost immediately.

Both teams were able to get their attacking game going in the opening minutes, but it was Consett who settled into a patient, possession and passing game the better.  Jermain Metz and Darren Holden were constant threats down the wings, but it was Hebburn who came closest to scoring first:  a shot by Robbie Spence saved with his legs by Consett keeper Kyle Hayes, with Michael Richardson following up with a shot off the bar.

Within seconds, Ali Alshabeeb scored the opener after being put through one-on-one and the No. 14 was able to round Hebburn keeper Mark Foden and slot it into the net before two Hebburn defenders could block it.

Within two minutes the Hornets were level when, unmarked, Amar Purewal blasted the ball into the Consett net.  The game was then delayed for eight minutes for a worrying injury to Consett No. 7 Jake Orrell after a collision.  (He was taken to hospital as a precaution but thankfully was later declared as having recovered.)  The injury break cause the game to lose some of its rhythm but in the 42nd minute, Consett No. 9 Dale Pearson put the Steelmen ahead.  Metz found the striker with a pull back pass, with Pearson taking a touch and then hitting low and hard into the net.

They were given no chance to enjoy regaining the lead.  In the 44th minute, Hebburn captain Louis Storey was denied when Hayes saved a shot with his legs for the second time, only for Michael Richardson to pick up the loose ball and fire it in to make it 2-2 at half time.  It had been a half to savour.

In comparison, the second half was much more cagey, although both sides had their chances:  in the 56th minute, Purewall knocked the ball back to Graeme Armstrong but the Hebburn No. 9 didn’t get a clean contact and the ball trickled just wide of the left hand post.  At the other end, Calvin Smith had a shot blocked when Storey slid in.  Consett sub Luke Carr brought pace and creativity to the Steelmen attack.  In the 80th minute had made a great run down the right and managed to get behind the Hebburn defence.  His cross was let go by Pearson, allowing Smith a shooting opportunity only for the No. 8 to hit the ball over the bar.  Two minutes later, Alshabeeb set Carr up, but again the ball was put over the bar.

Within seconds they were made to pay:  Hebburn sub Olly Martin hitting a left foot shot in off the right hand post.  It was prove to be an inspired and decisive substitution.  The South Tynesiders were able to close out the game and crowned Vase winners, with Richardson named the man of the match.

The Vase is on its way back to the North East.

Who needs a European super league? Certainly not the thousands of fans who follow our league.

Mike Snowdon

Photo captions: The teams, the sorry sight of an empty, fan-less Wembley, and the teams line up for the final:

Billingham Synthonia 8 Easington Colliery 0 – Durham Challenge Cup semi-final

Billingham Synthonia cruised into the final of the Durham Challenge Cup with a performance as emphatic as the scoreline suggests.

In less than 20 minutes the tie was effectively over and the afternoon just kept getting worse for Easington.

In the second minute Synners set their stall out.  They won a corner and captain Josh Rowbotham was able to swivel and, on the turn, head the ball into the net.  Three minutes later it was 2-0.  A free kick was knocked into the Easington box, the ball was then knocked back across the area, finding David Onions who thumped it home.

By the 17th minute it was effectively all over bar the shouting when Joe Ferguson drove forward into the Easington box and shot across keeper Ben Reynolds just inside the right hand post.  Ferguson went on to have a man-of-the-match game:  setting up a couple of other goals and putting on an elegant display of passing.

For Easington, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  Miscommunication between Reynolds and Garon Garside led to Garside heading the ball past the keeper and into his own net, despite the No. 1 scrambling back to try and claw it clear.

Meaningful attacks by the visitors were few and far between.  In the 33rd minute Kevin Pearn was one-on-one with Synners keeper Daniel Dixon but the No. 10 couldn’t thread the ball past him.  Then Ryan Barrow’s shot was blocked by Rowbotham sliding in.  Fellow Easington defender Jak Ashton had an off-target shot from distance.  It was their best spell of the game.

With five minutes to go, Synners’ Ferguson hit a free kick that was bending towards the inside of the right post before being punched clear by Reynolds.

Synners scored four more in the second half.  Substitute Gary Redman scored with his first touch after a misunderstanding between the Easington centre backs.  Another sub – James Rowe – made it 6-0, striking a pull-back by Ian Ward just inside the post after good work by Ferguson and Kurtis Howes.

In the 73rd minute, a free kick by Ferguson sailed over a crowded box and found Rowbotham whose first time half volley squeezed under the keeper.  The scoring was wrapped up in the 91st minute, with the last kick of the game:  a corner by Ferguson struck by Joe Scaife-Wheatley.

The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough for Easington, while Synthonia meet West Auckland in the final.

Post script:  Footballers have a Pavlovian response in certain circumstances – potential hand balls, fouls etc.  But that was taken to new heights when one player (who will remain nameless) shouted “foul throw!”.  So far, so good.  The only problem was that the alleged culprit was one his own players.  Fortunately for him, the referee didn’t agree with his assessment of the situation.  (By the way, he was right: it was a foul throw and the culprit repeated the misdemeanor shortly afterwards.)

Mike Snowdon