No Newcastle United this weekend (do I detect a sigh of relief there?) but your weekend need not be bereft of a few pints, a laugh with your mates and a good game of football. Thanks to Mark Carrutherers from the excellent For The Love of Football NE Non League Fans website, we have a selection of delicious morsels for you to chew on this coming Saturday afternoon.
Over to Mark:
MATCH: Birtley Town v Alnwick Town
COMPETITION: Northern League Division Two
VENUE: Birtley Sports Complex, Durham Road, Birtley, County Durham, DH3
ENTRY: £4 adults, £2 concessions
KICK OFF TIME: 3pm
NEAREST TRAIN STATION: Chester-le-Street…but still nowhere near so will need to get the 21 “Angel” bus to Birtley
NEAREST METRO: errr…Gateshead….but you’ll still need to get a bus from there. The aformentioned 21 “Angel” bus is the one you need and that runs from Newcastle via Gateshead to Birtley
LOCAL PUBS: The Barley Mow, The William
MATCH CRAIC: Why has he picked a game in the second tier of the Northern League between two sides sitting below mid-table when there are FA Cup ties and some attractive looking Division One fixtures on offer?…is what I hear you say, hopefully with a breath at some point in the middle.
Well there is one reason why I have chosen Birtley Town v Alnwick Town as my choice for the weekend. Ok, if I am being honest there are 161 reasons why I chose this fixture because between the pair of them the clubs have featured in games in all competitions that have seen 161 goals scored.
With Birtley Town’s sixteen fixtures and Alnwick Town’s seventeen that is an average goals per game of 4.88. This one seems to guarentee goals and entertainment although there is a disclaimer on this one that my predicitions of goals are as reliable as the Newcastle version of Moussa Sissoko in a 50/50 challenge.
Although with that many goals being scored between the pair this one is as sure as the French international version of Moussa Sissoko in a 50/50 challenge to bring some goals.
The clubs are separated ironically by goal difference in the Northern League Division Two table with the hosts in fifteenth and their visitors one place below. However Birtley Town do have two games in hand on the Northumberland outfit.
Birtley started the season reasonably well winning four of their first five fixtures before being beaten 3-0 at home by Chester-le-Street Town. That preceded a 7-0 hammering at Heaton Stannington on a day nothing went right for them. There aren’t in the greatest run of form either conceding twenty goals in their last four games, although it should be pointed out that two of those fixtures came in cup competitions against an in-form Bishop Auckland side from Division One in the Northern League and the other was against a rampant Seaham Red Star side.
They welcome an Alnwick Town side who are on a high after successully negotiating two very tricky cup ties in the last week. Firstly they saw off Pickering Town in a thrilling FA Vase tie at St James Park on Saturday that ended 5-3 and then three days later knocked Heaton Stannington out of the Northumberland Senior Cup by exactly the same scoreline, see what I mean about guarenteed goals!
Both sides have suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Norton and Stockton Ancients recently but since Alnwick’s 8-0 drubbing they have been in good form winning four of their six fixtures scoring nineteen goals in the process. That mini run includes the two cup victories mentioned but also notable successes against the much fancied Team Northumbria(4-3) and Ryhope CW(3-1).
So get yourself down to Birtley Sports Complex for what should be an absolute cracker, just remember my disclaimer please.
OTHER GAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR:
NORTH TYNESIDE – North Shields v West Allotment Celtic(NLD1), Team Northumbria v Esh Winning (NLD2)
NORTHUMBERLAND – Ashington v Bishop Auckland, Morpeth Town v Celtic Nation(both NLD1)
GATESHEAD – Dunston UTS v Whitley Bay (NLD1), Ryton and Crawcrook Albion v Norton and Stockton Ancients (NLD2)
SOUTH TYNESIDE – Hebburn Town v Darlington RA (NLD2)
COUNTY DURHAM – Shildon v Stourbridge (FA Cup 3QR), West Auckland Town v Jarrow Roofing (NLD1)
A full list of Non-League fixtures for the North East and Cumbria can be found here
MARK CARRUTHERS, FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL