Although United managed to sell out the away allocation for Southampton (largely due to the ticket match arrangements for away games agreed between the two clubs with pressure from the FSF) most Mags won’t be headed for the South Coast this weekend. If you would like to swerve a trip to Ikea or Jeff Stelling and Co on SKY or simply can’t be arsed sitting in a pub watching Pardew’s team fall to bits, then may we suggest you follow the advice of Mark Carruthers, For The Love Of Football and get yourself down to a non-league game this Saturday. We’re relying on Mark to come up with some top tips this season and to get us underway, here we go with a recommended hope to Ashington. Quiet at the back ….
Match: Ashington v Scarborough Athletic
Competition: FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Venue: Woodhorn Lane, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 9FW
Entry: £6 adults, £2 concessions
Kick off time: 3pm
Nearest train station: Morpeth
Local pubs: Pots and Slots Sports Bar, Woodhorn Lane Club Bar
Imagine how it would feel going to an FA Cup fixture to follow a team wearing black and white who actually want to progress in the greatest club competition in the world? Well this Saturday you can actually do that if you get yourself along to Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane as they host Scarborough Athletic in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. The Colliers are a great club and one of the most famous names in the Northern League. One of the most fascinating aspects to the club is the fact that since moving to Woodhorn Lane they have retained the unique atmosphere of their former home Portland Park, one of the most cherished Non-League grounds around in it’s time.
The Colliers boast a number of former Newcastle United academy products who will be familiar to the reserve team watchers amongst the TF tifiosi. The likes of Dean Critchlow, Stuart Elliott, Darren Lough, James Taylor and Marc Walton all spent time with United and boast a wealth of Northern League experience. Striker Glen Taylor is a striker capable of dominating a defence on his day and has experience further up the league pyramid with Blyth Spartans during their time in the Conference North. Winger Andrew Johnson is another exciting talent who provides a valuable outlet of goals and creates plenty of chances for his team mates with quality from the wing.
This will be the Colliers third game in this season’s FA Cup after wins against Cumbrian side Holker Old Boys (after a replay) and at Bradford based Albion Sports. The latter coming thanks to a 2-1 win in Yorkshire with Walton grabbing both goals for Gary Middleton’s side.
Scarborough Athletic will provide a strern test for the Colliers and currently sit in the final play off spot of the Evo-Stik NPL First Division North, ahead of the likes of Darlington and Spennymoor Town. The club were formed in the wake of the demise of the former league side Scarborough in June 2007. After initially joining the Northern Counties East League Division One progress has been impressive and following their title win in 2012/13 they moved into the Evo-Stik League but were placed in the First Division South, finishing their first and what turned out to be only season in seventh place. A rejig of the makeup of the Evo-Stik NPL meant that they were some would say sensibly moved into the First Division North. That move seems to have been to their liking as they sit in amongst the play off contenders after a solid start to the season.
Dangermen for the visitors will be midfielder James Beadle who has four goals this season although experienced striker Gary Bradshaw for clubs throughout his career after spending time with the likes of Harrogate Town and North Ferriby United. Their Player/Assistant Manager Bryan Hughes is a former Northern Ireland international midfielder who has faced Newcastle with the likes of Birmingham City and Hull City.
Athletic face the Colliers after beating North Shields in a replay on North Tyneside. The game was one that is best described as epic after the sides shared eight goals, had two men sent off each and a total of five penalties awarded during the match, which ended in penalty heartache for the Northern League side.
Other games to look out for:
Also in the FA Cup West Allotment Celtic welcome Evo-Stik NPL First Division North club Lancaster City who managed by a certain Darren Peacock, he of the long hair and bemused expression as he looked desperately around St James Park for fellow United defenders as part of Kevin Keegan’s glorious Entertainers side. There is also an attractive looking tie in County Durham as Shildon welcome Northern Premier League club Whitby Town to Dean Street.
In the Northern League top tier West Auckland Town welcome North Shields in a game that seems to guarentee goals, although anyone who saw my Non-League Day picks will probably think twice about giving any sort of creditbility to that opinion to be fair. In Division Two there is a meeting between two great local clubs as Ryton and Crawcrook Albion entertain Heaton Stannington although game of the day in the division sees high flying Team Northumbria face a tricky looking trip to Northallerton Town.
Anyone at a loose end on Sunday can find a peach of an FA Cup tie at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park in what would arguably be the tie of the round nationally never mind locally as Darlington face Blyth Spartans.
MARK CARRUTHERS, FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL
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