No Newcastle United this Saturday so an excuse to take a peak into the world of North East non-league football. Thanks to Mark Carruthers from the excellent non-league fans’ website, FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL, we have a treasure trove of games from round the doors that will keep you from the evil clutches of B & Q.
Eyes down for a full house, off we go:
MATCH: Ashington v Whitley Bay
COMPETITION: Northern League Division One
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
Two of the region’s most famous Non-League sides clash on Saturday as Ashington welcome Whitley Bay to Woodhorn Lane. The two clubs could hardly be any closer in the Northern League Division One table and are separated by one place and one point with the Bay sitting one place above the Colliers in thirteenth position.
Although it should be pointed out that the Northumberland outfit do have two games in hand on the Seahorses and will be looking to complete the league double after an entertaining 4-3 win at Hillheads in September.
Predictably given their league position Ashington have had an inconsistent season, perhaps summed up by their recent run. A 6-1 home hammering of a previously in-form Bishop Auckland side kicked off a bizarre run as they lost against relegation threatened West Allotment Celtic and high flying Marske United but beat Newcastle Benfield and a resurgent Penrith.
The Colliers are always an entertaining outfit with plenty of attacking threat. Former Newcastle academy product Marc Walton is a threat as is former Blyth Spartans forward Glen Taylor. Probably their most dangerous player is winger Andrew Johnson, a constant menace to full backs for a few years now.
Their visitors have been equally inconsistent recently although the aforementioned defeat to the Colliers did see them win four of the next six games. In that run the Bay won two ties in a competition they are synonymous with. A 4-3 win at home to South Shields and a very impressive 4-1 win at Bedlington Terriers have seen them into the Third Round of the FA Vase and an away tie at Cheshire outfit Congleton Town awaits.
For anyone who knows anything about Non-League football in the region it won’t come as a surprise that I pick out Paul Chow as the Bay’s dangerman. There can’t have been many more consistent strikers in the League than a true Bay legend. Also this season has seen the ever impressive Paul Robinson returned to the club for a second spell and the mercurial midfielder isn’t called the Hillheads Maradonna for nothing.
Two inconsistent sides admittedly but I fancy this one to be a cracker.
Although most of you reading this will focus on Newcastle’s trip to West Brom on Sunday it’s worth pointing out that there is a FA Cup First Round tie at Croft Park at 2pm as Blyth Spartans entertain Conference side Altrincham.
Also in the FA Cup on Sunday good luck to Gary Mills’ Gateshead who travel to Norton United in another 2pm kick off.
Other games to look out for:
NORTHUMBERLAND: Morpeth Town v Dunston UTS (NLD1)
NORTH TYNESIDE: North Shields v Newton Aycliffe (NLD1), Heaton Stannington v Willington (NLD2)
SOUTH TYNESIDE: South Shields v Whickham, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion v Ryhope CW (both NLD2)
COUNTY DURHAM: Consett v Newcastle Benfield, Shildon v Celtic Nation (Both NLD1)
MARK CARRUTHERS – FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL