The Northern Football League
Published 19th August 2012
.....their opening Ebac Northern League First Division game on Saturday.
The Quakers trailed against ten-man Bishops until Gray sent on Leon Scott, Sean Reay and Amar Purewal.
Although classed as an away game, Darlington supporters accounted for three-quarters of the 2,004 attendance who basked in the sunshine. David Dowson got away from Chris Renshaw, but the Bishops’ defender held him back and he was shown a yellow card.
The centre back received another caution before the break, this time for handball and the referee had no option but to dismiss Renshaw.
Despite going down to ten men on 34 minutes, Bishops took the lead in first half injury-time with their leading scorer from last season, Andy Johnson, again finding the net.
After collecting a Stephen Salvin pass, Johnson held off a Darlington defender in the penalty area before volley expertly beyond keeper Jack Norton.
Johnson’s goal atoned for a penalty miss earlier in the half. His effort from 12 yards, after Stephen Harrison had pushed the Bishops forward, was too close to keeper Jack Norton who saved easily.
Although the balance of play had been even, the one-goal lead was arguably merited as the hosts had also created two opportunities for Sonny Andrews, both of which the striker wasted.
At the other end Jamie Clarke hit the side-netting and Adam Nicholls saw a shot blocked by keeper Peter Jeffries’ legs.
After the break, despite their numerical disadvantage, Bishops defended stoutly and Jeffries was hardly troubled as Darlington struggled to make inroads.
But they finally made the breakthrough on 64 minutes. Stephen Harrison’s right-wing cross found Purewal and his tame header bounced beyond Jeffries.
Four minutes later Darlington were on top, this time two substitutes combined for the second goal. Purewal played perfectly-weighted pass into Shaun Reay who dinked the ball over the keeper.
“I thought their pace turned the game, and we started passing the ball in good areas. Until they came on, I don’t think we gave our fans enough to shout about, and in the first half Bishops were better than us. The players were a bit uptight, because there was more pressure on them to do well than there was in pre-season. It was important to get a win,” said Gray.
Bishop Auckland manager Colin Myers said: “I thought the sending off changed the game. I didn’t have any arguments about Chris Renshaw’s first booking when he pulled their lad back, but he had his back to the ball when the ref said he handled. With ten-men, we were always going to run out of steam. Two mistakes by us costs us two goals.”
Shildon pulled off the best result of the opening day of the season by winning 3-1 at FA Vase winners Dunston UTS, even though they went an early goal down.
Terry Galbraith gave Dunston the lead with a low shot, and it didn’t look good for Shildon when Sam Garvie missed a penalty.
But after half-time Garvie recovered to fire the equaliser, then new signing Adam Johnston, who came on as sub, took over penalty responsibilities and converted another spot-kick.
Garvie rounded off an excellent Shildon performance when he dribbled through to seal the points near the end.
Shildon coach Phil Brumwell, who was in charge of the side, said: “It was a very good performance against a strong physical Dunston side. We passed the ball around well in spells and our fitness and movement were very good. It’s a good start because I don’t think Dunston will lose many more points this season.”
Dunston manager Billy Irwin said: “We didn’t deserve anything out of the game. I thought Shildon looked a very good team.”
West Auckland Town`s summer signing Adam Rundle scored a last minute winner to give the beaten Vase finalists a 3-2 home win over Newcastle Benfield, after they were 2-1 down at one point.
West took the lead after 44 minutes when skipper Mattie Moffat scored from the edge of the box, but John Alexander levelled from the spot for a handball offence.
Richie Slaughter crossed for Ian Graham to make it 2-1 to Benfield, but the Benfield defence got in a tangle over a long Mark Bell clearance, allowing Moffat to equalise.
With 4 minutes left, former Darlington player Adam Rundle fired the winner into the bottom corner from 30 yards.
Newcastle Benfield manager Perry Briggs said: “Two defensive mistakes left them back into the game for 2-2 and lapses in concentration costs us goals. We’ve got to be more ruthless in both boxes.”
West Auckland manager Peter Dixon said: “At half-time, I thought we were comfortable, and then we gave them two goals. We showed our team spirit to fight back and win We can only get better.”
League champions Spennymoor Town beat Second Division winners Team Northumbria for the second time in a week, this time by 3-0.
Moors took the lead after 4 minutes when Chris Mason scored with a cross-cum-shot from the left that flew into the top corner, and they went 2-0 up on 39 minutes when Anthony Peacock drove the ball home after Keith Graydon’s free-kick was cleared to him on the edge of the box.
It was 3-0 just after half-time when Steve Richardson was fouled in the box, and he scored from the spot-kick.
Spennymoor manager Jason Ainsley said: “I thought we were outstanding in the first half. We played at our pace and tempo, and could have scored more. I would have taken a 3-0 win an hour before kick-off. I wasn’t too unhappy with our second half performance because our players had earned the right to take their foot off the pedal.”
Team Northumbria manager Paul Johnson said: “We allowed Spennymoor too much time on the ball in the first 40 minutes and didn’t pass well enough which meant that all our build up play started too deep to be effective. We improved in the second half but lacked an end product. We were up against it from early on , but all in all they were the better side and deserved the points. With several key players still to return, we can take a lot from the performance.”
Newton Aycliffe finished a sad opening week by losing 1-0 at Marske United, who gave manager Craig Gibbin a victory in his first league game in charge.
The winner was scored by former Middlesbrough winger Nathan Porritt, who had an unsuccessful trial at West Ham during the summer, after 75 minutes when he won the ball on the halfway line, beat a defender and fired home. The closest Aycliffe came to scoring was a header by Gavin Barton that hit the post.
Newton Aycliffe manager Allan Oliver said: “It was a scrappy game, and I didn’t think there was much between the two sides.”
Marske manager Craig Gibbin said: “One game played 45 to go. Two evenly matched teams , and settled with a good goal.”
Billingham Synthonia went down 2-1 at Ashington, and missed some good chances in the process, especially in the first half.
Ashington took the lead when Marc Walton scored from a left wing cross, but Synners levelled when Craig Gott crossed for Shane Henry to head in. Ashington recovered to score the winner though Louis Storey with a shot on the turn.
Billingham Synthonia assistant-manager Lee Tucker said: “We played some superb football and didn’t get the result deserved. We missed so many chances and it just makes me feel so sorry for the players because they put in a great performance.”
Sunderland RCA and Consett drew 2-2 at Welfare Park. Consett took the lead through new signing Calvin Smith from ten yards after 6 minutes, but RCA equalised through a Mark Hudson penalty after a foul on Brian Close.
Dale Jardine fired the RCA back into the lead 4 minutes before half-time, but Lewis Teasdale grabbed a point for the Steelmen after 53 minutes.
Sunderland RCA manager Neil Hixon said: “It was a good game in bad conditions. They were plenty of chances at both ends, and it could have ended up 7-5.”
Consett manager Kenny Lindoe said: “It could have been 5-5..We missed three one-on-ones in the second half but they had one saved at point blank and put another one over from close range. I thought we edged it but it was probably a fair result.”
Durham City, back in the Northern League from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, were beaten 6-2 at Bedlington Terriers.
They got off to a good start when Bedlington’s Stuart Leason put into his own goal in the opening minutes, but Anthony Shandran blasted the equaliser.
Paul Brayson then scored twice before half-time from close range, and after the break Kris Gate ran through and scored.
Lawrence McKenna made it 5-1 from the edge of the area, and after Elliott Cutts pulled a goal back, Phil Bannister made it 6-2.
Durham manager Dickie Ord said: “It looks like a battering, but if had put our chances away, it could have been different.”
Norton & Stockton Ancient’s new boss Andy Campbell suffered a defeat in his first league game in charge when they were beaten 2-1 at home by Penrith.
Stephen Rigg ran through and beat Jim Provett in the first half to put Penrith into the lead, and Grant Davidson added the second from close range.
Norton pulled one back through Jordan Marshall after a Dale Mulligan free-kick was blocked.
Campbell said: “I thought we were sloppy and gave them two goals. Bitterly disappointed with the result, but still created chances.”
Whitley Bay won 2-1 at Billingham Town, for whom striker Micky Dunwell scored for the second time in a week to put them in the lead from a Jamie Owen cross. However, Chris Moore levelled 2 minutes later with a powerful shot, and before half-time, Paul Chow scored from close range.
Town nearly levelled in the second half, but Bay `keeper Kyle Hayes pulled off a top drawer save.
Bay manager Ian Chandler said: “We started both halves quite slow, allowing Billingham a little too much space in midfield, but we then took control and dominated the last 25 minutes in each half, where we could possibly have scored another two goals.”
Newly-promoted Hebburn lost 3-1 at home to Guisborough Town after leading 1-0 at half-time.
Mark Rasmussen gave Hebburn the lead with a header from a Liam McBryde cross, but Adam Gell levelled for Guisborough from close range just on the hour. Austin Johnston headed Guisborough into the lead, and then right at the end, Lewis Wood headed a third.
Guisborough manager Chris Hardy said: “The first half saw us not really get into stride with a lot of wasted possession, this resulted in us going in a goal down.
“The second half was much more pleasing, our possession was better all over the park, which in turn meant us creating the better chances in the game. As the game went on we got stronger and only one team looked like winning the game.
“This was a game that took us 45minutes to get our house in order, once we did this I believe the score line was a true reflection of the game, however we won't have the luxury of starting the game 45minutes in against Spennymoor on Wednesday night or we will be badly punished.”
Celtic Nation - previously known as Gillford Park - beat South Shields 1-0, thanks to a 35th minute goal by Stephen Archibald.
Celtic Nation manager Steve Skinner said: “It was a very poor game, but at least we won. We are struggling to adapt at the moment because we have a lot of new faces. It’s going to take time, but we need to learn quickly.”