The Northern Football League
Published 29th April 2012
Saturday morning’s favourites West Auckland Town lost the game they needed to win title at Ashington, and with Moors beating Billingham Synthonia 2-0 at the Brewery Field, then Moors will win their third successive title if they beat Dunston UTS at the Brewery Field on Monday night.
However, if Dunston win and also win on Thursday at Sunderland RCA, then they will be champions for the first time in seven years.
But if Moors and Dunston draw tomorrow, then West will be champions, while they’re playing their league Cup semi-final against Bedlington Terriers.
Moors manager Jason Ainsley said: “I thought we were poor in the first half, even though we scored twice, but when word came through that West were losing then it became a different game, and there was more urgency about our play.
“The result was more important than the performance. Nobody gave us a chance of winning the league nine games ago, but we’ve won those nine games and given ourselves a massive opportunity of winning the league.
“Tomorrow will be a winner-takes-all cup final. Every Northern league follower couldn’t have asked for a better end to the season.”
Moors took the lead after 20 minutes when Gavin Cogdon was brought down in the Synners` box, and he scored from the spot, and on 39 minutes Stephen Richardson ran through and lobbed Josh Moody in the Synners` goal.
In the second half, Craig Ruddy hit the post before he went off injured, and Cogdon hit the crossbar.
Billingham Synthonia assistant-manager Lee Tucker said: “A poor penalty decision and an own goal was the difference between the two sides. Overall I think they deserved the three points but we have a lot to be positive about.”
West Auckland lost 3-1 at Ashington, and to make matters worse, skipper and top scorer Mattie Moffat suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone.
West Auckland manager Peter Dixon said: “Ashington worked very hard, and their desire as better than ours. We knew it would be difficult - their celebrations were unbelievable at the final whistle.
“I don’t think Mattie will be a doubt for Wembley. If he only had one leg, he would play. The game means too much to him.”
It maybe wasn’t going to be West’s day when Moffat had an early penalty saved by Ashington keeper Karl Dryden after Micky Rae was brought down, but Moffat made amends a few minutes later when he headed in Jonny Gibson’s cross.
However, almost immediately Ashington striker Marc Walton got through and beat Mark Bell in the West goal for the equaliser.
There were chances at both ends, and Ashington took a crucial lead on 75 minutes when Walton finished a good move, and five minutes from the end, he lobbed the keeper to complete his hat-trick.
Dunston had a good 1-0 away win at Shildon to put them five points behind West with two games in hand. Manager Billy Irwin is playing down his team’s chances, and said: “I was very pleased with the performance, because it was good improvement on our previous two. Hearing about West’s defeat was an added bonus for us. Tomorrow will be a massive game, in front of a big crowd. The league couldn’t have asked for a better finish to the season.”
Both sides had chances in an end to end first half, but it was Dunston who scored the only goal of the game when Chris Swailes headed in a right wing cross just on half time.
Shildon had more of the play in the second half, but couldn’t break through a stubborn Dunston defence that kept its twentieth clean sheet of the season.
Shildon manager Gary Forrest said: “The lads gave it a right good go, and we missed a lot of chances. But once they went in the lead, we found it difficult to break them down.”
Bishop Auckland striker Andy Johnson finished as the division’s top scorer with thirty-nine when he scored one of his side’s goals in their 2-0 home win over Guisborough Town.
Arran Wearmouth put Bishops into the lead after 10 minutes when he controlled a 40 yard pass from Darren Richardson and fired past the Guisborough keeper into the bottom corner.
Guisborough missed a couple of chances to equalise, but Bishops scored their second just after half-time when Steve Salvin was brought down, and Johnson scored from the spot.
Johnson was denied his fortieth when he had a goal disallowed for offside.
Bishop Auckland manager Colin Myers said: “It was a typical end of season game, and that we had enough to beat them. I thought we always looked likely to score more goals.”
Guisborough manager Chris Hardy said: “This was a good example of our season to date, lots of controlled possession for long periods of the game, but the cutting edge needed to kill games off was sadly missing.”
Johnson finishes six ahead of Consett striker Michael Mackay, who drew a scoring blank in their 2-0 home defeat by Newcastle Benfield.
Consett fell behind after 37 minutes when John Alexander fired past Consett keeper Peter Jameson after cutting in from the right, and after Jack Stanger hit the crossbar for Consett, Alexander made sure of the points from the penalty spot.
Consett manager Ken Lindoe said; “It was typical of most of the season. We weren’t tight enough at the back and not clinical enough at the other end. We gave away a poor goal defensively in the first half, created some good chances in the second till the ref sealed the game when he was conned into giving them a soft penalty with 15 to go .Glad my worst ever season is finally over.”
Newcastle Benfield manager Perry Briggs said: “It was good to end the season on a high, because the players have been through a lot this season.”
Jarrow Roofing are definitely relegated after Penrith failed to avoid a twelve-goal defeat at South Shields, instead losing by just the only goal of the game, scored by Stephen Ramsey after 75 minutes.
South Shields manager Jon King said: “It’s great that we moved up four places to thirteenh. We didn’t really get going against Penrith, but three points are what count.”
In the other game, Bedlington beat Norton & Stockton Ancients 2-1 at Dr Pit Welfare.
Norton took the lead when Nathan Mulligan fired home after 32 minutes, but Anthony Shandran equalised with his thirty-first league goal of the season from a Glenn Robson pass.
And right at the death, former Hartlepool defender Jon Brackstone fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.