The Northern Football League
Published 1st May 2011
...more than enough to win the STL Northern League in previous years.
Consett came from a goal down on Saturday to beat Ashington 2-1 at Belle Vue to pip Whitley Bay for second place behind champions Spennymoor Town, and Hagan said: “It just goes to show how much Spennymoor have raised the bar. When we finished second to Newcastle Benfield two seasons ago, we had eighty-three points, and they had eighty-four.
“Spennymoor have got 100 points this season, and that’s the number that everybody will have to aim for in the future, including ourselves. But again it shows how strong the Northern League is.”
Ashington deservedly took a half-time lead with a strike by Scott Blandford, but half-time sub Gavin Barton levelled with a strike from 20 yards. And Barton, who has re-signed for Consett next season, scored his fifth goal in two games with the winner after 74 minutes, when he neatly deflected a Jamie Poole shot past the Ashington keeper.
Consett’s victory means that Whitley Bay won’t win promotion to the Evo-Stik League, at least by conventional means. Their hopes of finishing in the top two and earning an automatic promotion place were dashed when they were held to a 2-2 draw by champions Spennymoor, after leading 2-0 at one point.
There were plenty of chances in the game, and it was Whitley who had the edge in the first half when David Pounder hit a sweet volley into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Whitley went 2-0 up just after half-time through Craig MacFarlane from a long clearance, but then Moors showed their championship form.
Steve Richardson pulled a goal back with an overhead kick when Calvin Smith nodded down a Craig Ruddy cross, then Whitley keeper Kyle Hayes failed to hold a 25-yarder by Kallum Griffiths, and Craig Hubbard pounced for the equaliser.
Spennymoor manager Jason Ainsley said: “The game was a great advert for Northern League football between the two best footballing teams in the league. I was delighted with the way we came back from 2-0 down. I sincerely hope that Whitley go on to win the FA Vase again next Sunday – if we are going to win the Vase, then we have to learn from them.”
Moors were presented with the championship trophy for the second successive year after the game.
Assuming that Whitley Bay aren’t cherry-picked by the FA for the Evo-Stik League, then West Allotment Celtic will be relegated.
One big plus for Whitley was that Paul Chow seems to be well on the way to recovery from a twisted ankle, and played 67 minutes of the game before being subbed.
Newcastle Benfield finish fourth after they were beaten 3-0 at Dunston UTS.
The home side took the lead just after half-time when Steve Goddard scored from an Ian Herron pass, then Michael Dixon headed past stand in keeper Scott Fenwick. Dixon then set up Michael Hepplewhite to score the third.
Bishop Auckland were held to a 2-2 draw at home by West Allotment Celtic.
Bishops took the lead just on half-time through a Steve Salvin effort that went in off the post, but Allotment levelled with a Michael Latimer penalty on 64 minutes.
Two minutes later Wayne Gredziak put Bishops back in front after he beat a defender and fired low into the net. That seemed to be enough until right at the end, when poor Bishops defending allowed Latimer to level from a few yards.
In the Second Division, North Shields, who have finished fourth, were left to reflect on what might have been after they beat the team who pipped them to promotion, Marske United, by 4-1.
Shields were well on top in the first half, and were 4-0 up inside the first half-hour, with Femi Akinbolu and Andy Hay both scoring two apiece.
Marske pulled one back through Danny Brunskill before half-time.
Guisborough Town, who have finished second, won 4-1 at Gillford Park. The home side took the lead through a David Wallace header, but then defender Matthew Read put through his own goal to level for Guisborough.
Tom Portas, Chris I’Anson and Luke Bythway then scored for Guisborough as the Priorymen took charge.