Ray Simpson`s Northern League Round-Up

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West Auckland Town manager Steve Skinner blasted his players after they were beaten 3-0 in their local derby Newton Aycliffe in the Ebac Northern League First Division on Saturday.

West are nervous about being sucked into the bottom three, and they felt even worse after a poor second half performance.

“I’m very angry and disappointed,” said Skinner. “We conceded a poor goal in the first five minutes, then after that we had plenty of chances but just couldn’t score or get that little bit of luck.

“The second half was embarrassing with a lack of everything – passion, heart and commitment. It was scary to watch. I have never been involved in a team like that in my football history with players who can’t take responsibility. I even questioned myself whether it was me, but from the reaction of the players after the game I know it’s not.

“There is just nothing there at all. We need a lot of luck to stay in the league after Saturday’s show unless the penny drops with them on Tuesday when we play Jarrow Roofing.”

Jamie Owens fired Aycliffe into the lead after 2 minutes, but West missed a couple of chances to equalise with Tommy Marron going close.

Aycliffe took command in the second half with Ben Wood and Owens both going close again, before Owens made it 2-0 from close range. Josh Gray then got the third with a deflected shot.

West have now conceded more than a century of goals in the league this season.

Newton Aycliffe joint-manager Deano Browne said; “We scored an early goal that set the game up for us, but West had lots of possession in the first half but didn’t manage to create much because of our good shape and resolute defending. We came out the second half and were much the better side. Josh Gray changed the game when he came on and after missing four or five chances we scored two more goals and were comfortable winners.”

Bishop Auckland manager Steve Riley was also furious with his players after they were beaten 2-1 at home by Sunderland RCA.

“Simply put, the players didn’t have enough desire or heart against an average first division side who wanted to work hard for each other,” he fumed. “We didn’t do well enough at both ends of the pitch. A few players looked like they were already on summer holidays when in reality they’re playing for their futures at the club.”

The RCA took the lead on 38 minutes when former Bishop player Jonny Butler finished off a good move, but Bishops levelled just on half time, when Michael Hoganson set up Andre Bennett to score with a low shot.

However, Bishops, who are still in sixth place, fell away in the second half, and they were beaten when Steve Callen scored from a cross by Jonny Davis.

Sunderland RCA manager Marty Swales said; “It was a great performance, a thoroughly deserved win. It’s always nice to win against your old team.”

Shildon couldn’t stop North Shields going fourteen points clear with six games remaining at the top of the table in a 3-0 defeat.

Ryan Carr gave Shields the lead from a couple of yards after Dan Wilson hit the post from a free-kick.

Shields went 2-0 up midway through the second half when Curtis Coppen headed in from a Michael McKeown free-kick, and after Lewis Wing went close for Shildon, Coppen headed a third from another McKeown cross, their 100th goal in the league this season.

Shildon manager Bobby Moore said; “We dominated possession but couldn’t make it count. Shields defended and scored three set-pieces.”

North Shields manager Jon McDonald said; “It was a great three points against a really good side. We were worthy winners.”

Guisborough Town still haven’t won in 2017 after they were beaten 5-2 at Dunston UTS, and they are still ten points adrift of safety.

Scott Heslop put Dunston into the lead from the spot following a foul, but Guisborough levelled with a Louis Goldsack effort.

Ben Hugill headed Guisborough back into the lead from a Steve Roberts cross, but then they collapsed in the second half.

Dale Burrell levelled on 67 minutes, then Liam Thear found the bottom corner to put Dunston into the lead. It was 4-2 with a header by Steve Richardson, and Burrell completed the scoring.

Dunston UTS manager Chris Swailes said; “It was a good result especially coming from behind at half time.”

Guisborough manager Gary Forster said; “It was a good performance by us in the first half, but we were woeful in the second. Dunston played the conditions much better than us. We lack experience through the side.”

Marske United’s eight-game winning run came to an end when they were beaten 4-3 at home by Penrith.

Ashley Coffey headed Marske into an early lead, but Martyn Coleman quickly equalised.

Marske then had Curtis Round sent-off for punching an opponent, but that didn’t stop Marske going back in front with a Craig Gott penalty 8 minutes before half-time.

Penrith levelled on 56 minutes through Bobby Atkinson from close range, but Danny Earl regained the lead for Marske from a Lee Brockbank assist.

Marske missed further chances before sub Shaun Gardner levelled for Penrith, and with 3 minutes left Coleman scored the winner.

Marske manager Carl Jarrett said; “I’m absolutely gutted for the lads. The referee made a bad decision in sending off Curtis Round after 25 minutes. We were ahead three times, and I thought we should have had something out of the game but that’s football. Really proud of the lads.”

Bottom club Chester-le-Street lost 4-2 at Jarrow Roofing, who are now unbeaten in six.

Paul Chow headed Roofing into the lead from a corner, but Joseph Hailes levelled for Chester from a rebound.

Anth Myers put Roofing back in front after Dan Kirkup headed on, then sub Dennis Knight curled a shot into the bottom corner for 3-1.

Calvin Smith scored the fourth from a Knight corner. Dominic Laws scored a late consolation for Chester, who are twelve points adrift of safety.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake said; “It was a game of two halves again from us. We more than matched Jarrow in the first half and then collapsed in the second. We conceded three goals from set-pieces which just isn’t good enough. Another disappointing Saturday night!”

Jarrow Roofing manager Richie McLoughlin said; “It was hard game. Chester had the better of the first half, but Roofing had the better of the second and played well.”


The game between Morpeth Town and West Allotment Celtic was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch less than an hour before kick-off – the second time in four days that had happened to Morpeth.

In the Second division, Team Northumbria scored a stoppage time winner against Easington Colliery to keep them three points clear at the top.

Scott Gunn put Team North in front from a corner 4 minutes after half-time, but Jack Pounder levelled from a David Paul assist.

But just as it looked as if Team North would drop points, former Easington player Aiden Heywood scored the winner 4 minutes into stoppage time.


Billingham Synthonia are now second after they won 1-0 at Alnwick Town, Macauley Langstaff scoring from an assist by Anthony Peacock.

Alnwick had Sammy Perez red carded.

Stockton’s slip is encouragement for Billingham Town, who beat Thornaby 4-1 in their local derby.

Craig Hutchinson scored a hat-trick to give him 50 goals for the season in all competitions. He put them in front from a penalty for a handball offence, and then he scored his second with a header from a Luke Hogan cross.

Thornaby pulled a goal back thanks to a Gary Mitchell penalty, but Hutchinson completed his hat trick with another spot kick after he was fouled.

Elliott Beddow finished off Thornaby, who are now just three points above the bottom two.

Billingham Town manager Barry Oliver said; “The result was massive for us. I thought we let them off the hook too much and the score should have been more but I’m pleased that we’re back to winning ways and hope that this is a confidence lift after a downbeat two weeks.”

Thornaby manager Paul Burton said; “I was disappointed with the result, but I thought overall we played quite well. Individual mistakes seem to be costing us in every game at the moment, I can honestly say that every goal conceded today could have been easily avoided.”

Durham City’s promotion chances have now gone after they lost 3-1 at home to Blyth Town.

Dan O’Reilly put Durham into the lead, but Gary Day levelled before half-time.

Malky Morien scored twice for Blyth in the last 15 minutes.

Durham manager Olly Hotchkiss said; “We’re disappointed with the result as we deserved a draw, but individual errors have cost us. I’m proud of the players as the performance was positive. Fair play to Blyth who are a great outfit and have some top players who punished us towards the end of the game.”

In the fight to avoid the bottom two, Darlington RA had a big 1-0 win over Bedlington Terriers, Andrew Lonsdale scoring the goal that mattered right on half-time.

The RA’s win put them third bottom, a point ahead of Ryton, and five ahead of bottom club Esh Winning.

Darlington RA manager Peter Mulcaster said; “It was a great result. I was very pleased with the performance especially as we could have been 3-0 down in the first 15 minutes but we got our game plan working and in the end, deserved the win.”

Crook Town drew 2-2 at Brandon United, and are now unbeaten in their last four matches.

Kyle Wren put Brandon into the lead from a free-kick, but Crook levelled with an own goal in a goalmouth scramble.

Brandon went back in front again with a clearance that rebounded off Dan Quine into the Crook net, but Crook levelled through Daniel Pigg with two minutes left.

Crook manager Wilf Constantine said; “It was a very hard game in atrocious conditions, but we came back to earn a very important point which was well deserved.”

Willington lost 3-0 at home to Heaton Stannington, for whom Jonathan Wright, Dean Imray and Josh Holland scored.

Willington manager Rob Lee said; “We worked hard today, the difference was the finishing. Three good finishes. We had to change the team around after ten minutes because of injury.”

Whickham had their best win of the season, beating Hebburn Town 7-0 at the Glebe, with Mark Fitzpatrick scoring a hat-trick, and Ross Nicholson (2) David Clasper and John Martin getting the goals.

Hebburn manager Scott Oliver said; “It was always going to be a tough game with so many players missing, but Whickham were good and we certainly weren’t”.

Ray Simpson


About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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