Tag Archives: Stockton

A week of quality fixtures (28/01 – 03/02)

Yorkshire vs Ellan Vannin (28/01) – International Friendly

York City vs Boro Rangers (30/01) – North Riding Cup

Stockton Town vs Stourport Swifts (03/02) – FA Vase

It’s been a week of quality fixtures in the North / North East of England, and I was lucky enough to have time off work to visit three of them. The exciting prospect of a bit of travel was required, but it was bound to be worth it!

Sunday 28th was the first fixture of this hectic six day schedule, as Yorkshire hosted Ellan Vannin at Hemsworth MWCFC. Despite finishing work at 7am, I made it down Fitzwilliam at 14:30 after a smooth 90 minute drive. There was no way I’d ever miss Yorkshire’s debut on the International stage, so just four hours sleep was a sacrifice I had to make (Red Bull became an absolute god send).

I wasn’t too sure what to expect as I walked through a very smart looking housing estate towards the entrance to the Yorkshire Nu Builds Stadium. As I walked in, I was surrounded by a sea of Yorkshire’s Blue and Ellan Vannin’s Red – As well as countless camera crews from groups such as Channel 4 and even Paddy Power, the main sponsors of this year’s CONIFA World Cup in London.

Yorkshire’s team had only previously trained together once due to the weather, and Ellan Vannin were ranked 4th in the CONIFA world rankings, so I had no idea how the game would go.

The game finished 1-1, with Yorkshire coming from behind to grab a deserved draw. Probably a fair result after the effort both sides had put in, but Yorkshire definitely had the best chances. 627 spectators were in attendance, a few flares were lit, and the atmosphere was bouncing from before kick off until after it. It’s just 28 days until Yorkshire’s next game as they look to win their first game. I’ll definitely be there, but the opposition is yet to be confirmed.

The second fixture I managed to get to was between York City and Boro Rangers in the North Riding Cup on Tuesday 30th. Our sponsored player James Dillon was in action against a young York City side boasting a number of players with first team experience. The Boro Rangers supporters were out in force, with choruses such as ‘Stu Rose on fire’ bellowing for the whole 90 minutes, confidently out singing the York City supporters.

York City ‘Reserves’ won the game 2-1, just. A completely 50/50 game saw both sides have quality chances, with just an unfortunate own goal deciding the tie. Boro Rangers had fought back from a goal down, after York’s Harry Thompson’s header was equalled by Ranger’s Nathan Liddell. Boro Ranger’s Ste Keenan turned an Aaron Haswell cross into his own goal to make it 2-1 to York, and that’s how it finished.

A brilliant advert for the North Riding Football League, and an extraordinary result for the away side who gave it their all for the whole 90 minutes and will be phenomenally proud of what they’ve achieved. James Dillon was given Boro Ranger’s MOTM, and it was thoroughly deserved!

And, finally, in the FA Vase, Stockton Town hosted Stourport Swifts. 663 spectators packed the ground to see which side would get into the last 8 of the competition. Stockton Town, in only their second season in the competition, would have to be at their very best to get past a Swifts side who, despite a quality cup run, are struggling in the Midlands Premier League, sitting 18th in a league of 22 teams.

I’ve been following Stockton’s cup run as much as I possibly could have this season, having previously been at their game against AFC Liverpool – a very loud and purple affair. I missed their game against West Auckland due to work, but I’m determined to follow Stockton on their road to Wembley as much as I possibly can.

A first class performance from every member of Stockton’s side earned them a justified 3-0 win against a Stourport Swifts who never really got going. A place in the Quarter Final awaits Stockton Town, with Marske United also joining them in the draw. 500+ mile round trips await our Northern Sides if they’re drawn away to southern outfits Thatcham Town or Bracknell Town, but I’m sure that won’t put off with the chance of getting into the last four of this national competition at stake!

All in all, a quality six days of fixtures, with some fixtures I’m unlikely to see again. The North of England was exceptionally well represented, with each side giving their all to get a result.


A morning in the Sunday League.

One of my biggest regrets since starting ‘NE Non League’ was my struggle to get down to a Sunday League game. Whether it was due to work commitments, or weather related postponements, I’ve not been able to get to a Sunday game. A lack of social media presence from a lot of the teams, and somewhat outdated league websites, made finding a game to get to all that more difficult.

So, when I saw Spennymoor Voltigeur (Volti) tweet they had a home fixture against high flying Barnard Castle, I knew I had to get down to it. The third of three games in three days, this was the fixture I was most looking forward to. A step into the unknown for myself, Sunday league is something I’ve never ventured into.

Maybe the only downside to this fixture, and indeed a lot of Sunday League fixtures, was the 10:30am kick off. But the excitement definitely made up for the 20 mile, or so, each way journey over the Tudhoe Playing Fields, home of Spennymoor Volti.

As we arrived (myself and my groundhopping counterpart / fiancée), we went for a little walk around the field. I often observe the pre-match warm-ups of both sides, and it was clear that everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed what they were doing. Something I feel I often don’t see in the Saturday leagues, everyone got along and knew what they had to do.

At around 10:20, I heard a shout of ‘ready when you are, Ref’. This was something I obviously had never seen before, but I loved the relaxed approach to the game. Everyone involved was keen to get started, and it was clear from the off that every player on the pitch was determined to get the best possible result.

Usually, as I prepare to do a write up for a game, I’ll have a scan on Twitter, or do a rough headcount, to get a figure of the game’s attendance. Well, there were three people watching. Myself, my fiancée and a lovely gentleman, who I managed to have a lovely chat with about the team and the local area.

Unaware of the league positions of the two teams involved, I had a look at the thoroughly updated Wear Valley Sunday League website. The away side, Barnard Castle, were sat pretty at the top of the league, having played 16 games and having a goal difference of +53. Spennymoor Volti, also sitting in the top half of the league, were forth in the league with a -5 goal difference.

Knowing we could be in for a goal fest, we took our places on a fence closest to the home side’s goal. Unfortunately for the home team, Barnard Castle started the game very confidently, and took the lead after a minute. The away side had obviously come here with a plan and put it into operation straight away. Their pressure also continued after the first goal as they peppered the home goal with shots from any possible angle.

It’s very rare that you’re able to hear the communication between the players, but it was refreshing to know what they were thinking. Obviously the home side were getting frustrated, but they continued to play quite well, having chances of their own. Barnard Castle also kept their attacking up, ending up putting the ball in the back of the net two more times before half time, ‘going in’ 3-0 up.

I quotation marked ‘going in’ simply because the players just had a drink, got some words off of their managers, and got back to it as quickly as they possibly could, which I admired. It caught me off guard though, as I’d gone back to my car to get a drink, and missed the start of the second half, just. Looking for a different angle to watch the second half, we picked the swings at the back of the field, right next to the now away team’s goal. This put us in a good position to watch the game, close to a break in the fence to return the ball if it rolled under, and it unleashed the child in me as I attempted to swing as high as I could.

As I was swinging though, I thought to myself that there can’t be too many places where you can sit on a swing and watch a great game of Football for free. Kind of another reason why I’m leaning more towards Sunday League than Saturday, more of the community turned up for the second half. Ranging from talking to the manager, to practicing fly fishing (yes, really), it seemed everyone in the surrounding area had ventured down to watch the Football.

Early in the second half, Barnard Castle struck a fourth goal, and it looked like there was no way back for the Volti. Getting caught up playing with a local’s dog, I missed a fifth Barnard Castle goal, but did manage to watch them miss a penalty soon afterwards.

As I resumed my focus on the game, I watched the Volti have some real chances on goal, but nothing fell kindly for them, and Barnard Castle capitalised on this by scoring a sixth goal with more or less the last kick of the ball.

A great advert for Sunday League, however! Obviously not the result Spennymoor Volti wanted, but an entertaining game for the neutral. I met some lovely people, watched a game with six goals, a penalty miss, didn’t pay a penny but petrol, and I watched it all whilst sitting on swings. This one experience alone is more than enough to convince me that Sunday League definitely deserves more of a chance than its getting.

I just want to say thank you to Spennymoor Volti for having me, and offering me a team sheet before the game. I thought, with it all being new to me, I’d go with a different style of writing to accommodate it. I’ll definitely do my best to get down to Tudhoe Playing Fields again, and a few other fixtures in Wear Valley Sunday Leagues. I’m definitely a bit more determined to give the Sunday League the coverage it deserves!

Stockton Town vs Seaham Red Star (Durham Challenge Cup) – 04/01/2017

Stockton Town: 1 – Liam Jordan, 2 – Matthew Garbutt, 3 – James Ward, 4 – Joe Scaife Wheatley, 5 – Adam Nicholson, 6 – Tom Coulthard, 7 – Fred Woodhouse, 8 – Steven Roberts (C), 9 – Joe Carter, 10 – Kallum Hannah, 11 – Kevin Hayes, 12 – Alan Cassavella, 14 – Chris Dunwell, 15 – Joe Posthill, 16 – Sonny Coleman, 17 – Tony Johnson.

Seaham Red Star: 1 – Shaun Newbrook (C), 2 – Jack Walker, 3 – Thomas Price, 4 – Andrew Johnson, 5 – Kieran Gilbraith, 6 – Bradley Staunch, 7 – David Palmer, 8 – Nicholas Kane, 9 – Craig Lynch, 10 – Luke Proctor, 11 – Robbie Bird, 12 – Airon Duell, 14 – Lee Heatherington, 15 – David Scorer, 17 – Craig Price.


Tonight, I was at Stockton’s Bishopton Road West for their Durham Challenge Cup game against Seaham Red Star. Seaham being a league above Stockton gives the home team a great opportunity to find out what they could face next season if they keep their league form up. Stockton were in their usual yellow home kit, and Seaham were in their less familiar blue kit.

As Stockton kicked off the game, it was the home team who had the first opportunity of the game. Forcing a corner, the ball was floated in to Stockton’s number 5, and ever present figure in the home defence, Adam Nicholson, who headed over.

Seaham’s first chance came in the fifth minute, as their right back, Jack Walker, cut inside following some smart play and fired straight at Stockton’s Liam Jordan.

As Seaham continued their pressure, the ball fell to the number 8, Nicholas Kane, who fed the ball through smartly to his attacking colleague, Craig Lynch, who fired straight at Jordan. Unable to hold the initial shot, Lynch pounced on the rebound and prodded it low into the back of the net, to make it 1-0 to the away team.

Seaham looked like a well oiled machine as Stockton kicked off again, keeping the same solidity as they had at the start of the game. Standing strong at the back, Stockton were restricted to long range efforts. Stockton’s Fred Woodhouse managed to set up the number 11, Kevin Hayes, who managed to shoot high and wide, with the ball actually leaving the ground.

As the rain slowly started to come down, it was Stockton who continued to lose the ball cheaply, with Seaham continuing to capitalise on weak passes. The Stockton players were obviously frustrated, and maybe took it out on their teammates, with no positive encouragement to be heard at all, but a barrage of insults every time one lost the ball.

It was Stockton who managed to create the next real chance of the game, however. Hayes passing the ball over to Kallum Hannah, who cleverly managed to turn and shoot at goal, forcing Seaham’s Newbrook into a reflex save down to his bottom right. Nothing came from the resulting corner, but a glimpse of goal that Stockton desperately needed as the game was getting away from them.

As Seaham received the ball, after some smart play in the midfield, the ball was passed through to Luke Proctor, whose pot shot was blocked in the area. The ball kindly fell to Craig Lynch, who controlled the ball with his chest, before slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of Jordan’s goal to double the away team’s advantage, 2-0.

Stockton, again, looking for a way back into this game, and really rallied to start putting the pressure on Seaham. The one noticeable chance they had to get one on the board before half time fell to captain Steven Roberts, whose shot was saved for a corner. The resulting corner lead to Fred Woodhouse having a well struck shot, but wide of the goal.

So, Stockton went in at half time trailing Seaham 2-0, in a half only just edged by the away team. In the few games I’ve seen of Stockton before, they always come out after half time with a real desire to chase the ball down when they’ve not got it, and make chances, so anything could still happen at this point.

And it was Stockton who started the second half the stronger of the two teams. The first meaningful attack of the half was lead by Stockton’s Hayes, again, who smartly won a corner for the home team. The resulting corner was cleared confidently by Seaham, but Stockton did manage to win a free kick 25 yards out, after reclaiming the ball. Hayes took the free kick, but this was straight at Newbrook.

Stockton had definitely started the second half with much more desire than the first, but were still making avoidable mistakes. In roughly the 72nd minute, the ball came to Seaham substitute, David Scorer, who managed to feed the ball through to Luke Proctor, who held the ball up well in the area. Proctor managed to drag the ball back to Robbie Bird, who finished well past Jordan to make it 3-0.

Just three minutes later, it was Seaham who capitalised again on some weak Stockton play. Seaham’s David Palmer managed to run the ball into the area with little challenge, and held the ball up on the by-line. Putting in a perfectly weighted ball, another substitute, Airon Duell managed to strike a volley into the ground, but with enough power that it bounced up and looped over the helpless Liam Jordan to make it 4-0 to Seaham.

And, in keeping with the way the game had gone so far, it was Seaham who had the last meaningful play of the evening. Number 10, Luke Proctor, my personal man of the match, very smartly carried the ball through two of Stockton’s midfield by dummying them, before feeding Robbie Bird, who struck a well hit shot towards goal. Bird’s shot managed to again loop over Liam Jordan, who had no chance in keeping out the left footed shot. 5-0 to the away team, and no way back for Stockton.

As the final whistle sounded, it was Seaham who progressed to the next round of the Durham Challenge Cup. A real eye opener for Stockton, who may be facing teams of this quality each week if they manage a promotion this season. Good luck to both teams for the remainder of the season!

Preview of Stockton Town vs Seaham Red Star (Durham Challenge Cup) – 04/01/2017

Welcome to game day, as Stockton Town take on Seaham Red Star in the Durham Challenge Cup. One of two DCC fixtures tonight as Billingham Synthonia also take on Hartlepool.

Stockton Town, currently sitting pretty at the top of the Northern League Division 2, welcome a Seaham Red Star side sat in eighth position in the Northern League Division 1, following a 2-1 away loss to Consett in their last game, eight days ago. Stockton faired differently in their last fixture, as they travelled up to Easington Colliery and left with all three points following a comfortable 5-1 win.

To get to this point in the competition, Stockton had to overcome a Darlington 1883 side boasting a mixture of first team players, reserves and some of their under 18s. A fairly dominant display saw Stockton Town win 3-0. Seaham’s route into the current round was also backed by a confident performance, a 5-2 home victory against Sunderland West End. Watched by 52 spectators, the home side swept aside a Sunderland West End side that play in the same league as their Reserves.

Kick off at Stockton’s Bishopton Road West is at 19:30, and I’ve never been disappointed when I’ve travelled over for a game, so it should be a really good match. Hope to see you all there!

(Full match write up will be up within a few hours of the final whistle).

Stockton Town vs Team Northumbria – 14/12/2016

Stockton Town: 1 – Michael Arthur, 2 – Matthew Garbutt, 3 – Jimmy Ward, 4 – Alan Cossavella, 5 – Adam Nicholson (C), 6 – Tom Coulthard, 7 – Fred Woodhouse, 8 – Max Craggs, 9 – Joe Carter, 10 – Kallum Hannah, 11 – Kevin Hayes, 12 – Tony Johnson, 14 – Joe Scaife Wheatley, 15 – Sonni Coleman, 16 – Chris Dunwell, 17 – Steven Roberts.

Team Northumbria: 1 – Steven Mundy (C), 2 – Nick Green, 3 – Aiden Haywood, 4 – Harry Jewett, 5 – Liam McNamara, 6 – Robert Grainley, 7 – Kevin Carr, 8 – Robert Spence, 9 – Daniel Taggart, 10 – Joel Bradley, 11 – Nathan Evans, 12 – Ben Dieb-Fuller, 14 – Michael Saver, 15 – Alex Barnes, 16 – Scott Gunn, 17 – Gerrard Richardson.


After missing last night’s cup fixture between Thornaby and Billingham Synthonia due to work commitments, I chose Stockton’s home league fixture against Team Northumbia as my Football fix. 2nd placed Stockton Town hosted a Team Northumbria side sitting pretty at the top of the Northern League Division 2 with two games in hand.

Team Northumbria’s starting line up boasted a mix of youthful energy and physical experience, as did Stockton’s, so we were definitely in for a great game!

On to kick off, and it was Team Northumbria who started the better of the two teams. Looking calmer on the ball, and knocking the ball around more confidently. The first shot of the game also came to Team Northumbria. Northumbria’s number 11, Nathan Evans, picked the ball up just outside the area and drove a shot towards Stockton’s keeper Michael Arthur, who parried the shot and collected the rebound comfortably.

As Stockton started to settle into the game a bit more, they also started creating some promising chances. Number 8, Max Craggs, fired a low shot at Northumbria’s keeper and Captain Steven Mundy, who parried his shot out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Stockton’s Captain Adam Nicholson headed just over and out for a goal kick.

In the early exchanges, it was Nathan Evans who continued to be the stand out player. In the sixth minute, Evans decided to go alone, taking on four Stockton players, before losing the ball in the area. His desire to run at Stockton Town’s defence was already causing problems, and his teammates were always in position to support him, giving Town a lot of worries early on.

On to the 20th minute, and Stockton got their first real chance of the game. The Team Northumbria defence gave away a soft free kick just outside the area; a perfect position for Max Craggs. Craggs’ shot at goal went just wide. From some angles, it looked like it’d nestled the back of the net. And this was evident as Adam Nicholson prematurely celebrated, only to quickly work out that his teammate hadn’t scored.

And so, in the 28th minute, during a period where both teams were continually attacking but struggling to find a quality shooting opportunity, Northumbria’s Nick Green squeezed a low cross into the area. Controversially, however, as from where we were standing, it looked like the ball had gone out for a throw in. From the cross, Northumbria’s number 9, Daniel Taggart, shot low and hard through the legs of the helpless Michael Arthur, giving the away team the advantage.

Nothing noticeable happened in the remainder of the half, as both teams started to play direct Football, with numerous aerial battles being fought, but not much quality football on show.

As the second half kicked off, it was Stockton Town who started the stronger. After receiving the ball out wide, Stockton’s number 11 Kevin Hayes smartly cut inside and played a very clever through ball to Matthew Garbutt. Garbutt managed to drill a low cross into the area, but was unable to reach any of his teammates. His cross was cleared in front of goal, but probably the best sight of goal Stockton had created thus far.

The game had become very end to end around the 60th minute mark, with both teams looking like they could grab the next goal and, with the score at 1-0, any goal could manipulate the game in either team’s favour. Stockton continued to pile pressure on the Team Northumbria defence, who stood strong and stayed resilient for a long period of the game.

In the 82nd minute, Stockton’s continuous pressure forced a tame back pass from Alex Barnes that was pounced on by Sonni Coleman, who managed to control the ball and finish under Northumbria’s Mundy, levelling the game late on. Maybe a bit unfair on Northumbria, who had played exceptionally well up to this point, but were punished for a momentary lapse in concentration.

Even this late on, it was the type of game that wouldn’t have been right if it ended in a draw. And, from Northumbria’s kick off, it was Stockton who were straight on the attack. A high ball into the area was met by Sonni Coleman, again, who very smartly shot over his head, and over Steven Mundy, giving Stockton a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute, having been losing the game just 5 minutes previously.

The next 10 minutes were all about Stockton who were brilliantly controlling the play, leading the Team Northumbria players to become exceptionally frustrated, but this played into Stockton’s hands even more.

So the game finished 2-1, with Stockton just about edging a relatively tight game, but there were always going to be a few twists in a game between two teams filled with such quality. Good luck to both teams this season, not that you’ll need it if you both keep playing Football like some of the play on show tonight!