Tag Archives: Whitley Bay

2016/2017 @NE_NonLeague season review.

I started NE_NonLeague back in November and, despite usually working 6 days a week, I managed to get to numerous games at 17 grounds across the North East of England. And whilst I didn’t do nearly as much writing as I would’ve liked, I’ve got plenty to summarise as the season draws to it’s conclusion.

So here’s my best, and my worst, of the 2016/2017 season:

Best result – Guisborough Town vs Whitley Bay (2-1).

Way back in November, promotion chasing Whitley Bay visited a struggling Guisborough Town side. Separated by 18 places in the league, and with both side’s recent form taken into account, I think a lot of the spectators, as well as myself, were a bit pessimistic of Guisborough’s chances. At this time, Guisborough were managerless, and hadn’t won in their last 13 attempts.

In just the 5th minute, Whitley Bay took the lead after dominating the game’s opening exchanges. But a goal before half time, and a 66th minute winner for Dave Onions, gave Guisborough a shock win. Despite everything being against Guisborough on paper, The Priorymen dug deep and grabbed a great result!

Best value for money – Coxhoe Athletic vs Cleator Moor (0-3).

My visit to Coxhoe was my first ever Wearside League game, so I was unaware of how much entry and any extras would be. To my surprise, entrance was only £3, which you really can’t go wrong with!

So, for this visit, £5.50 got me entrance to the game, a sizeable portion of chips, a hot chocolate, and a 3-0 swing in the away team’s favour. Some places I’ve been to this season were £11 for entrance alone, so Coxhoe was definitely the best place I’ve been this season in terms of value. And the game wasn’t too bad, too!

Worst game – Billingham Synthonia vs Billingham Town (0-0).

The first of a double header for me back on Boxing Day 2016, I was expecting big things from my first Billingham Derby. But it never really happened!

The game finished as a very dull 0-0, with neither team doing anything special to edge the game. And, whilst I wouldn’t want to see any fighting on the pitch, it was nowhere near as feisty as I would’ve expected from two local rivals fighting for promotion.

Best new ground – York City’s Bootham Crescent vs Brackley Town (1-0)(FA Trophy).

Having been to games hosted at Premier League grounds, and games played on fields in Spennymoor, I think I’ve seen a variety of what the North East has to offer. But York City’s Bootham Crescent now holds a special place in my heart, having visited back in February for their FA Trophy Quarter-Final game against Brackley.

Whilst the game left a lot to be desired (a solitary first half Jon Parkin header the difference), the ground continually intrigued me and I loved exploring whenever I could during half time and after the final whistle.

There were numerous places to get food, and their club shop was the most professional I’ve seen in Non League as a whole. If you haven’t been to Bootham Crescent before, I definitely suggest it.

Entrance to watch the future FA Trophy winners was just £8 for this game and I thoroughly enjoyed my day!

Best individual performance – Lewis Wing (Shildon AFC) vs Guisborough Town.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dull game when I’ve travelled over to the KGV, and this game was no exception. The game finished 4-2, and Shildon finished with 10 men, but it was the performance of Shildon’s Lewis Wing that was the talking point for the 140 spectators.

Wing scored the first hattrick I’d seen all season, and I think it’ll take me a while to see a better one anytime soon. Wing’s three exceptional finishes, including a 25 yard screamer that swerved away from Guisborough’s Jordan Nixon at the last second, and his absolute control of the game, left everyone talking about his performance.

To cap off an exceptional season, including 21 more league goals, Wing has signed a contract with Middlesbrough U23s and looks destined for bigger things. At Shildon’s presentation night, Wing picked up ‘Supporters player of the year’, ‘Performance of the season’, ‘Top goal scorer’ and ‘Player’s player of the year’.


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my season with NE_NonLeague, and I hope the page continues to progress in the same direction. as it has done last season. As far as pre-season goes, I’ve seen a lot of exciting fixtures that I’ll be aiming to get to, including Whitby Town hosting AZ Alkmaar. Next season is set to be great and I’ll be there for every step of it!



Guisborough Town vs Whitley Bay

Guisborough Town: Dawson, Roddam (capt), Ferguson, Wood, Bythway, Poole, Orritt, Blake, Onions (sub Bath 73 mins), Youldon, Smith (sub Roberts 59 mins).


Whitley Bay: Flynn, Munro, McDonald, Allen, Keltie, Anderson, Potter, Haley, Robertson, Kemptster, Fryatt, Patton. C, Patton K, Shanks, Moore.


Today I was at the home of Guisborough Town, The King George V Stadium, to watch their league encounter against high flying Whitley Bay. Separated by 18 places in the league, Whitley definitely looked the favourites to bag the three points. Managerless Guisborough, who hadn’t won a game in their last 13 attempts, would seriously have to dig in to get anything out of this.

Definitely not an undercover Whitby Town scout, Jamie Poole and James Dawson were definitely on my list of players to watch. Jamie made a huge difference in the Seasider’s relegation battle last season, sitting right in the centre of defence. Former Hartlepool youth player James Dawson was signed by Whitby after he impressed at an open session at Northfield School in Billingham. A session I managed to get to, he was by far the biggest talent on show, and former Guisborough Manager Chris Hardy wasted no time in snapping him up.

As the game started, both teams showed real attacking intent. In the 2nd minute, great play from Guisborough’s number 11, Connor Smith, forced a courageous block from the Whitley defence. After that came 3 minutes of exceptionally poor attempted through balls from both teams, all easily cleared by the respective defences.

On the 5th minute, a seemingly innocent cross field ball was smartly intercepted by Whitley Bay. The ball fell to their number 10, Alex Kempster, who’s darting run left the Guisborough defence stranded. Kempster then finished smartly under James Dawson to make it 1-0 to the visitors. At this point, Whitley looked a real force to be reckoned with and I was a bit pessimistic about Guisborough’s chances.

Following the goal, Whitley continued to pile on the pressure, forcing a succession of defensive clearances from Guisborough, all resulting in corners that were easily dealt with. James Dawson did take a knock to the head during this little spell, but seemed to be alright after a few minutes.

Whilst Whitley Bay were firmly in the driving seat, they did seem vulnerable to the counter attack. At some points, all 10 of their outfield players were in the Guisborough half, as they tried to capitalise on their dominance. Some composed defending, including some very intelligent play from Whitley’s number 6, Callum Anderson, meant Guisborough’s attack would rarely get a sight of goal.

26 minutes had passed, and Whitley Bay had done everything but score a second. Attack after attack, the Priorymen were kept in the game from some luck, and the bravery of James Dawson, who was throwing himself in the way of everything that came his way. Following a simple save from a tame Whitley shot, the ball was played out smartly, and ended up at the feet of Gary Wood, Guisborough’s number 4. Wood had spotted the run of his darting teammate, Smith, and played through a ball I described at the time as ‘unbelievable’. With his left foot, he perfectly curled a ball through to Smith’s feet, leaving the Whitley defence helpless. Smith was now 1 on 1 with the keeper, Tom Flynn, and managed to finish smartly from the edge of the area, with the ball nestling in the bottom right corner. Definitely against the run of play, you could see the jubilation on the player’s faces.

As Whitley kicked off, they continued as they started, looking defensively sound and a real threat going forward, although few chances were made. Guisborough did get into it after a few minutes, and did manage to finish the half the stronger of the two teams. As the referee blew his whistle, the Whitley Bay players were discussing what’d gone wrong, and the Guisborough players were all congratulating each other on a good first half performance. It seemed an impossible game to call, as I’d discussed with a few of the away supporters, but we were all excited for the second half to begin.

At the beginning of the second half, very little in terms of clear goal scoring opportunities were made. A headed chance for Whitley’s Kempster was cleared off the line, although it seemed to be going wide, but that was it for the first 5 minutes. Guisborough were definitely knocking it round more confidently, having taken motivation from their first half display.

Both teams soon started to get in the rhythm of things. A swift counter attack was brought back by the referee, in the 63rd minute, for a shirt pull from Paul Blake, nephew of former Leeds United player Robbie Blake, resulting in a yellow card. From the resulting freekick, Whitley’s Robertson found himself in a promising position in the Guisborough area, but managed to fall over the ball, watching the ball get cleared as he remained on the floor.

The game became a bit bogged down in midfield after this, with both teams misplacing passes. In the 66th minute, the ball fell to the ever reliable feet of Guisborough’s Gary Wood, who again managed to thread a ball through, this time to Dave Onions. Onions controlled the ball well, and managed to get the ball to the by-line, where he beautifully dummied his marker, leaving him for dead. Onions then cut inside and passed the ball into the net, from a very tight angle, giving Guisborough the lead, and prompting huge celebrations from the players and supporters alike. Dave Onions was substituted later in the game, but kept himself on the touchline in order to talk to his teammates, offering constructive advice and motivation, including a shout of ‘when you save, go down’ to his goalkeeper, James Dawson, who heeded his advice.

Guisborough managed to keep the ball well in the 5 minutes of added time the referee had somehow come up with. Keeping the ball in the corner, it was clear just how much the 3 points meant to the team. As the final whistle sounded, all the players were ecstatic, and rightly so. Such a hard fought game against formidable opposition, the players outdid all expectations I and a few others had, lifting themselves off the bottom of the table, at the expense of Chester-Le-Street.



Good luck to Guisborough for the rest of the season – with a team of passionate players on display, like today, I’m sure the rest of the season will keep progressing in a positive fashion, compared to the forgettable start. And commiserations to Whitley Bay. I think you came to Guisborough at the wrong time, but I’m sure you’ll get yourselves back on track!