Sunderland RCA vs Ryhope CW

Had this game finished 0-0, I may have questioned whether it was worth going to a game today. But, a 4-3 result meant that it was worth going to a game. This was my third choice of game for today. My first choice was Willington vs Easington Colliery but that was called off late morning. My second choice was Horden CW vs Hebburn Town Reserves but that too was called off shortly after the game at Willington had been called off. Thankfully, this game went ahead, and it was my second Ryhope derby of the season. Having never seen the two teams in Ryhope play each other before this season, I’ve now been to both fixtures. This game today was my 75th of the season and I’m now 9 ahead of where I was at this point last season. A year ago tomorrow, I watched Sunderland beat Fulham in the Championship. I was thinking of doing East Durham Blue Belles vs Bishop Auckland Ladies Development tomorrow. It would have been a new ground and two new teams in the eighth tier of women’s football! However, it’s already been called off. I probably wouldn’t have bothered anyway. 

Match report:

Sunderland RCA edge seven goal thriller in Ryhope derby

Sunderland RCA edged out Ryhope CW with a 4-3 win in the Ryhope derby at Meadow Park on Saturday afternoon.

On a bitterly cold December afternoon, Nathan O’Neill put RCA ahead inside 70 seconds, but Jack Devlin pulled CW level in the seventh minute.

In an action-packed opening 10 minutes, Kyle Davis regained RCA’s lead.

Devlin pulled the visitors level again in the 35th minute, but it was less than two minutes later when Davis regained RCA’s lead.

Michael Rae pulled Ryhope CW level for a third time in the 51st minute, but O’Neill’s strike soon after ensured RCA took the points.

The win lifts RCA to seventh in Northern League Division One, three points behind fourth placed North Shields.

Upon kick-off, RCA broke the deadlock inside 70 seconds. A fine cross found the unmarked O’Neill, and his glancing header found the bottom corner.

However, with their first chance, in the seventh minute, Ryhope CW equalised. The visitors worked the ball out to Devlin, and he beat two defenders as he drove towards goal. Having looked up, the former Stoke City man drilled a low effort that beat Dimitrios Tsapalos at his near post.

In an action-packed opening eight minutes, RCA regained their lead less than 60 seconds after conceding. A cross was cleared as far as Davis, and he drilled an effort into the net from the edge of the penalty area.

A quiet period then followed with both sides cancelling each other out.

Although the conditions were far from ideal in the first half, they were tropical compared to the second half!

RCA were dealt with a blow just before the half hour mark when Dylan Elliott was forced off with a nasty ankle injury.

In the 33rd minute, RCA had a great chance to double their lead. O’Neill beat the offside trap to race through on goal where he was brought down in the penalty area by goalkeeper Joe Atkinson giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.

However, Atkinson made up for conceding the penalty by producing a superb double save to prevent Colin Larkin’s penalty as well as the immediate rebound.

And, Atkinson’s double save would provide vital as his side pulled level less than two minutes later. A perfectly weighted through ball played Devlin in and he kept his composure to take it round Tsapalos before slotting home.

As if that wasn’t enough for the first half, a superb strike from Davis regained RCA’s lead in the 37th minute. Davis took responsibility of a dangerous free-kick and curled an inch perfect effort off the top of the post, across the line and into the net.

The same man fired over for RCA soon after, before Michael Charlton’s effort was saved by Atkinson.

With the final chance of the first half, Devlin fired a 30-yard free-kick well wide of the RCA goal.

Following the break, Ryhope CW pulled level for a third time in the 51st minute. Ben Riding played a ball over the top, and it picked out Rae through the middle having originally looked as though it was aimed out wide. The former Shildon man charged down on goal before his cool finish pulled the visitors level.

As CW went in search of the lead, a sharp Robbie Bird attack saw the former Seaham man pick out Matty Weirs. He took aim from 16 yards, but a crucial block prevented Weirs.

Soon after, a Ryhope CW free-kick was curled round the wall, but it lacked power and was an easy take for Tsapalos.

In the 58th minute, RCA took the lead for a fourth and final time. Good work out wide resulted with a low cross finding O’Neill, and his first time flicked effort found the bottom corner.

The conditions were nothing short of atrocious in the final half hour with a combination of the bitterly cold wind, sleet and hail all hitting Meadow Park.

Both sides had a penalty shout turned down. An apparent handball in the RCA penalty area saw Ryhope CW’s penalty shout waved away, before O’Neill appeared to be brought down at the other end but the referee waved play on again.

Chris Wallace dragged an effort harmlessly wide for Ryhope CW in the 87th minute, before RCA could have sealed the win in injury time. Tom McAloon was played in on goal but a good Atkinson save denied him, and Davis could only fire the rebound wide.

However, it counted for little as RCA had already secured the three points.

Full-time: Sunderland RCA 4-3 Ryhope CW

Next up for me is Gateshead vs Hartlepool FC on Wednesday.

Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos, Larkin, McNab, Hodgson, Swansbury (c), Page, Charlton, Elliott (Moan, 29′), O’Neill, Kyle Davis, McAloon

Unused subs: Pocklington, Clayton Davis, Lilley, Davison

Ryhope CW: Atkinson, King, Walker, Lay, Riding (c), Trewick, Bird, Kane (Ellis, 74′), Rae, Weirs, Devlin (Wallace, 46′)

Unused subs: Nicholson, Ball, Cocks

Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions

Programme: £1

Attendance: About 100

Can of Coke: £1

Mars Bar: 60p

Referee: Craig Dean

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Sunderland RCA vs Stockton Town

Originally, I was going to do Sunderland vs Walsall last night in the FA Cup second replay. It was only a tenner in and I did quite fancy it. But, I finished University at 4 and I would have just been sitting around until heading over to the match. And that probably would have been sitting in the library so I didn’t bother. If I was in Uni a bit later, I probably would have went. After seeing the result and a few highlights, it didn’t look that good of a game so maybe it wasn’t a big miss. Mind, this game tonight wasn’t a great game either! This game tonight was my 74th of the season and I’m still comfortably ahead of where I was at this point last season. A year ago tomorrow, I watched Hartlepool United lose to Liverpool in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.

Match report:

Stockton edge out Sunderland RCA to progress in League Cup

Stockton Town booked their spot in the fourth round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup on Wednesday night with a 0-1 win at Sunderland RCA.

The single goal came courtesy of a Ross McNab own goal in the 32nd minute.

In truth, it was a poor game that didn’t deserve anything more than a scrappy own goal determining the outcome.

RCA started with recent recruit Tomas Howard working the wing, and Aaron Croft came off the bench in his first game since signing.

Although slight chances came at both ends early on, it was Stockton Town showing some brighter early intent.

Most of their early attacks were going through James Risbrough, but there wasn’t a great deal going on.

In the 12th minute, RCA could have taken the lead. Good football played Clayton Davis in on goal, but his effort was saved by Joshua Moody.

Following a quiet spell, Max Craggs beat one RCA player before drilling an effort not too far over for Stockton.

Stockton’s lead came just after the half hour mark. Craggs whipped a free-kick into the penalty area, and McNab attempted to clear. However, McNab’s attempted clearance was sliced into his own net to put Stockton ahead.

Michael Charlton had a good chance to pull the hosts level in the 39th minute, but he could only scuff an effort wide.

A good save from Dimitrios Tsapalos prevented Stockton of a second soon after, before a dangerous McNab free-kick was dealt with by Stockton Town at the other end.

Following the break, Luke Page had a good chance for the hosts. The former Easington Colliery man was played in on goal in the 55th minute, but Moody matched Page with a good save.

As RCA looked for an equaliser, a deep cross found Dylan Elliott in the 63rd minute. He volleyed the ball back across goal, and it ended up being not far wide.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Sonni Coleman played Mikey Roberts in on goal for the Teessiders, but Roberts could only scuff an effort wide.

Very few efforts were finding the target throughout the game, and it always looked as though Stockton were going to claim a narrow win after taking their first half lead.

Thirteen minutes from time, an RCA cross bounced around the penalty area before eventually dropping kindly to Charlton. He could well have scored, but Moody saved his effort.

Stockton could have doubled their lead deep into added time. A simple ball over to Kevin Hayes would have given him a one-on-one opportunity, but it was cut out.

However, it counted for little as RCA never looked like scoring.

Full-time: Sunderland RCA 0-1 Stockton Town

Next up for me is Willington vs Easington Colliery on Saturday.

Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos, Hodgson, McNab, Preston (McAloon, 68′), Swansbury (c), Page, Clayton Davis (Croft, 82′), Elliott, Kyle Davis, Charlton, Howard

Unused subs: Jury, Larkin, Davison

Stockton Town: Moody, Bulmer, Nicholson (c), Mulligan, Robinson, Cossavella, Woodhouse, Craggs, Roberts (Hayes, 71′), Coleman, Risbrough

Unused subs: Garbutt, Ward, Stockton, Arthur

Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions

Programme: £1

Attendance: 116

Hot dog: £1.50

Can of Coke: £1

Referee: Jack Gordon

Durham Women vs Manchester United Women

There’s always a slight problem on a sunny winter afternoon at Durham Women. If you stand on the far side (where I normally do), you get a good view of the pitch in the sun. But, if the sun is constant, you can barely see without sunglasses. The other option is the stand. You’re protected from the sun there, but it’s about 5 degrees colder and is like a different climate! With this result today, I couldn’t ask for much more from this weekend! Easington won 7-2 yesterday, and then Durham Women beat Manchester United 3-1 today. Perfect! On Friday, I was at Sedgefield Races. It was a rather average day at the races, but a bloke dressed as a turkey won the Christmas jumper competition. Does dressing as a turkey count as a Christmas jumper? I’ll let you ponder on that.

Match report:

Durham Women claim historic win over Manchester United

Durham Women claimed a historic 3-1 win over Manchester United Women at New Ferens Park on Sunday afternoon.

In front of a record crowd of 912, the Wildcats inflicted a first ever league defeat on the Red Devils.

Goals from Becky Salicki, Beth Hepple and Zoe Ness ensured Durham of the historic win, while Manchester’s only response came through an Ella Toone goal.

Nicki Gears was handed a start for Durham, as was recent signing Lisa Robertson meaning Ness and Ellie Christon had to be content with a place on the bench.

Although it was a quiet start, Gears fired wide inside the opening two minutes for Durham. 

Manchester United were attacking constantly in the opening 10 minutes, but Durham were defending well.

Mollie Green shot wide for Man United, before Hepple’s effort at the other end was saved by Siobhan Chamberlain.

The best chance to date came with just over quarter of an hour played. A Manchester United cross was cleared as far as Toone, whose sweetly struck half volley forced a good save from Hannah Reid.

Having been positive, Durham took the lead in the 22nd minute. Hepple whipped a teasing free-kick into the penalty area and Salicki stuck out a boot to turn it into the bottom corner.

The visitors looked for an immediate response, and it almost came when the ball dropped to Charlie Devlin six yards out. However, she could only blaze over.

Toone was next to try her luck but failed to find the target, before a Kirsty Smith effort was blocked.

Just a couple of first half minutes remained when Manchester United pulled level. Sarah Wilson looked to head clear a long ball, but her header went back towards her own goal. Toone latched onto it, and the former Manchester City forward finished well.

Following the break, a couple of dangerous crosses came into both penalty areas, but the defences dealt with them.

Durham could have regained their lead 10 minutes into the second half. Rachel Lee’s cross picked out Gears, but her header darted agonisingly wide.

And, Gears went close again just a minute later with a good Chamberlain save preventing the former West Alabama forward.

In the 57th minute, Green’s handball in the penalty area gave Durham a penalty. After confusion with the referee, Hepple eventually stepped home and tucked the ball into the corner to regain the Wildcats’ lead.

United went in search of another response, but their chances were limited.

Kirsty Hanson fired wide with a half chance in the 65th minute, before Jess Sigsworth’s effort also failed to find the target.

With 20 minutes to play, Green fired a long-range dipping effort just over the bar for the Red Devils.

A host of substitutions slowed the game down, and that was certainly working in Durham’s favour.

A couple of United corners came to nothing, before Katie Zelem fired a good opportunity over the crossbar.

In the 88th minute, Durham wrapped up the historic win. A poor Man United corner was picked up by Kathryn Hill who drove forward. She played a ball over to the free Ness, and the Scotland international did well to weave a way into the penalty area before a cool finish doubled Durham’s advantage.

The win is one that will go down in the history books, and it will be remembered for a long time at New Ferens Park.

The win takes Durham to within one point of United.

Full-time: Durham Women 3-1 Manchester United Women

Next up for me is probably Sunderland vs Walsall on Tuesday night.

Durham Women: Reid, Hill, Holmes, Wilson (c), Salicki, Robertson, Lee (Ness, 74′), Robson, Hepple, Roberts (Dixon, 90′), Gears (Christon, 79′)

Unused subs: Ryan, Borthwick, Knott

Manchester United Women: Chamberlain, Smith, Amy Turner, Millie Turner, Greenwood (c), Zelem, Green, Toone (James, 71′), Hanson (Galton, 78′), Devlin, Arnot (Sigsworth, 46′)

Unused subs: Harris, Ramsey, Palmer, Hartley

Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: £2

Attendance: 912

Teamsheet: Free

Referee: Paul Brown

Durham City vs Easington Colliery

Colliers hit Durham for seven

Easington Colliery hit Durham City for seven with a 7-2 win at Durham’s temporary home of Willington on Saturday afternoon.

Jack Pounder and Liam Adamson collected a hat-trick each in a fine afternoon for the Green Army, and Dan Martin was also on the scoresheet.

It was the second time this season that the Colliers have scored seven past Durham City, having beaten the Citizens 7-0 at home in August.

It wasn’t all well from the off though, as Carl Pottinger put Durham ahead in the 27th minute.

Adamson equalised 10 minutes later, but that was it for the first half.

Pounder put the Colliers ahead on the hour mark, and Martin’s strike made it 1-3 in the 64th minute.

Adamson then added another, before Pottinger pulled a goal back for Durham.

But another Pounder goal made sure of the win, and he and Adamson both scored a late penalty each to wrap up the win.

Kyle Donaldson returned in goal for the Green Army, while Garon Garside came in for the suspended David Vincent.

Although it was a positive opening couple of minutes from the Colliers, Glenn Donaldson could have put Durham ahead in the fourth minute. The former Darlington RA man beat the offside trap, but his scuffed effort was saved by Kyle Donaldson.

In the ninth minute, the Colliers could have taken the lead themsevles. Jake Metcalf found himself with a free header six yards out, but he directed it straight at Peter Wakefield.

Martin had to clear a Pottinger effort off the line soon after, and then Kyle Donaldson produced a fine save to prevent Glenn Donaldson.

It was clear in the first half that Durham had improved since their 7-0 drumming in August.

Pounder fired wide from 35 yards for the Colliers in the 20th minute, before Durham took the lead. Chris Pearson looked to be pushed in the build up, but play continued and a cross eventually found Pottinger who fired home.

Pounder’s powerful header dipped just wide in the 32nd minute, before Adamson pulled the Colliers level. Pounder beat the ‘keeper in a foot race and knocked it past him before charging down on goal. He rather unselfishly squared the ball to Adamson whose simple finish pulled the Colliers level.

Pottinger and Pounder both had efforts saved for either side before the break, and the two sides went into the break level.

The first half was poor from an Easington perspective, but the second half was much better.

Connor Short, Adamson and Pounder all had efforts come to nothing inside the opening five minutes of the second half, before an ambitious 30-yard drive from Pounder forced Wakefield into a good save.

On the hour mark, the Colliers took the lead. A corner was cleared as far as Jak Ashton whose effort was blocked. The ball fell kindly to Pounder, and he stabbed an effort into the bottom corner to put the Green Army in control.

Only four minutes later, Martin doubled Easington’s lead. It came through another corner as Liam Cooke’s dead ball dropped to Martin in the penalty area and he stabbed home through a host of bodies.

Captain Pearson was looking to get in on the act now, and he went close after Pounder had picked him out in the 70th minute.

New signing Keir MacDougall was introduced with 20 minutes from time as he made his debut against his former club.

In the 73rd minute, the Colliers netted their fourth. Ryan Lincoln Barrow’s lovely ball down the line saw Adamson get there before the ‘keeper and his first time stabbed effort trickled into the bottom corner.

However, four minutes later, Durham pulled one back. Pottinger nipped in to meet a corner before Kyle Donaldson, and he steered a header into the corner.

That wasn’t going to put the Colliers off though, and they added a fifth in the 79th minute. Pearson’s cross picked out Pounder, and his glancing header found the far corner.

With just a couple of minutes remaining, good work from Pounder saw him win the Colliers a penalty. He dusted himself down to take responsibility, and he blasted high into the net to collect his hat-trick.

It was his eighth goal in two games against Durham City so far this season!

And, in the 90th minute, another foul in the penalty area gave the Colliers another penalty. Adamson this time stepped up, and his effort was just as good as Pounder’s as he also collected his hat-trick.

A fine second half was what gave the Colliers such a rampant victory, and it means the Green Army have now put 14 past Durham in two games this season!

Full-time: Durham City 2-7 Easington Colliery

Next up for me is Durham Women vs Manchester United Women tomorrow. I can more or less guarantee that tomorrow’s game won’t have nine goals!

Easington Colliery: Donaldson, Metcalf (Lincoln Barrow, 58′), Goundry, Pearson (c), Martin, Garside (Robson, 29′), Short, Liam Cooke (MacDougall, 72′), Pounder, Adamson, Ashton

Unused subs: Freeman, Michael Cooke

Durham City: Wakefield, Mohamed (Hardy, 68′), Whelan, Thomas, Langan, Wymer, Crocher (Overall, 86′), Ventress (Banki, 61′), Pottinger, Donaldson (c), Gibson

Unused subs: Wilson, Dryden

Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions

Programme: No

Attendance: 62

Chips: £1.60

Referee: Sam Parnaby

Hartlepool United vs Ryton & Crawcrook Albion

Although I haven’t been to a game since Sunday, it has been a busy few days. On Monday, I was down at MediaCity in Salford with Uni looking around all the facilities at the BBC. Although MediaCity as a whole is impressive, based on our look round BBC on Monday and our look round Sky Sports in May, Sky Sports impressed me a lot more than the BBC did. Obviously though, BBC isn’t just based at MediaCity. We had a walk over to Old Trafford while we were there. That’s nothing new to me. I’ve been there a couple of times. However, I was surprised by the amount of people taking photo’s at the ground and getting shirts from the club shop on an average Monday afternoon. Football tourism is absolutely massive at the likes of Manchester United. They probably make as much money from the club shop on an average Monday as we do at Easington in a whole in a year! This game tonight was a Durham Challenge Cup game. Had we beaten Ryton in the first round, this would have been Easington at Victoria Park tonight. This game isn’t the sort of money spinning tie that South Shields away would bring to a club like Ryton & Crawcrook, but it’s certainly a tie that their players would have enjoyed playing in. Our lads at Easington would have enjoyed playing in it too, but we were awful that night in the first round at Ryton and they deserved to progress. 

Match report:

Hartlepool United progress in Durham Challenge Cup at expense of Ryton & Crawcrook Albion

Hartlepool United booked their spot in the third round of the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday night with a 3-1 win over Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.

Marcus Dinanga put Pools ahead just before the half hour mark, but Liam Barker’s header pulled Ryton & Crawcrook Albion level 10 minutes into the second half.

However, goals from James Butler and Tyrone O’Neill ensured Hartlepool progressed.

Hartlepool boss John Hewitson named a mixed squad for the Durham Challenge Cup tie. First teamers Dinanga, Butler, O’Neill, Conor Newton and Ryan Catterick all started, while the rest of the Hartlepool team was youth team players.

Upon kick-off, Hartlepool looked the brighter. The hosts won numerous corners early on, but Ryton dealt with them all.

Ryton ‘keeper Stefan Holden was forced into a save with the first effort in the 14th minute. Newton curled a free-kick round the Ryton wall, but Holden was able to punch clear.

Less than a minute later, Barker’s crucial block prevented a Dinanga effort that was destined for the top corner.

In the 26th minute, Butler’s delicate ball found Dinanga for the hosts. The Burton Albion loanee cut in to open fire, and his effort took a wicked deflection to spin narrowly wide.

Two minutes later, good work from Ryan Leonard picked out O’Neill, but his powerful effort darted narrowly wide.

Leonard then had an effort of his own go close, before Hartlepool took the lead in the 29th minute. A low ball into the penalty area found Dinanga at the near post, and his clever finish gave Pools a deserved lead.

O’Neill went close to doubling Hartlepool’s lead in the 34th minute. The Middlesbrough loanee chested down a looped ball, but his rasping effort dipped wide.

O’Neill and Newton both forced saves from Holden as Hartlepool continued to look the brighter, before Newton’s driving run resulted with him forcing another save from Holden. Leonard latched onto the rebound, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

A 42nd minute free-kick was as close as Ryton came in the first half. Tyler Davis lifted a wide set piece into the penalty area, and it wasn’t easy for Catterick, but the Hartlepool stopper was able to catch.

With the final kick of the first half, Dinanga had a 20-yard effort saved for the hosts.

The visitors looked a different side in the opening exchanges of the second half. A dangerous Ryton free-kick was worked out to Philip Hodges five minutes into the second half, but his first time effort failed to find the target.

Only a minute later, David Below’s long throw was flicked on by Jamie Dunn to find Scott Jasper whose header just say evaded the near top corner.

Having created next to nothing in the first half, Ryton had now had a couple of chances within the opening six minutes of the second half.

Although the Northern League outfit were looking brighter, Newton should have extended Hartlepool’s lead in the 55th minute. A good ball over the top was superbly flicked on by O’Neill to play Newton in, but his weak effort was saved by Holden.

And, Pools would be made to pay as Ryton & Crawcrook Albion pulled level only a minute later. Davis’ inswinging cross found the towering Barker whose header gave Catterick no chance.

Having been pegged back, Hartlepool went in search of the lead again.

And, they didn’t have to wait long as Butler regained their lead five minutes after Ryton had equalised. Coleby Shepherd’s teasing corner found the towering Butler and his header, similar to Barker’s, gave the ‘keeper no chance.

Daniel Boyle and Leonard both forced saves from Holden as Hartlepool looked the extend their lead, while Martyn Hepple’s effort at the other end proved an easy save for Catterick.

In the 69th minute, O’Neill’s fine strike ensured Hartlepool of the win. The Middlesbrough loanee found room on the edge of the penalty area, and his fine effort picked out the top corner.

Shepherd was next to go close for Hartlepool. A curled a dangerous free-kick over the wall with 15 minutes to play, and it clipped the crossbar on its way over.

Five minutes from time, Ryton & Crawcrook almost halved the deficit in fortunate style. Substitute Liam Anderson drilled an effort from 18 yards, and it took a deflection off his teammate to loop a matter of inches wide.

Jack Moody then sliced wide for the visitors, before Conner Rennison’s effort for Hartlepool was saved with the last kick of the game.

It was a deserved win for Hartlepool in the end, who will be looking to better last season’s effort of reaching the semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup.

Full-time: Hartlepool United 3-1 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion

Next up for me is Durham City vs Easington Colliery on Saturday.

Hartlepool United: Catterick, Rennison, Webster, Newton (c) (Naylor, 76′), Butler, Miller, Dinanga, Boyle, O’Neill (Scott, 76′), Leonard (Willoughby, 82′), Shepherd

Unused sub: Young

Ryton & Crawcrook Albion: Holden, Below (c), Moody, Turnbull, Barker, Hodges (Anderson, 73′), Norris (Hepple, 40′), Davis, Jasper, Luke (Stephenson, 80′), Dunn

Unused subs: Screawn, Hampson-Broadhead

Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions

Programme: No

Attendance: 55

Teamsheet: Free with admission

Chips: £1.50

Referee: S Ross

Sunderland Ladies vs Fylde Ladies

This game today was my 70th of the season, and my 100th consecutive game without a 0-0. It was actually at Eppleton when I last saw a 0-0 – Sunderland West End vs Gateshead Leam Rangers in the Durham Trophy final in March. Most women’s games have next to no bookings or red cards. However, from my experience, when there is a card first dished out, there are always a few more to follow. There are either none or quite a few. It’s never just one or two bookings. That was evident at this game today with a few yellow cards, and it looked to be the case at Durham Women’s game down at Tottenham today where both sides were reduced to 10. For the first half, Paul Charnock, a referee I know from Peterlee, was watching the game behind the goal. I spoke to him on my way round to the far side. In the second half, I looked to the far side to see that he was now running the line! That was because the other assistant picked up a groin injury going into half-time. 

Match report:

Sunderland Ladies exit FA Cup at hands of Fylde

Sunderland Ladies were knocked out of the Women’s FA Cup with a 1-3 defeat at home to Fylde Ladies on Sunday afternoon.

Danielle Young’s free-kick put Fylde ahead in the 13th minute, and Sophie Charlton extended Fylde’s lead shortly before the break.

Katie Barker reduced the deficit for Sunderland with 15 minutes to play, but Emily Hollinshead’s strike late on ensured Fylde booked their spot in the third round of the Women’s FA Cup.

Allison Cowling replaced Sophy Stonehouse in goal for Sunderland, while there was a place on the bench for new signing Niamh McLaughlin.

Sunderland were forced into a change in the warm up as Megan Beer pulled up injured. Erika Warren came into the starting XI in Beer’s spot.

Both sides attacked from the off, but all early chances were thwarted by both sets of defence.

Emily Hutchinson did drag an effort wide for Sunderland early on, but that proved to be it until the 13th minute when Fylde took the lead. Captain Young took responsibility of a 25-yard free-kick. Despite getting a hand on it, Cowling was unable to prevent Young’s fine free-kick from finding the net.

Hollinshead teed up Hollie Kelsh for the visitors a minute later, but her effort failed to find the target.

In the 21st minute, a crucial challenge prevented Sunderland from equalising. Georgia Gibson’s superb dinked ball played Bridget Galloway in, but a fine challenge from Olivia Fuller denied an almost certain goal.

Good pressing from Sunderland forced Fylde into a loose pass in the 25th minute. Sunderland worked the ball to Gibson who in turn found Keira Ramshaw. She took aim from 20 yards, but her effort was deflected into the hands of Brittany Jackson.

Just before the half hour mark, Gibson’s cross found Louise Griffiths at the back post for Sunderland, but her stooped header was agonisingly wide.

Ten minutes later, a harsh free-kick gave Fylde a chance in a dangerous position. The free-kick dropped to Charlton in the penalty area, but a fine save from Cowling kept her at bay.

In the 42nd minute, Fylde had goalkeeper Jackson to thank for keeping them ahead. Hutchinson snatched possession inside the Fylde penalty area, but a fine save from Jackson prevented Hutchinson. Not only did Jackson save Hutchinson’s original effort, but she was also equal to Hutchinson’s rebound.

And, Fylde went up the other end and doubled their lead. Hollinshead’s original effort was saved by Cowling, but Charlton was there to convert the rebound.

Following the break, Galloway drove forward for the hosts before finding Ramshaw. She tried her luck from an acute angle, and only the post prevented the Sunderland skipper of a goal.

Ramshaw then fired a free-kick wide of the top corner, before Kelsh’s long-range effort at the other end was never going to trouble Cowling.

Jordan Atkinson then fired harmlessly over for Sunderland, before Young forced Cowling into a save in the Sunderland goal.

Although they were two goals behind, Sunderland weren’t exactly being outplayed.

Thirteen minutes from time, Hollinshead look to warp up the win for Fylde. The Welsh international opened fire from 20 yards, but it didn’t have the power to trouble Cowling.

The game wasn’t over though, and that was shown when Barker halved Sunderland’s deficit in the 78th minute. She looked to pick out a red and white shirt with a cross, but her ball was on target and Jackson could only punch it into her own net.

Just two minutes later after halving the deficit, Sunderland could have been level. However, a good save from Jackson denied the Lady Black Cats from close-range.

Five minutes from time, Fylde could have wrapped up the win. Georgia Stevens was in on goal after a bit of loose defending, but a good save from Cowling prevented Stevens.

Mollie Lambert, Barker and Galloway all had efforts come to nothing as Sunderland searched for an equaliser, but Fylde went up the other end and wrapped up the win. Hollinshead drove towards goal before her fine effort found the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Sunderland kept plugging away though. Ramshaw hit the crossbar after beating a defender, before Barker sliced the rebound wide.

Despite late pressure, there was no reward for Sunderland who exited the Women’s FA Cup.

Full-time: Sunderland Ladies 1-3 Fylde Ladies

Next up for me is possibly Sunderland vs Notts County on Tuesday night.

Sunderland Ladies: Cowling, Kemp, Warren, Griffiths, McCatty, Lambert, Gibson, Hutchinson (Barker, 57′), Atkinson (Young, 65′), Ramshaw (c), Galloway

Unused subs: Stonehouse, McLaughlin

Fylde Ladies: Jackson, Merrin, Forster, Fuller, Hollinshead, Kelsh, Hignett, Da Costa, Stevens, Young (c), Charlton (Hunter, 81′)

Unused subs: Wild, Turner, Myler

Admission: £4 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: Not today

Attendance: 85

Chips: £2

Bottle of water: 90p

Referee: Givi Todua

Sporting Khalsa vs Walsall Wood

A good game, a good ground, a good programme, good food and good people – that’s what you look for in visiting a football game. Sporting Khalsa have all of that. It was another weekend without a game at Easington, and that gave me an opportunity to get another new ground in. I did think about going up to Newcastle Races though for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, but I opted for football in the end. I knew Katie Wallace and Lee Stewart were going to Sporting Khalsa and for a second time in three weeks, I ended up going on a trip south with them. We picked up John McClure on the way. I always enjoy a new ground, but I didn’t think I would enjoy Sporting Khalsa as much as I did. I really liked the ground, especially the stand on the turnstile side. The food in the clubhouse before kick-off was brilliant, and it was a very entertaining game and they do a good programme. Having not been at a game since Tuesday, I was at the Gala Theatre in Durham last night watching Carl Hutchinson. He was supported by Anja Atkinson and Louise Young. Carl is definitely one of the most underrated comedians out there for me.

Match report:

Sporting Khalsa book FA Vase fourth round spot with victory over Walsall Wood

Sporting Khalsa booked their spot in the fourth round of the FA Vase with a 3-1 win over ten man Walsall Wood on Saturday afternoon.

Jay Holdcroft put Sporting Khalsa ahead in the 10th minute, and their lead was doubled through a Alex Woodhouse penalty in the 37th minute.

Liam Armstrong’s strike added a third for Sporting Khalsa in the 69th minute, and Lee Butler’s 88th minute strike for the visitors was only a consolation.

Upon kick-off, it was Khalsa who created the first chance. A teasing cross picked out skipper Tesfa Robinson, but his header was too high.

The hosts were the brighter side early on, and they broke the deadlock in the 10th minute. A fine through ball played Holdcroft in, but his original effort was well saved by Reiss Wagstaff. However, Holdcroft latched onto the rebound and this time converted to put Khalsa ahead.

Having taken the lead, Khalsa could have doubled their advantage only a minute later. Armstrong beat numerous players on his way into the penalty area but his eventual effort was saved.

In the 14th minute, Walsall Wood created their first chance. Lee Butler picked out Eli Bako and his effort forced a fingertip save from Dale Reaney to push it behind for a corner.

Five minutes later, Joey Butlin took responsibility of a dangerous free-kick for Walsall Wood after Jordan Nadat was fouled. However, Butlin’s free-kick dipped over the crossbar.

Shawn Boothe then had a header saved for the hosts, before the same man headed wide four minutes later.

In the 33rd minute, Walsall Wood’s task was made even harder as Nadat was sent off. Having been challenged in a wide position, Nadat got up and headbutted a Sporting Khalsa man leaving the referee no option but to reduce Wood to 10 men.

Ten minutes before the break, Dave Messe headed a Carlo Franco cross into the side netting.

Sporting Khalsa’s lead was doubled from the penalty spot in the 37th minute. Holdcroft was fouled in the penalty area, and Woodhouse took responsibility from 12 yards. Wagstaff got a strong hand on Woodhouse’s penalty, but it still found a way into the net.

Rico Taylor went close with the final chance for the first half for the hosts. His clever flick from a cross had Wagstaff worried, but it drifted wide.

Despite being two goals down and a man down, Walsall Wood went into the break knowing they had the quality to trouble Khalsa in the second half.

Although both sides created dangerous attacks early in the second half, the first real chance didn’t come until the 54th minute. A Sporting Khalsa free-kick was cleared as far as Messe whose drilled effort was saved. Robinson was inches away from getting a touch on Messe’s shot, and if he had, it would have certainly been turned into the net.

Just before the hour mark, the woodwork prevented Walsall Wood from equalising. Kyle Rowley rose to meet a Butler free-kick, but his effort crashed back off the crossbar.

Butlin then fired wide for the visitors while off target, before Holdcroft’s diving header at the other end darted wide.

In the 69th minute, Sporting Khalsa wrapped up the win. A poor goalkick gave the hosts possession and the ball was worked to Armstrong. He drove towards goal before drilling a 20-yard effort into the bottom corner and that proved to be the killer goal.

Walsall Wood kept plugging away though, and Butlin’s free-kick forced Reaney into a good save in the 79th minute.

A couple of minutes later, Rowley headed just wide for Walsall Wood.

And, in the 88th minute, they netted a deserved consolation. The ball fell kindly to Butler and his powerful effort gave Reaney no chance.

Walsall Wood could have had a second in injury time. A dinked ball found Javia Roberts, but his header failed to find the target.

The final whistle ensured Sporting Khalsa of their spot in the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Full-time: Sporting Khalsa 3-1 Walsall Wood

Next up for me is Sunderland Ladies vs Fylde Ladies tomorrow.

Sporting Khalsa: Reaney, Franco, Osbourne, Boothe, Robinson (c), Woodhouse (Perry, 80′), Kinch (Adams, 73′), Armstrong, Holdcroft (Westwood, 70′), Messe, Taylor

Unused subs: Miles, Arnold

Walsall Wood: Wagstaff, Butler, Roberts, Simpson, McFarlane (Okojie, 46′), Rowley, Tolley (c), Meakin-Richards (Sullivan, 57′), Nadat, Bako (Bennett-Tindall, 70′), Butlin

Unused subs: Benjamin, Ramsome

Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions

Programme: £1.50

Attendance: 145

Teamsheet: Free

Chicken tikka naan wrap: £4

Can of Coke: £1

Referee: Steve Durnall