Hebburn Town Reserves vs Easington Colliery

Colliers beaten in pre-season opener

Easington Colliery were beaten 2-0 in their opening pre-season game at Hebburn Town Reserves on Saturday afternoon.

Both Hebburn goals came in the first half, and it was a good first workout for the Colliers.

Joint manager Craig Hughes gave second half minutes to three new players – Aaron Forrest, Brad Thompson and Michael Robson.

Liam Adamson, Chris Pearson, Ian Redman and David Vincent were missing, but other than that, it was a full squad that made the trip to Hebburn.

Shaun Smith had a shot blocked inside the opening four minutes, but the game was only five minutes old when Hebburn Reserves broke the deadlock. Their number 10, wearing a bandana, picked up the possession on the edge of the penalty area and dinked a superb effort over Kyle Donaldson. It clipped the post on its way into the top corner.

Tom Goundry lifted a couple of early crosses into the penalty area, but good defending thwarted the Colliers.

With quarter of an hour played, Hebburn managed to get a couple of shots away, but neither could find the target.

Donaldson was forced into a good reaction save to prevent a deflected free-kick with 20 minutes on the clock, before Michael Cooke’s volley at the other end was saved.

Following a drinks break, a Brennan Ball teasing cross just evaded the far post, before Donaldson was forced into a save at the other end.

Smith just say couldn’t latch onto a Wood cross just before the half hour mark, while Jack Pounder fired a snapshot over a minute later.

The Colliers were looking the brighter side as the first half wore on, but they were failing to create any clear-cut chances.

Within the final 10 minutes of the first half, a crucial block prevented Pounder after a quick one-two with Lewis Green.

In the 42nd minute, the Colliers came agonisingly close to an equaliser. Wood’s cross found the towering Smith and his header was destined for the far corner. However, despite the ‘keeper being beaten, a defender was on the line to head the ball against the crossbar. It dropped to bounce on the line before Hebburn eventually cleared.

Smith had another effort that was saved in the 44th minute, before Hebburn doubled their lead against the run of play in first half injury time. With Easington playing a high line, Hebburn broke and played their forward in who rounded Donaldson and slotted home.

Following the break, playing in his first minute for the Colliers, Thompson almost scored. Kyle Middleton’s low ball found Thompson at the back post but his effort came back off the post.

Middleton and Thompson linked up once again four minutes later, with the latter just say failing to get onto another low ball.

In the 53rd minute, a Chris Freeman ball over the top gave Liam Cooke a chase. He latched onto it and took it round the ‘keeper but was pushed in the process. The referee waved away the penalty appeals and Hebburn were able to clear the danger.

A Middleton corner was saved in the 53rd minute, before Wood curled harmlessly wide.

Halfway through the first half, Liam Cooke weaved a way through two defenders to find room to shoot. His effort was deflected into the path of Thompson, but he could only blaze over.

Middleton had the ball in the net with 18 minutes to play, only for it to be ruled out as he was adjudged to have fouled the ‘keeper.

Pounder had an effort deflected behind for a corner late on, before the same man was inches away from converting Thompson’s low cross in injury time.

Despite being beaten, it was a good first workout for the Colliers who are next in action with a trip to Horden CW next Saturday.

Full-time: Hebburn Town Reserves 2-0 Easington Colliery

Next up for me is hopefully a game on Monday night before I go to Greece.

Easington Colliery: Donaldson, Metcalf (Freeman, 46′), O’Brien (Ball, 54′), Ball (Robson, 46′), Goundry, Green (Talbot, 71′), Wood, Michael Cooke (Middleton, 46′), Smith (Thompson, 46′), Pounder (Forrest, 46′) (Pounder, 77′), Talbot (Liam Cooke, 46’)

Unused sub: Lincoln Barrow

Admission: £2

Attendance: 20

Programme: No

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Sunderland RCA vs Sunderland U23s

Sunderland RCA hosting Sunderland U23s is one of the few pre-season friendlies I remember from last season. It was the first time that RCA had attracted Sunderland’s under-23 side for a pre-season friendly. There was quite a few there and it was an entertaining pre-season game. Although it was another entertaining game tonight, the crowd wasn’t quite as big as it was last season. Sunderland U23s played a few trialists tonight. Two goalkeepers played, getting 45 minutes each under their belts. There was also a couple of outfield trialists. Of the trialists, I think I eventually managed to identify the second half goalkeeper as Max Johnstone. I’m sure I’ve seen him play against Sunderland U23s before and he’s recently been released from Manchester United.  And, I think one of the other trialists was Mason Fawns. Don’t take it as a certainty, but I think it was them. I’ve no idea who the rest of the trialists were.

Match report:

Kimpioka bags hat-trick as Sunderland U23s beat Sunderland RCA

Benji Kimpioka collected a first half hat-trick as Sunderland U23s claimed a 4-2 win at Sunderland RCA on Thursday night.

The Sweden under-18 international bagged a hat-trick in just five minutes late in the first half, and Jack Diamond added Sunderland’s fourth in the second half.

Reece McEwan reduced the deficit in the 88th minute, and a last minute Nathan O’Neill strike collected a second for RCA.

Kimpioka was involved from the off, and he registered the first shot in the seventh minute. Having received the ball from the Trialist in central midfield, Kimpioka tried his luck from 20 yards, but his scuffed effort was an easy take for Scott Pocklington.

Good work from Luke Page gave O’Neill a chance at the other end two minutes later, but Sunderland’s Trialist goalkeeper saved.

RCA were the brighter side in the opening exchanges as the professional youngsters failed to carve out any further chances.

O’Neill and Page both had further shots for Sunderland RCA, but neither could beat the ‘keeper.

Quick free-flowing football found Mark Davison for the hosts just before the half hour mark. The former Washington man connected sweetly with his strike, but it darted wide.

As Sunderland U23s started creating more, Alex Storey headed a corner over.

The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute. An inswinging corner for the Black Cats took an awful bobble to find Kimpioka at the back post. He took one touch before rifling the ball into the net from eight yards.

Two minutes later, Kimpioka added his second. An original effort crashed back off the crossbar, but Kimpioka was quickest to react to prod home the rebound.

The pick of his goals saw Kimpioka complete his hat-trick in the 43rd minute. Collecting possession 25 yards from goal, he took aim and found the top corner giving Pocklington no chance.

Exactly one minute into the second half, RCA almost pulled one back. Michael Charlton was played in and his effort had the ‘keeper beaten. Thankfully for the professionals, his effort bounced back off the post.

Just before the hour mark, Sunderland U23s added a fourth. Fine work from the Trialist centre forward saw him weave a way through before pulling the ball back to the near front post. Diamond latched onto it and poked home from a matter of two yards.

A quiet period then followed with RCA struggling to break down a very organised U23 back four.

Lee Connelly and Connor Shields both tested the RCA ‘keeper as time wore on, while a Stephen Callen effort was blocked at the other end.

With just shy of three minutes to play, RCA reduced the deficit. O’Neill pounced onto a defensive error to feed McEwan and his simple finish gave the home fans something to celebrate.

There was still time for RCA to added a second. With basically the last kick of the game, O’Neill tucked home a penalty. It was awarded for presumed pushing in the penalty area, but the majority of the crowd were puzzled as to how it had been awarded. O’Neill sent Sunderland’s ‘keeper the wrong way to round off a good work out for both sides.

Full-time: Sunderland RCA 2-4 Sunderland U23s

Next up for me is Hebburn Town Reserves vs Easington Colliery on Saturday.

Sunderland RCA: Pocklington, Clayton Davis, McNab, Hodgson, Swansbury (c), Elliott, Charlton, Page, Davison, O’Neill, Callen

Subs: Preston, Richardson, Finch, Limbo, Armstrong, Jonny Davis, McGuinness, Koskova, Robinson, McEwan

Sunderland U23s: Trialist (Trialist, 46′), Hunter, Kokolo, Bale (Connolly, 66)’, Taylor, Storey (Young, 64′), Diamond (Connelly, 60′), Trialist, Trialist, Hackett, Kimpioka (Shields, 64′)

Unused subs: Bainbridge, Brotherton

Admission: £4 adults, £2 concessions

Programme: £1

Attendance: About 200

Referee: Mark Ryan

Hot dog: £1.50

Can of Coke: £1

 

Spennymoor Town vs Middlesbrough

Planning my first few games of pre-season was quite a simple task. With Sunderland RCA vs Sunderland U23s planned for Thursday night, I was always going to aim to get to a game tonight too. Of the Northern League sides playing tonight, there wasn’t a great deal of local options and this was always going to be my game of choice. It’s not very often that I watch Middlesbrough’s first team so it was nice to watch them for a change. Upon arriving at the Brewery Field, I was surprised by the developments they made to the ground just since I was there at the end of last season. They’ve added a few new turnstiles at the main entrance, and they’ve nicely tidied up the bit of terracing just east of the main stand. Most noticeably though, they’ve added a few hundred seats to the stand behind the goal. A small cabin is now in the corner of the open end of the ground as a bar and there was also a burger van in the same corner. The developments are for the better, and I suppose they have to come with the development of the team on the field.

Match report:

Middlesbrough pick up first pre-season win at Spennymoor

Middlesbrough picked up their first win of pre-season with a 2-0 win at Spennymoor Town on Tuesday night.

Patrick Bamford’s penalty in only the second minute put Boro ahead, and Britt Assombalonga doubled their lead in the 68th minute.

It was a good from Spennymoor who restricted their Championship opposition for the majority of the game.

New signings Matthew Gould, Callum Williams, Stephen Brogan, Kris Thackray, Rob Atkinson and Jake Hibbs all featured for Spennymoor.

Paddy McNair and Aden Flint both started for Middlesbrough, but Stewart Downing and George Friend could only watch from the stands after picking up knocks.

A rout was possibly feared as Middlesbrough took the lead after just 100 seconds. Spennymoor goalkeeper Gould brought down McNair after he had burst into the penalty area, leaving the referee no option but to point to the penalty spot.

Bamford took responsibility and the former Chelsea man converted from 12 yards.

McNair had a shot deflected behind for a corner in the seventh minute.

As the game settled down, Spennymoor grew in confidence. A couple of corners tested the Middlesbrough defence, before Andrew Johnson’s good work picked out Glen Taylor. The former Ashington man took aim, but Flint blocked his effort.

A superb run by Adama Traoré resulted with the Spain Under-21 international forcing a save from Gould, before Bamford volleyed a Ben Gibson cross wide.

McNair was next to go close. A sharp turn on the edge of the penalty area gave him room to shoot just before the break, but he could only curl narrowly over.

Following the break, Spennymoor were quickest out of the blocks. David Foley picked out Atkinson with a cross, but his header was saved by Darren Randolph.

Hibbs tried his luck from long-range for the hosts in the 50th minute, but the former FC Halifax Town man failed to find the target.

Flint then headed wide for Boro, before Dael Fry played in Ashley Fletcher only for his effort to find the side-netting.

Halfway through the second half, Middlesbrough doubled their lead. Fletcher’s perfectly weighted ball played Assombalonga in. Gould did well to save Assombalonga’s original effort, but the Congolese forward was left with an open goal for the rebound.

Just seconds after conceding a second, Spennymoor almost halved the deficit. Rob Ramshaw whipped a teasing ball into the penalty area, and Taylor was only inches from diverting it into the net.

Inside the final 15 minutes, a loose pass in the Middlesbrough defence gifted Ramshaw a chance. The former Gateshead man decided to take aim, but he failed to find the target with a 20-yard effort.

A couple of late chances fell the way of Fletcher for Middlesbrough, with Spennymoor’s trialist goalkeeper producing a brave save to prevent the latter of Fletcher’s two attempts.

It was a good work out for both sides. Despite defeat, Spennymoor will be able to take plenty of positives away from the game.

Full-time: Spennymoor Town 0-2 Middlesbrough

Next up for me is Sunderland RCA vs Sunderland U23s on Thursday.

Spennymoor Town: Gould (Trialist, 86′), Brogan (Trialist, 70′), Thackray (Trialist, 46′), Atkinson, Williams (Hall, 46′), Chandler, Ramshaw, Hibbs, Henry (Foley, 46′), Johnson (Curtis, 46′), Taylor (Trialist, 70′)

Middlesbrough: Randolph (Konstantopoulos, 55′), Shotton, Flint, Fry, Gibson (Johnson, 46′), McNair, Clayton (Leadbitter, 55′), Howson (de Sart, 55′), Traoré (Wing, 55′), Gestede (Assombalonga, 46′), Bamford (Fletcher, 46′)

Unused sub: Fábio

Admission: £10 adults, £5 concessions

Programme (A4 size): £2

Attendance: 708

Chips: £2

Referee: Tony Harrington

Billingham Town vs Hartlepool United

Even with the World Cup on, I have missed football since the end of the 2017-2018 season. Having watched some of it, I now wish I had gone over to Russia for the World Cup but I’m not sure if it would have been feasible anyway. I was hoping to start my 2018-2019 season before today. Sunderland U23s announced a game against Silksworth CW last Saturday but didn’t say anything about it. The day before the game, I found out that it was at the Academy of Light and I didn’t bother trying to get as they probably wouldn’t have let me in. A couple of friendlies were played midweek but they were all a bit out of the way. As some of you may have seen, I’ve tried a few different sports during the off-season. I went to Redcar Bears vs Sheffield Tigers in the Speedway Great Britain Championship Knockout Cup. Speedway is actually quite an expensive sport to attend and I’m not too sure if I’ll be in a rush to get to another meeting. On the 10th of June, I went to East Durham College to watch Durham vs Grimsby Town in the quarter-finals of the FA Futsal Cup. It was another new sport, and as it’s basically football, it was more enjoyable than the speedway. Other than that, I’ve been to two horse racing meetings – Zetland Gold Cup day at Redcar and a typical Tuesday afternoon meeting during Royal Ascot at Thirsk. Just last week, I was at Hartlepool Cricket Club watching a North Yorkshire and South Durham League XI side take on Durham Jets.

As per usual in this annual pre-season game, Hartlepool named two different XI’s for each half. Harry Middleton and Connor Higgins featured as trialists, while each of their new signings all got a run out. The same could be said about Billingham Town, with new signings such as Dan Flounders and recently returned Craig Hutchinson featuring.

Early chances fell the way of Higgins and Louis Laing for Pools, but neither really troubled the hosts.

Peter Kioso was causing Billingham Town some problems in the first half. His trickery teed up Conor Newton halfway through the first half, but the former Rotherham United man failed to find the target.

Michael Woods was next to try his luck for the National League outfit. Latching onto Jake Cassidy’s flick, Woods took aim but could only fire over.

Despite not creating much in front of goal, Billingham Town were defending well and keeping organised. Unlike previous years, they were keeping Hartlepool at bay and went into half-time level.

In the 52nd minute, with their first real chance, Billingham Town broke the deadlock. The ever clinical Hutchinson collected possession on the edge of the penalty area, and his effort was deflected to loop over Ryan Catterick and into the net.

Myles Anderson and Niko Muir both tried to pull Hartlepool level with headers, but neither found the target.

Middleton tested the Billingham stopper from range halfway through the second half, before Josh Hawkes’ tame effort trickled wide.

Fifteen minutes were still to play when Hartlepool pulled level. Middleton collected possession on the edge of the penalty area and spotted the Billingham goalkeeper a few yards off his line. His swerving effort had the ‘keeper beaten, and it dipped into the top corner to pull Pools level.

Middleton and Mark Kitching both went close as Hartlepool searched for a winner, but Billingham continued to defend resolutely.

Late chances fell the way of Liam Noble and Hawkes for the professional outfit, but a winner wasn’t to come and it proved to be a fine start to pre-season for Billingham Town.

Full-time: Billingham Town 1-1 Hartlepool United

Next up for me should be Spennymoor Town vs Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

Hartlepool United (first half): Loach, Miller, Davies, Laing, Middleton, Kioso, Newton, Woods, Hawkins, Cassidy, Higgins

Hartlepool United (second half): Catterick, Richardson, Magnay, Anderson, Donaldson, Noble, Featherstone, Kitching, McLaughlin (Middleton, 49’), Hawkes, Muir

Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions

Programme: No

Attendance: About 450

Can of Fanta: £1

Bottle of water: 50p

 

2017-2018 – Season Review

In my quietest season for a few years, the 2017-2018 season has seen me take in 141 games. From Bellshill Athletic to CF Granada, York City Ladies to Legia Warsaw II, New Hartley Juniors to Nottingham Forest, I’ve still seen a wide variety of teams.

I’ve been part of Easington Colliery for the whole season, and I’ve watched the Green Army on 51 occasions. Being part of a club does mean I get to fewer games, but I love being at Easington and it’ll certainly stay that way next season.

As always, I’ll use this post to look back on the best bits of 2017-2018 with quite a few statistics attached!

Total matches: 141

Total goals: 530

Average goals per game: 3.758865

Average attendance: 1373.592857

Highest attendance: 31,430 (Combined Non-League Finals Day attendance)

Lowest Attendance: 20 (Hartlepool FC vs Shildon)

Number of grounds visited: 57

Number of new grounds visited: 11

Number of different leagues watched: 17

Number of different cup competitions watched: 21

Team watched most: Easington Colliery (51 times)

Number of programmes bought: 100 (Free FA Cup final one too)

Most expensive programme: 6 euros (Women’ EURO’s tournament programme)

Cheapest programme: Quite a few free

Most expensive admission: £14 to get into York City (I didn’t actually pay to go to the Sunderland games)

Highest scoring game: Kelty Hearts 11-1 Tweedmouth Rangers

Amount of 0-0’s: 7

Number of home wins: 62

Number of away wins: 43

Number of draws: 36

Games since a 0-0: 30

Games since the turn of 2018: 69

Televised games: 4

Most memorable games

1) Almere City 3-3 CF Granada

In the context of their seasons, both clubs can probably barely remember this game. It was a pre-season friendly in the middle of July. When we travelled to Holland, we certainly weren’t expecting to go to this game and I only found out about it the day before. It may have only been a pre-season friendly, but I absolutely loved it. Almere are a very friendly club and I was taken by that. Admission, a teamsheet, a club newspaper and a clapper cost a grand total of nothing. They were a great club and I bought a drink simply because I felt bad as everything was free! The game itself was very good too. Both sides played good football and it was a great evening at the Yanmar Stadion.

almere

2) Spennymoor Town 4-4 Gainsborough Trinity (Spennymoor Town win 5-3 on penalties)

This one is a bit closer to home. I went to this game expecting a comfortable home win. It was anything but comfortable for Spennymoor in the end! On a wet and cold night, a topsy-turvy game saw Gainsborough come from behind twice. Spennymoor then had to come from behind, and it was 4-4 after extra-time. Spennymoor eventually won on penalties, but it was certainly a game worth the admission prices!

spenny (1)

3) Heaton Stannington 5-5 Easington Colliery

A 5-5 draw is always going to be exciting. Easington’s manager resigning just before kick-off made the result even more interesting! It was a good game throughout but it looked as though the Stan were going to claim the win when they were 5-3 up with two minutes to play. David Vincent gave the Colliers hope, and David Paul converted an injury time penalty to snatch a point. A fine advert for Northern League football.

Stan424

Best new grounds:

1) Kelty Hearts

Kelty are a club who are certainly going places. They’ve a very good team who will be right up there in the Lowland League next season. It’s a very good set up at Kelty. They’ve some very modern parts of their ground, but the far side is still quite traditional. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kelty are in the SPFL in a few years time.

Kelty23434

2) FC Utrecht

I’m not sure what it was but although it’s a new build, I quite liked FC Utrecht. The four stands are distinctively separate and I just liked the feel of it as a big ground.

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Biggest surprise

Heriot-Watt University

I knew that a game indoors would be something different. I liked the concept of the indoors game and the viewing area was good too. What surprised me about Heriot-Watt University’s football club was how well organised they were and how friendly they were. I knew I would enjoy a visit to Heriot-Watt University, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as they did. One word of advice if you’re ever to visit the indoor arena at Oriam – expect it to be colder than you think! Heriot-Watt was probably my favourite game on this year’s Scottish hop, and I’ll certainly watch them again in the future.

heriot

Best goals

I remember seeing goals and thinking “they could be goal of the season contenders,” but I can’t remember what them goals were! 530 goals is a lot to remember!

Best food

The scotch pie at Dalkeith Thistle on Saturday was the best scotch pie I’ve ever had (it was about the only one I’ve ever liked!). Not football, but the chips at Billingham Stars ice hockey were superb. Burntisland Shipyard did some decent food, as did Heriot-Watt University.

Best programmes 

1) Ashington

Ashington weren’t in the top three in the Northern League awards, but the programme I picked up there was full of content. It was about 60 pages and although it was only printed on normal paper, it was an absolute steal at £1.

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2) Kelty Hearts

Everything about Kelty impressed me, including their programme. It’s a very professional publication on good glossy paper and it has a lot of content inside.

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3) Women’s EURO’s tournament programme

I know there will have been loads of people working on this programme, but it was a very good publication. Had it been for a men’s tournament, they would have charged at least 10 euros for a copy. The 6 euros I paid was well worth it and they couldn’t have included much more in it.

2017 Euro Womens Tournament

Next season

Next season will be more of the same in terms of Easington. I’ll be at 95% percent of the matches. I’m hoping to get to a game while in Berlin in August and possibly while in Amsterdam in October. I won’t be at the World Cup this summer, not even the CONIFA World Cup!

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who has taken time to read my posts throughout the 2017-2018 season and I hope you follow my travels next season too.

Kelty Hearts vs Preston Athletic

I always enjoy a trip to a Scottish game. I’ve never been to a game in Scotland and not enjoyed the trip. Every club I’ve been to in the Lowland League, East of Scotland League and the Juniors have been very good clubs. Kelty and Preston are two of those clubs. I’ve watched Preston a few times over the years and I’ve always liked them. It wasn’t nice to see them get relegated from the Lowland League, but it has been good to see them have a successful first season in the East of Scotland League this season and I hope they can build on that next season. On and off the field, Kelty are a club going places. They’ve a superb team on the pitch, and a very good set up and ground off the pitch. I can see them being right up there in the Lowland League next season. Who knows, they may even be a Football League side in the not too distant future. This game today was played at King’s Park, the home of Dalkeith Thistle. When I went to Bonnyrigg Rose earlier in the season, it was a toss-up between Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith. Seeming as though I got the opportunity to go to this game at Dalkeith, I’m pleased I picked Bonnyrigg earlier in the season. It was on Wednesday night when I decided to go to this game. Katie Wallace and Lee Stewart asked me if I wanted to make the trip up the A1 with them for this game and I certainly did. I said Wednesday night was possibly my last game of the season, but this game was 100% my last game of the season!

Match report:

Kelty Hearts win King Cup on penalties

Kelty Hearts rounded off a superb season by winning the King Cup with a victory on penalties against Preston Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

In a game played at Dalkeith Thistle’s King’s Park, a fine Preston performance forced Kelty into extra-time.

It went to a penalty shootout, and Kelty eventually came out on top.

Greg Binnie’s penalty put Preston ahead in the 69th minute, but Kelty’s Stephen Husband converted a penalty at the other end to level the scoreline five minutes later.

Extra-time couldn’t separate the sides, and penalties were needed.

Despite Preston taking an early advantage in the shootout, Kelty held their nerve and won the King Cup.

Preston almost took the lead within the opening seven minutes. A free-kick dropped kindly for Ross Cowan in the penalty area. His effort had the ‘keeper beaten, but Murray Carstairs was there to clear off the line.

Kelty’s first chance fell the way of Conrad Courts, but he could only drag wide from 20 yards.

A similar effort saw Scott Walker go close at the other end, before a very dangerous Kelty move almost led to the Hearts breaking the deadlock. A dangerous cross caused havoc in the Preston penalty area, but brave defending blocked efforts by both Brian Ritchie and Scott Dalziel.

Kelty were possibly slightly on top as the first half wore on, but Preston were working hard and making it very difficult for the East of Scotland League champions.

In the 28th minute, a sharp attack gave Binnie a chase for Preston. He held the ball up well, before eventually pulling it back to Jonny Grotlin. The former Spartans man took aim, but he could only drag wide.

A minute later, more good work from Binnie gave him a chance of his own. After outmuscling two defenders, Binnie managed to get a shot away. However, his stabbed effort trickled narrowly wide.

Preston had goalkeeper Craig Pennycuick to thank on the half hour mark. A Kelty cross picked out Ross Philp. His header was superbly saved by Pennycuick, and an equally impressive save stopped Dalziel’s rebound.

Pennycuick saved a long-range Stephen Husband effort inside the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Following the break, a deep Kelty Hearts cross was flicked back across goal by Philp. His flick found Stuart Cargill, but the former East Fife man saw his effort deflect over.

Kelty were the brighter side in the opening exchanges of the second half, but they were struggling to carve out any clear-cut chances.

With 21 minutes to play, a penalty gifted Preston a great chance to break the deadlock. Binnie was played in on goal and he looked to take it round Scott Christie. Christie took out Binnie in the process, leaving the referee no option but to point to the spot.

Binnie dusted himself down to take responsibility and he slotted home. Preston were now suddenly in command.

However, only six minutes later, Kelty were awarded a penalty of their own. Dalziel nipped in to pinch possession from Cowan who brought the Kelty forward down in the process. Husband took responsibility, and he slotted home to pull Kelty level.

Now level, Kelty went in search of a winner. Dalziel drilled over, before Husband’s low free-kick darted wide.

Brian Ritchie headed just wide in injury time for Kelty, before Preston thought they had won it. Binnie bundled the ball home, but he was ruled offside.

With the scores level after 90 minutes, extra-time was needed.

Errol Douglas headed over in the first half of extra-time, and that proved the only chance in an action free 15 minutes.

In the 109th minute, chances at both ends could have been converted. Firstly, Kelty worked the ball into Husband but Pennycuick’s good save prevented the former Blackpool man.

From this save, Preston quickly broke and Binnie played Jack Jardine in on goal only for his effort to be saved.

Douglas’ first time half volley dipped wide in the 114th minute, before Husband’s superb strike bounced back off the crossbar in the dying seconds.

There was still time for extra drama though. As Kelty attacked, a mistimed challenge from Steven Campbell earned him a second yellow and Preston were down to 10 men.

Preston only had to play a matter of 20 seconds with 10 men before the referee’s whistle meant the King Cup was to be decided on penalties.

After two penalties each, it was advantage Preston as Scott-Taylor MacKenzie hit the crossbar with Kelty’s second penalty.

Each of the next four penalties were dispatched meaning Preston’s David Liddle had an opportunity to win it. However, he blazed over meaning it was 4-4 after five penalties each.

Four more penalties were duly dispatched, before a possible moment of controversy came. Kelty’s ‘keeper, Christie, was frustrated about not saving a Preston penalty. As a result, he booted the ball out of the ground. In normal play, that would have been a yellow card and he had already been booked. Thankfully for Kelty, the referee didn’t dismiss Christie.

Ian Nimmo tucked home Kelty’s eighth penalty, and Grotlin missed meaning Kelty won the King Cup.

Full-time: Kelty Hearts 1-1 Preston Athletic (Kelty Hears win 7-6 on penalties)

That concludes my season! A season review will follow in the next few days.

Kelty Hearts: Christie, Ford (McCabe, 122′), Courts, Carstairs, Leighton, Husband, Ritchie (MacKenzie, 101′), Nimmo, Dalziel (Douglas, 80′), Cargill, Philp

Unused subs: Greig, Gibb

Preston Athletic: Craig Pennycuick, Cowan, Walker (Innes, 67′), Liddle, Campbell, Woodcock (Liam McFarlane, 63′), Mikey McFarlane, Dale Pennycuick, Binnie, Grotlin, Cochrane (Jardine, 90+1’)

Unused subs: Dmitrov, Conway, Inglis

Admission: £6 adults, £3 concessions

Programme: £2

Attendance: I’ll say 380

Scotch pie: £1.30

Can of Irn Bru: £1

Ice lolly: 30p

Referee: Jordan Curran

 

Hall Farm Glasshus vs Horden CW

Following Wembley on Sunday, we had a few drinks in London on the night, stayed in a former prison cell, and then had a tour of Sky Sports on the Monday. When I say a former prison cell, the hostel we were staying in was a former prison. The room that four of us shared was underground and tiny. I can quite well believe it used to be a prison. It was early Monday afternoon when we had a tour of Sky Sports and what an impressive place it is. Sky itself looks like a small village in west London. Within Sky Sports, we sat in a meeting about what was happening the following day (yesterday now). We got a tour of the whole place and met Rob Wotton who answered any questions we wanted. When you watch Sky Sports News and see people walking in the background of the presenters, that was probably me on Monday afternoon! During a break, we got on stage and got our picture taken with the two presenters – Rachel Wyse and David Garrido. Yesterday, I was at the Tour Series cycling in Durham. That’s always a good event. Doing little today, I was always going to go to this game. It’s the third cup final Horden have made but only the first one of them that I’ve got to. I thought this would be my final game of the season but it looks as though I’m going to go to Dalkeith Thistle for the King Cup final between Kelty Hearts and Preston Athletic with Katie Wallace and Lee Stewart on Saturday.

To the match and it was Horden who started the brighter. A half chance fell the way of Michael Cain within the opening five minutes, but he failed to find the target.

In the 10th minute, Robbie Renwick’s cross found Peter Crawford in the penalty area. He cushioned a first time volley, but it darted narrowly wide.

Hall Farm then had a small spell of pressure, but they failed to create anything worthy of testing Shay Adamson.

As time wore on, good work in a wide position eventually led to the ball being pulled back to Crawford. He turned in the penalty area, but the Hall Farm ‘keeper was able to save.

A looping Liam Appleby header was saved just before the half hour mark, before an incredibly dangerous Hall Farm corner just needed the slightest of touches but it wasn’t there and Horden survived.

With 33 minutes played, John Bowes’ ball over the top was brought down by Crawford. He teed up Appleby, but he could only drag wide.

A curling Hall Farm effort failed to test Adamson, before a long ball at the other end gave Crawford a chase. The former Wheatley Hill man managed to latch onto the long ball, but once again, a save prevented him.

Just before the break, Hall Farm had a big penalty shout turned down.

It was just eight minutes after the restart when Horden broke the deadlock. An inswinging corner found the towering Appleby and his header have the Hall Farm ‘keeper no chance.

Only four minutes later, Horden doubled their lead. Renwick’s good work out wide gave him room to cross. His low ball found Crawford who took a touch before firing into the net.

Now two goals to the good, Horden settled the game down somewhat. Crawford’s 72nd minute snapshot was saved, before the same man fired not far wide.

A couple of feisty moments had to be settled down, but it was never getting out of hand.

Hall Farm were seeing plenty of possession, but they weren’t creating any real chances.

They did manage to get a few late shots away, but they weren’t troublesome for Horden who were good value for their cup final win.

Full-time: Hall Farm Glasshus 0-2 Horden CW

Next up for me is probably Kelty Hearts vs Preston Athletic at Dalkeith Thistle on Saturday.

Horden CW: Adamson, Davidson, Bowes (c), Pattinson, Dobinson, Yorke, Ryder (Pyle, 70′) Cain (Reeves, 64′), Crawford (Purvis, 89′), Renwick (Arnell, 89’), Appleby

Unused subs: Payne, Tumilty, Daniels

Admission: £2 adults, £1 concessions

Attendance: 128

Programme: No

Can of Lilt: £1

Galaxy chocolate bar: 75p

Referee: Alex Ferriday