Last night, I watched Willington for the first time since their first game of the season. Today was the same too, just with Ryton & Crawcrook Albion instead. The only time I’ve seen them this campaign is when they travelled to Hebburn Town on Friday the 8th of August for the first game in the 2014-2015 Northern League. That night, they lost 3-1 in thunderous conditions but it was apparent that they were much improved from last season. I was went to watch these two teams meet each other last season. It was a midweek game and as I arrived at the ground half an hour before kick-off, the game was in doubt due to thick fog. Eventually, it was postponed and rearranged for the second of May when I was in the press box at Hartlepool United. Wednesday night stated that it was my 21st time watching Horden and Shields aren’t too far behind that. Today was my 15th South Shields game of the season I think and that will increase to 16 when they host Stokesley Sports Club on Friday night. Ryton & Cracrook Albion have had a brilliant season when you compare it to last season. Last season they came to South Shields on the last day needing a win to stay up and that is exactly what they produced. Mind, they wouldn’t have gone done anyway due to Whitehaven’s ground criteria problems. I was going to go to this game anyway, but I also had to stay local as I had to be at Sunderland Ladies vs Bristol Academy Women at Eppleton CW at 6:30. Going to the Shields game and then getting the X35 to Hetton would mean I had plenty of time, and a double at the same time. It was a bit easier for me than Lee Stewart and Katie Wallace. They were over at Carlisle United vs Plymouth Argyle at 15:00 and then were rushing back over to the north-east for Sunderland Ladies vs Bristol Academy Women at 18:30.
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion were originally formed in 1970 as Ryton FC and originally played only pub football. Ryton FC then joined the Northern Combination League and played their first game, a 3-3 draw, against Parsons Athletic on Saturday 17th October 1970. In 1988 they joined the Northern Alliance. A grant from the Lottery meant they could build a new ground in 1997 and they were hoping to progress up the pyramid. The club achieved promotion to the Northern League in 2005 where they have remained ever since. Promotion to the First Division was achieved in 2008 and in the following season they finished a respectable 10th. They were narrowly beaten by Billingham Synthonia in the Durham Challenge Cup Final 6 years ago and this remains the furthest they’ve ever got in the competition. After a couple of season in the First Division they were relegated back to the Second and because of the positioning of their ground, (The Kingsley Park Stadium in Crawcrook) they renamed themselves as Ryton & Crawcrook Albion. For the last few seasons they’ve played in the Second Division and last season they finished second bottom following the away win on the last day of the season at South Shields as I’ve already mentioned. This campaign has been much better for the Tyneside side and before today they sat in 13th place, 2 places and 8 points above South Shields.
Shields couldn’t have hoped for a better start as they took the lead with only 64 seconds on the clock. Ben Riding launched a long throw into the penalty area which the Ryton defence failed to deal with and it dropped for Chris Feasey who poked home from close range.
South Shields 1-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
On 7 minutes, Ben Riding put another long throw into the penalty area looking for something similar but it was cleared by the away sides defence. However, with only 8 minutes played, Shields doubled their lead. Michael Turner curled a pinpoint free-kick into the penalty area and Ben Riding lost his marker to send a glancing header into the net.
South Shields 2-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
Shields continued to push forward and it was almost 3 on 14 minutes. Aron Burn poked a ball down the line to Paul Kane who found room to cross and when he put it into the area, it was met by the head of Stephen Ramsey but he was denied at point-blank range by a good save from Connor Gillespie. On 16 minutes, Chris Locke’s cross was headed behind for a corner and Michael Turner put it into the area only to be cleared. With their first chance worthy of note, Albion’s David Backhouse played a ball to Will Forsyth who found room before dragging a shot wide. On 27 minutes, a ball was played over the top looking for Stephen Ramsey but Ryton’s ‘keeper was able to get there first. A minute before the hour mark, Paul Kane was played in for Shields and he shot just wide of the far post. Shields were bossing the game at this point and it could have been more than 2. On 31 minutes, Ryton’s ‘keeper Connor Gillespie sent a long goal-kick which Phillip Hodges headed onto Will Forsyth but he was unable to find the target. Paul Kane and Stephen Ramsey both picked up bookings for Shields before Ryton & Crawcrook Albion created a half chance on 34 minutes. A ball was whipped into the penalty area and Ben Riding headed behind for a corner. Phillip Hodges curled it into the area and when it dropped, Joshua Holland was penalised for handball.10 minutes before half-time, Shields’ Stephen Ramsey tried his luck. His initial effort was blocked, as was his rebound. And then, Ben Riding brought down a Michael Turner corner before shooting over. 4 minutes before the break, Will Forsyth fired over for the visitors and not too long later, Connor Gillespie fumbled Chris Rue’s cross but he was lucky enough to pounce back on it. With their last chance of the first half, good trickery from Ryton’s Phillip Hodges gave him room to cross and he picked up Will Forsyth who took a touch before powering over. One more chance fell in the first half and it was a very big one which led to a mix of amazement and anger from the Shields bench. Barrie Smith was played in and was tugged by the last defender but he managed to stay on his feet and the referee seemed to let play originally go on. Smith was just about to round the ‘keeper and slot home when the referee rather bizarrely pulled it back for the free-kick denying Shields a clear goal. As he was last man, Mark McKeekin was sent off for the tug and the free-kick came to nothing. It was a good job Shields were already two-nil up after that.
Half-time: South Shields 2-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
Shields started the second half just like the first and on 48 minutes, Chris Feasey curled a ball into the penalty area which just evaded Lee Maitland and was headed behind for a corner. It was played short to Barrie Smith who pulled it back for Lee Maitland and his shot was well held. Chris Feasey hit a rather poor effort before Shields made it three-nil on 51 minutes thanks to a superb individual goal from Barrie Smith. The man who played for Leyton Orient pre-season attacked down the left-wing leaving a few defenders in his trail and instead of passing to the shouting Stephen Ramsey, Smith went himself, beat one more and fired into the far bottom corner.
South Shields 3-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
10 minutes into the second half, Ben Riding launched another long throw into the penalty area but this time Connor Gillespie was able to catch. The ‘keeper was called into action once again on 56 minutes and did just enough to prevent Paul Kane. Stephen Ramsey threaded a ball through the centre and Paul Kane latched onto it to send a shot which Gillespie got a hand on but he couldn’t prevent it from rolling towards goal. Thankfully for the away sides stopper, it trickled wide and a defender was back to hook it clear. Less than a minute later, the crossbar proved to be Ryton & Crawcrook Albion’s saviour. Ben Riding sent one of his lethal long throws into the penalty area and Stephen Ramsey rose highest to send a header off the crossbar. At this point Shields were well on top and it could have been 5 or 6 had they taken their chances. 3 minutes before the hour mark, Paul Kane cut in and powered over for Shields while Sam Moore poked wide at the other end. On the hour mark, Shields made their first substitution as Gary Crutwell replaced Barrie Smith. And, then, a minute later, the away side made a substitution as Mark Emmerson replaced Will Forsyth. Lee Maitland sacrificed himself on 62 minutes to climb to flick a goal-kick onto Paul Kane. Maitland hurt himself in the process and Kane was unable to create any chances. 64 minutes in, Shields made it four-nil. Chris Rue sent an inch perfect cross into the penalty area and Paul Kane was on hand to head a powerful header home.
South Shields 4-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
This was followed by Shields making a second substitution as James Talbot replaced Stephen Ramsey. Half way through the second half, Lee Maitland missed a Ben Riding long throw and it came to Chris Rue who attempted a spectacular bicycle kick but he was unable to make the desired contact. 20 minutes from time, a strong challenge from Chris Locke saw him win the ball and play it to Chris Feasey who cut in and teed up Paul Kane for a 20 yard effort to be palmed to safety. A minute later, Albion made their second change as Andrew Upperton came on for Romario Kastrati. And, 6 minutes later, they made their final substitution as Adam Crostowski replaced Sam Moore. Ryton & Crawcrook Albion had a corner on 78 minutes which led to nothing and this was followed by Shields having the ball in the net once more on 79 minutes. Steven Hubery’s long goal-kick was flicked on by Talbot and it was played to Paul Kane who slotted home only to be ruled offside. 10 minutes from time, Paul Kane went close again; this time after heading a Chris Rue cross just wide. James Talbot found Paul Kane in a good position on 83 minutes but the former Washington man had a poor first touch and was unable to carve out room for a shot. Talbot and Kane linked up well once again on 84 minutes. This time, Talbot’s cross found Kane but he was unable to keep his shot down. James Talbot – who was lively once he came off the bench – won a corner on 87 minutes. Michael Turner swung it into the penalty area and it eventually found Chris Rue whose close-range snap-shot was well saved. It could and possibly should have been 5 on 90 minutes. Chris Feasey picked out James Talbot with a low cross but the substitute fired over from 6 yards. One more piece of action followed and this was when Chris Locke won a free-kick for Shields. It was lifted into the penalty area but cleared and with 92 minutes and 20 seconds played, the referee blew for full-time giving Shields a more than comfortable win.
Full-time: South Shields 4-0 Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
Next up for me could be Horden CW U23’s tomorrow or, if not, it’ll be Sunderland RCA vs Shildon on Tuesday.
South Shields Team: Hubery, Turner, Feasey, Burn, Riding, Locke (c), Rue, Maitland, Ramsey, Smith, Kane
South Shields Subs: Kempster, Crutwell (On for Barrie Smith, 60 minutes), Talbot (On for Stephen Ramsey, 65 minutes), Baker, Renshaw
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion Team: Gillespie, Kastrati, Shickle (c), Robinson, Turnbull, McMeekin, Holland, Backhouse, Moore, Forsyth, Hodges
Ryton & Crawcrook Albion Subs: Upperton (On for Romario Kastrati, 71 minutes), Stoddart, Emmerson (On for Will Forsyth, 61 minutes), Gunn, Crostowski (On for Sam Moore, 77 minutes)
Admission: £5 Adults, £3 Concessions, £1 Children
Northern Venture Northern Gains magazine (Issue 158 and 159): Both free
Chips and curry sauce: £1.50
Referee: D Jackson