I’ve been trying to catch up with the very busy weekend just gone ever since I got back. 8 games in a weekend is good, but when you’re writing 2,000+ words about them, it can be quite time-consuming. I had planned on doing one (Gretna) on Sunday night with three yesterday and two today but time has worked against me meaning I haven’t quite got the Edinburgh University game up. That’ll be up tomorrow but I gave this game priority as I thought it would be better to get a report up rather quickly rather than a bit later than still late if you know what I mean. This game was originally penciled in for the 29th of December when most Northern League sides will play their derby game. I remember getting ready to set off to get the bus to Ryhope when finding out that the game had been called off as the lights in the changing room weren’t working. It was all a bit skeptic but the game was certainly off. So, I quickly looked and I could just say make it in time to get to Esh Winning vs Brandon United so that was my choice. Tonight was around my fourth game of the season where I’ve seen both games between two sides. Back on Bank Holiday Monday in August, a fine performance saw Easington Colliery defeat Ryhope CW by four goals to nil with David Laight ,Chris Freeman (x2) and Chris Pearson getting on the score-sheet. These two are two of my favourite sides in the Northern League Second Division. They’re both really local and as you probably know, I write for Easington’s programme but I do like to see Ryhope do well to as they’re another of my local sides. I visit them quite often during the week and they’re good people. Tonight, for the first time in a while, both Ryhope teams were at home as CW hosted Easington Colliery and Sunderland RCA hosted Dunston UTS. It was the fact that it was Easington playing which made we pick Ryhope CW. Only two of my last thirteen games have been in the Northern League. That, by my standards, is very little!
Ryhope CW were first formed in 1892 but it wasn’t until 35 years later when they won their first title – the Wearside League in 1928. Most of the clubs success came in the 1960’s where they won four Wearside League titles, two Monkwearmouth Charity Cup titles, the Sunderland Shipowners Cup and the League Challenge Cup. Also in the 60’s they achieved their best ever FA Cup run, they progressed to the First Round Proper and were drawn at home to Workington. The Cumbrians came over to Wearside and ended Ryhope’s hopes of a second round appearance by just a single goal. Ryhope won the Durham Challenge Cup in their next successful season, the only time they have done so to date. And, in the same year, they also won the League Cup and came 10th in the league, 2 points behind today’s opponents, Easington. Between 1988 and 1992, the club was known as Vaux Ryhope after merging with another club. 44 years after the last time they lifted the trophy, Ryhope lifted the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup in 2010 while they finished a record 2nd in the league. This was when Ryhope really started to lift off. Their next season, only a few years back, was the most successful season they’ve ever had by winning all four competitions in the Wearside League. The Wearside League title, the Shipowners Cup, the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup and the League Cup were all claimed and the following season was just as successful. They achieved the exact same again and this time decided to take promotion to the Northern League for the first time in their history. The 2012-2013 season saw them finish second in the second tier of Northern League football, which normally would have meant promotion. But, as they didn’t meet ground grading, they were relegated back to the Wearside League meaning only 2 teams were relegated from the 1st division. As expected, they had a very good campaign in the Wearside League in 2013-2014 but Stockton Town were too strong for them and Ryhope could only finish 2nd. During the season, they brought their ground up to Northern League standard and seeming as though Stockton’s ground was nowhere near Northern League standards, Ryhope were offered promotion and accepted it. Last season they finished a very creditable 6th with 74 points from 42 games. When they met earlier in the season at Easington, Ryhope were in a rather mediocre mid-table position. But, since then, they’ve rallied and before today sat an impressive 3rd in the league with 66 points from 29 games. They’re two points behind Billingham Synthonia but have 3 games on hand on the Synners. Easington meanwhile sat 7th in the league with 51 points from 31 games before tonight. A win for the hosts would see them climb back to second while a win for Easington would lift them to 6th.
With kick-off a few minutes late, it was the hosts who created the first chance. After both sides had settled into the game, Ryhope’s Josh Home-Jackson won a free-kick from Aidan Goodey. The resulting free-kick was swung into the penalty area to find Conor Winter but his header was saved. With 10 minutes played, Easington’s first attack almost saw them break the deadlock. Shaun Smith did very well to burst down the wing and send a low ball across goal which found Joe Kerridge and he must have thought he had scored when his shot beat Chris Rookes. But, Leon Ryan blocked it on the line and Kerridge’s follow up was blocked too. With 12 minutes on the clock, Reece Kenney crossed for Easington and the man on loan from Spennymoor Town picked out Aidan Heywood but he could only volley wide. And, the visitors would be left to rue on their missed chance as Ryhope CW broke the deadlock just before the quarter of an hour mark. Joe Kerridge tracked back and blocked a cross meaning the ball bounced behind for a corner. The resulting corner was played short to find David Gordon who whipped a delightful cross into the penalty area where Conor Winter poked the ball beyond Kyle Donaldson and into the net.
Ryhope CW 1-0 Easington Colliery
A minute or two later, as Easington looked for an immediate response, Aidan Heywood lifted a cross into the penalty area which Chris Rookes fumbled but he was able to recollect. A few minutes later, Easington’s Luke Page won his side a corner. It was swung into the near post only to come back to the taker but it eventually came to nothing. On the 20 minute mark, Nathan O’Neil whipped an inviting ball into the penalty area for the hosts but Easington held firm and cleared. With 21 played, Luke Page looked to have threaded Jack Devlin in for the away side but it was slightly over hit and rolled through to Chris Rookes. A slight quiet period of the ball being knocked around in the centre of the park followed before Shaun Smith drive through for Easington only to lose possession. However, Easington soon regained possession and played the ball to Luke Page who couldn’t keep his effort down. A couple of minutes after the half hour mark, a promising cross came into the Ryhope penalty area. Easington could have pulled level moments later when a cross found the unmarked Aiden Heywood at the back post but he could only head wide. Luke Page tried his luck only for his effort to be deflected for a corner in 35 minutes and at this point, despite being one-nil down, Easington were certainly the better side. Things heated up in the 39th minute as both number 6’s, Olly Hotchkiss and Liam Hodgson started a bit of pushing and shoving following a crunching challenge but the rather lenient referee calmed things down and kept his cards in his pocket. With 5 minutes left of the first half, Ryhope Colliery Welfare had Chris Rookes to thank for keeping them ahead. Jack Devlin collected the ball and the former Queen of the South forward who turns 18 in a few days time curled an effort towards the top corner but Chris Rookes did superbly well to claw it behind for a corner. The resulting corner was cleared. A quick fire free-kick almost caused the hosts trouble inside the final four minutes as both Joe Kerridge and Dan Martin had shots blocked and at this point, Easington looked more or less certain to pull level some time soon. Jack Devlin climbed for a header in the 43rd minute but Chris Rookes caught and in the final minute of the routine 45, a Aidan Goodey free-kick from the halfway line was looking for Luke Page but Richard Goodman headed clear. Inside added time, 46 minutes and 50 seconds the be precise, Ryhope CW doubled their lead. Olly Hotchkiss’ corner came into the penalty area and Easington failed to clear meaning it fell to Conor Winter. The former Durham City man found time and space to take the ball down and fire into the bottom corner for his second of the evening.
Ryhope CW 2-0 Easington Colliery
With the only remaining chance of the first half, Ryhope’s Josh Home-Jackson sent an effort which was blocked. The referee’s half-time whistle blew after 49 and a half minutes and Easington went into the break rather harshly two-nil down.
Half-time: Ryhope CW 2-0 Easington Colliery
Three minutes into the second half, Olly Hotchkiss whipped a free-kick into the penalty area to find Conor Winter but he could only head wide while at the other end, Easington worked the ball around well to eventually find Jack Devlin but his effort was a rather comfortable save for Chris Rookes. Soon after, Conor Winter won the home side a free-kick which was fired well over the crossbar and Easington once again came close to scoring with 52 minutes played. A sharp break saw the ball be played to Aidan Heywood who played the ball across the face of goal after Chris Rookes had committed himself but Leon Ryan was on hand for a third time to block the ball on the line. And then a lucky bounce gave the ball to Rookes. At this point, Easington must have been starting to think that it wasn’t their night. Ten minutes into the second half, a Ryhope corner was swung into the side-netting while two minutes before the hour mark, the hosts made a first substitution as Olly Hotchkiss gave way for Richard Hodgson. A few balls into the Easington Colliery penalty area came to nothing on 58 minutes while on the hour mark, Joe Kerridge poked wide for the visitors. In the 63rd minute, Shaun Smith’s effort was deflected just wide of the Ryhope goal. The resulting corner was cleared. This was followed by two Easington changes. At first, Stephen Bogie replaced Reece Kenney while a minute later, Dylan Nesbit came on for Aiden Goodey. With 20 minutes to play, Easington gave themselves a lifeline by winning a penalty. An Easington man was played in and looked to take it round Chris Rookes who brought him down. The referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot but continuing with his reputation of being rather lenient, he only booked Chris Rookes. Joe Kerridge took responsibility for Easington and the former Newcastle United man slotted home despite Chris Rookes guessing the right way.
Ryhope CW 1-2 Easington Colliery
This proved to be the start of a magical final twenty minutes for Easington. With the next chance, only a minute after scoring a first, Easington pulled level with a worldie. However, before this, they made a substitution as Nick Doyle replaced Aiden Heywood. Jack Devlin collected the ball 30 yards from goal and spotted Chris Rookes slightly off his line and Devlin went for an ambitious lob. He pulled it off perfectly as it looped over Rookes and dropped into the net sparking scenes of joy amongst the visiting bench.
Ryhope CW 2-2 Easington Colliery
At this point, the momentum had totally changed, Easington were now in the driving seat. A Ryhope CW free-kick in the 74th minute was punched clear but only a minute later, Easington took the lead. Substitute Stephen Bogie dinked a good cross towards the back post where a superb leap from Jack Devlin saw him connect with the ball to head home.
Ryhope CW 2-3 Easington Colliery
Things kicked off again as the game entered the final fifteen minutes but again, the rather lenient referee kept his cards in his pocket. A David Gordon free-kick into the penalty area found Conor Winter for the hosts but his volley was saved by Kyle Donaldson and the resulting corner was headed wide. With 11 minutes to play, Ryhope CW made a second substitution as Sam White took the place of Conor Winter. In the 82nd minute, a Simon Ord effort with the outside of his foot curled wide and this was followed by Jack Devlin scoring again. He collected the ball from Shaun Smith in a wide area and cut in to beat a defender. Looking up, he sent a low drive which beat Chris Rookes at his near post and Devlin’s effort nestled into the net giving him a mat-trick in less than ten minutes.
Ryhope CW 2-4 Easington Colliery
It was a fine comeback from the side playing in their blue away kit and it could have been 5 in the 85th minute as Stephen Bogie fired narrowly wide of the top corner. In the 88th minute, Bogie tried his luck again but couldn’t find the target as Jack Devlin was shouting for the ball in acres of space. Two minutes from time, Ryhope substitute Sam White rounded Kyle Donaldson but missed an open goal and at this point, Easington seemed fairly confident that they’d claimed a win and done the double over their local rivals. And, the substitute had another chance in the final minute as a long Chris Rookes goal-kick played White in but in a one-on-one situation, he could only poke wide. Jack Devlin almost scored his fourth of the game in the 90th minute when he was played in and fired a low effort which forced Chris Rookes into a good save and at this point, the referee shouted to say there would be three minutes of added time. In the final of these three minutes, Jack Devlin linked up well with Stephen Bogie for the visitors but he failed to find the target and with the game’s final chance, Luke Page sent a shot for Easington which was blocked. After 93 minutes and 30 seconds, the referee blew for full-time giving Easington an impressive win which sees them climb to 6th in the league.
Full-time: Ryhope CW 2-4 Easington Colliery
Next up for me is maybe Washington vs Newton Aycliffe on Thursday night.
Ryhope CW Team: Rookes, Francis, Gordon, Goodman, Ryan, Hotchkiss, Ord, O’Neil (c), Winter, Weirs, Home-Jackson
Ryhope CW Subs: Hall, Lowerson, White (On for Conor Winter, 79 minutes), Hodgson (On for Olly Hotchkiss, 58 minutes)
Easington Colliery Team: Donaldson, Smith, Goodey, Martin, Maughan, Hodgson, Heywood, Page (c), Devlin, Kerridge, Kenney
Easington Colliery Subs: O’Neil, Nesbit (On for Aiden Goodey, 64 minutes), Bogie (On for Reece Kenney, 63 minutes), Doyle (On for Aidan Heywood, 71 minutes)
Admission: £5 Adults, £3 Senior Citizens, £2 Under-16’s
Referee: Matthew Gatiss