2009 Review - the season so far...

by James Johnson

In the Premier Division it looks like any one of five teams could win the coveted league title. The Jolly Potters are the overwhelming favourites to capture the prize and also fancy themselves to make a clean sweep of all major league honours, to do this they will need to keep to a high standard of good football and to keep their concentration levels up which let them down in their only league defeat of the season.

Aquatic Sports are another side in the title hunt after superb run of results despite a stuttering start. Manager David Hoey has really got his side going playing good attacking football, lets see if they can keep it up in the 2nd part of the season. It really would be a season to remember for Aquatic if they lifted the title despite the fact they nearly folded last season and they have been going strong now for 50 years thanks to the hard work and dedication of Tommy Oliver.

There are 2 sides in from the East End but only one of them can win the league, this being
Blue House. Colin Hopes men are handily placed and have 2 games in hand on the leaders, they really seem to have the bit between their teeth but have they got the bottle and nerves when it really comes to the crunch in the battle when they play the other title contenders. They certainly have the players to do it as they have their own galacticos in Luke Morrow, Jordan Thompson, Brian Carter and Martin Hope. For me the form and performances of Jordan Thompson will be key to their chances, a talented player indeed.

Over to the north side of the water,
Redhouse also have an eye on the league but cant afford to lose another game or drop silly points like they did against Houghton Town B when leading 4-1 with 20 minutes to go and ending up drawing 4-4. Those 2 points dropped could be crucial in the title run in. However, Redhouse are a workman like side and have the experience to mount a serious challenge.

Another side who could win it are
Hylton CW, although they have played more games than the teams around they will still pose a threat especially with the evergreen Barry Cook in their ranks whose goals might come in useful as goals can win you matches.

There are 4 teams who this season have not lived up to their potential.
Colonel Prior are having an indifferent season but on their day they are more than a match for anyone. Most recently they have struggled for players some of whom are taking the easy option of going to watch Sunderland AFC instead of braving the cold weather for their sides plight. David Sandersons men could have been in the title mix if he had his best available team at his disposal but success in the cups could put a smile on his face.

Chester BB are another side in a false position, after a nightmare start they put together an impressive run of results, most notably they handed the Jolly Potters their 1st defeat of the season. Mr King will expect his sides good form to continue in 2010 and to finish further up the table.

Houghton Town B need to find a level of consistency if they want to avoid a relegation battle, Lee Bogans men hope 2010 starts well and ends well for them. Its going to be a long slog for them but they have ability to get out of they rut they are in.

In the heart of the East End lies a team languishing in mid-table,
Hendon FC led by Michael Lynch are having by their own standards a less than average season. They too had a poor start to the season but their mercy mission of a trip to the Vatican seems to have benefitted them as they have started to put some decent results together as of late. They will almost certainly have a say who wins the title as all contenders have to face them a task not to relish for any side. Hendon can certainly improve and lets see if the talismanic Martin Jackson can repeat the form of last season which won him the League player of the year award.

Down at the bottom,
Dawdon CW need to start picking up points if they are to avoid the wooden spoon. Whilst fellow strugglers Hendon Grange Global Gym need some kind of miracle to avoid relegation, the league stalwarts are certainly having a season to forget but lets hope the new year brings them renewd optimism.

It looks like a three way battle for the First Division Championship,
Washington Cricket Club are hitting teams for six as they started the season on fire and have continued that good form as they remain unbeaten in the league. Whether they hold on to top spots remains to be seen as they need to improve their start to games, starting off slowly but finishing the stronger side. Remember a game lasts 90 minutes not 70.

Colliery Tavern look a stronger side this season as their results have shown and could get their just rewards if they continue this superb form. Strong performances from players like Shaun McGregor, Carl Chapman and goal machine Anthony Ross are vital in their title quest.

Arms City Coachworks are having an excellent season and like the Cricketers they too have an unbeaten league record this season. Along with this they also have 3 games in hand on the league leaders and if they are victorious in those they will find themselves at the summit, but to stay there they will have to keep winning as i see this going to the wire.

First Division is very tight this year as teams seem to be beating each other as teams struggle to find a level of consistency to make a push for promotion. Sassco UK are unbeaten in 5 games and hope to continue their good form into 2010. They also had a successful tour of Portugal and look forward to another tour in the summer.

Hylton CW Juniors are having a hitty missy season too, potentially they are a good side and have goal machine Dave Ward who has hit 29 goals so far this season. If only his goal exploits were matched by similar like performances of his teammates.

Three teams who are having good seasons as well are
Shiney Row Country Park Inn, their neighbours Travellers Rest and Usworth led by the inspirational Costa Lorraine. If they put a good run of results together they could well find themselves in the hunt for promotion.

Times Inn are another team on the up having improved massively after a couple of seasons being the whipping boys and the Southwick side have got together a good group of players and have churned out some impressive wins.

Cambridge Hotel are another side with good potential and hope the goals of Paul ‘Tyson’ Stoker can propel them up the table.

Park View need to pick up some wins if they want to avoid a battle for bottom spot, but the wooden spoon looks like it could be a 2 horse battle between The Cove and East Durham Spartans as both sides have yet to pick up a point this season.

The Spartans have a long season ahead of them as they have only just come into the league and will be playing catch up as they have at least 9 games in hand. The Cove meanwhile, are certainly improving after receiving a few maulings they have brought in more players and are now finding their feet and they seem to have turned the corner or as some might say they have seen the light.

Match Reports for Week Ending 6th December 2009

Chesters BB pulled off the shock result of the day as they won the Premier Division battle 3-1 against a seemingly invincible Jolly Potters side. Rob Kings men had already been beaten twice this season by the Potters and were determined to prove a point. A superb team performance ensued as the Potters had no answer to their opponents determination and will to win attitude.
The Chesters scorers were Kevin Berry, Leighton Cook and Clayton Davis, this result pulls their side away from the lower reaches of the division.
Aquatic Sports title aspirations took a dent as they surprisingly lost 3-1 against a Lee Owens inspired Hendon FC. Shaun Graham was the Aquatics marksmen, but they simply had no answer to the electrifying pace of Owens who scored twice and Martin ‘Action’ Jackson completed the scoring for the East End side. The return of Lee Owens could be a timely boost for Mr Lynch’s side although he can only play every two weeks as he is filming down south as the stunt double for Ian Beale in Eastenders.
There were goals galore at Herrington CW as
Houghton Town B staged an amazing comeback to grab a vital point as they held Redhouse to a 4-4 draw. The B-team took the lead through a Dean Smith special and his side continued to dominate for the next 20 minutes but crucially missed chances. If you don’t put your chances away they comeback to haunt you and this is what Mr Boans side found out as they had a crazy 10 minute spell and conceded two soft goals.
The second half started with Redhouse asserting all the pressure as their opponents were having a siesta, the pressure finally took its toll as it was 3-1 to the visitors after a fine solo effort. Worse was to follow as Redhouse scored a fourth and threatened to run riot.
Phil Dorian pulled a goal back after a fine finish to give Town a glimmer of hope. Minutes later A thunderbolt from star man Hamilton made the score 3-4 to set up a grandstand finish. Redhouse looked deflated as the Town had the wind in their sails and after pummelling their visitors goal it was a case of bish bosh bash as Agnew found space in the area to fire the ball home much to the delight of his teammates and supporters.
Colonel Prior had too much class as they easily beat basement side Hendon Grange Global Gym 7-0 despite having to make 4 enforced changes. Andy Smith showed his class in front of goal as he notched 4 times and was backed up with further goals from Dale Spence, Lee Norman and Peggy Mitchell.
In the First Division, newcomers
East Durham Spartans may find life tough as they were comprehensively beaten 6-1 by a rampant Hylton CW Juniors. They simply had no answer to the physical presence of Dave Ward who scored 4 goals to take his seasons tally to 29. Ward was assisted by Shaun and Steve Harrison on the scoresheet. The Spartans replied through Phil Robinson whose star man was Jamie Cresswell.
Rumours are flying around that if Dave Ward keeps up his impressive scoring streak, Mr Capello may name him in his World Cup squad ahead of Emile Heskey.
The Saltgrass were brought back down to earth with a mighty bump after last weeks big win as they lost 2-1 against The Times Inn. Mr Klippers side were far too complacent as for most of the game they were playing with 10 strikers. This tactic undoubtedly left gaps in the defence to which the Southwick side quickly exploited.
Ian Old bagged a consolation for the Saltgrass, but it was Michael Curry who was the Times Inn hero as he scored both goals to give his side a deserved win.
Sassco UK are now on a roll as the recorded another win to go unbeaten in 5 games. Their opponents, Park View were soundly beaten 7-2. The game nearly never went ahead as there was no referee available, but Mr Maguire came to the sides rescue as he found an available referee so the game could finally be played and at another venue.
These last minute problems didn’t deter Sassco as they were 2-0 up early in the game thanks to goals from Muers and Langan. Going behind like they did seemed to perk Park View up as they got a grip on the game and finished the 1
st half the much stronger side.
Muers grabbed his second to make it 3-0 as his side started strongly, but as they do, sides that go into a healthy lead tend to take their foot of the pedal and complacency creeps in. Park View took heed of this and responded by scoring 2 goals through Dominic Murphy and Stephen Saville. This should have set up a frantic finale but after strong words from the Sassco management they started to focus and Muers grabbed his hattrick. The game was finally put to bed thanks to further goals from Stoker, Pearson and Langan who got his second.
The Cove can count themselves very unlucky not to grab their 1st point of the season as the narrowly lost 3-2 at home against Usworth. The basement side decided a change in formation and tactics was needed to stop their winless streak and it worked to good effect as they stormed into an early lead after Stephen Halliday slammed the ball into the net after a fine run and cross from Brown.
Brown proved to a thorn in Usworths side as he was in inspirational form as his created chance after chance but all of they were missed! They were to pay for those misses on 35 minutes as Usworth equalised through a hotly disputed penalty. The Cove started the 2
nd half at a frantic pace and were at times a bit gungho ( a bit like Newcastle in the Keegan early years), pressure was soaked up by Usworth who in return responded by taking the lead as they lashed in a 25 yard free kick.
The lead was shortlived as the home side equalised after good play between Brown and Halliday which led to Hourigan rifling home a 25 yard screamer. Both side were going at it hammer and tongs searching for the winner and Usworths quality and fitness shone through as they got their 3
rd and winning goal.
The Cove can take pride and heart from this performance as the good times are surely just around the corner.
Colliery Tavern are in hot pursuit of the league leaders as they crushed Shiney Row Country Park Inn 4-0. Star man for the Colliers was Lee Pennock who played with a broken hand after he hit his kids inflatable punch bag too hard.
There were two ties played in The Alan Hood Memorial Trophy,
Hylton CW safely made it through to the next round as they dispatched of Dawdon CW 4-1.
Star man Lee Cresswell (2), Mark Cresswell and Barry Cook scored for Hylton, whilst Dave Kennedy replied for Dawdon.
Washington Cricket Club progressed after a hard fought 4-2 win at home against Shiney Row Travellers Rest. The Cricketers started the much brighter side for once missing several clear cut chances which included a Dan Clark effort which struck the crossbar.
Gaps were soon being found in the Travellers defence and it was no surprise when Dave Laidler opened the scoring when his cross shot sailed over the flatfooted keeper and into the roof of the net. Paul Clinton soon doubled the lead as he fired in unopposed. Paul Bridge pulled a goal back for his side just before half time.
The Cricketers started the second half rather lethargic as they struggled to get going and it was no surprise when Paul Bridge grabbed his second goal to equalise and his side now started to get a foothold on the game. With extra time looming a mix up in the visitors defence allowed Anthony Dixon to nip in and roll the ball in to the net. Washington went for the jugular and a second goal from Dave Laidler killed the game off to send his side into the next round.

Match Reports for week ending 28 November 2009

The League were well represented in the Durham Minor Cup as teams were looking to reach the last 16.
Aquatic Sports progressed with a 1-0 win after extra time in a tense battle with Middlestone Masons Arms. The Masons started the brighter side with their quick movement and slick passingbut as always they struggled to find any end product as both teams cancelled each other out in a forgetful 1st half. The 2nd half started with both sides looking to find the elusive goal and it was Aquatics who had the 1st opportunity after David Hoey pounced on a loose ball only to be upended in the box when shaping to shoot. Scott “Beam” Johnstone struck the resulting penalty well but could only watch as it sailed over the bar.
The game went into extra-time as both teams started to play with more urgency and it was Aquatics pressure which finally came off in the 100
th minute when a Lee Brennan free kick was floated in which found its way to an unmarked Mark Dickinson at the back post who slotted the bal home much to the joy of the home supporters. The Masons soon after peppered the home goal whose defence stood firm thanks to star man Peter Cromack who marshalled his defence like Bobby Moore.
Blue House also went through after a hard fought 5-2 victory over Roddymoor. The first half was all Blue House as the visitors at times had no answer to their relentless attacks and it was no surprise when Martin “Gandhi” Hope smashed home a left wing cross to put the Wearsiders 1-0 up. After repelling the home sides attacks, Roddymoor then had a chance of their own and equalised against the run of play. Hope restored his sides lead in bizarre circumstances as he was on hand to fire into an empty net after the visitors keeper had struck the ball against his own defender.
It was soon 3-1 when Jordan “Pele” Thompson scored with an outrageous back heel. Right on half time it was 4-1 as James Gilhespy scored a fine solo effort. Roddymoor came out for the second half determined to get back into the game and pulled a goal back after hitting the woodwork twice. Any chance of a comeback was put to bed as Tony Armstrong slid in to score his sides fifth goal to put the tie out their opponents reach. Keith Lonsdale was Blue House star man.
Houghton Town B also stormed into the next round as they travelled to Darlington The Albion and came away with an excellent 4-0 win despite the team being hampered by injuries and illness.
Town got off to a flier as Stu Archbold headed them in front after 3 mins. The Albions Intimidating tactics didn’t seem to work but Watt in the Town goal was forced into pulling off 3 fantastic saves. The 2
nd half was pretty even as both sides tried to stamp their authority on the game but hesitancy in the home defence allowed Phil Dorian to make it 2-0 with a clinical finish. On 67 minutes Town got their 3rd goal after Smith raced through to score his 10th of the season. Andrew Steele made it four right on full time as he was on hand to tuck away the rebound after Pattinson shot hit the bar. Lee Watt was Towns star man.
Colonel Prior also made it into the next round at the expense of Stanhope Town, they needed extra time to prevail 4-1.
The 1
st half was non eventful with a Richardson header that hit the bar the only thing worthy of note. The 2nd half picked up a bit and it was the home side who took the lead against the run of the play. Undeterred the Prior hit back almost immediately through Glenwright after a blunder from the keeper. Prior had chances to win the game in normal time but Norman and Laverick were guilty of glaring misses.
The game was now in extra time and the visitors fitness levels told as they scored 3 unanswered goals in quick succession, David Sanderson started the ball rolling capitalising on another keeper blunder. Lee Norman followed this up with a super strike into the top corner and then Glenwright rounded things off with a 20 yard rocket.
The Arms City Coachworks hopes of progressing were dashed as they succumbed to a 5-2 defeated at the hands of Hartlepool The Millhouse. The Arms were simply not up for the game as they were missing 9 regulars and were suffering a hangover after a night on the town.
Millhouse drew 1
st blood as they scored first, Arms responded quickly by equalising within 5 mins thanks to Jake “ Banana Boat Boots” Baker slamming home a low cross. Baker then grabbed his 2nd goal as he latched on to a fine Chris Bewick pass to round the keeper. Instead of building on their lead, the Arms fell to pieces and found themselves 2-3 down at half time.
The second half was all Millhouse as they scored 2 more goals to secure their passage into the next round.
Washington Cricket Club fine domestic form deserted them as they were dumped out 3-0 by Rutherford Reserves. The game was played in near perfect conditions but the Cricketers are known as slow starters and it showed after just 3 mins as sloppy defensive play allowed the visitors to open the scoring. Despite all their possession WCC couldn’t penetrate the visitors well organised defence.
The 2
nd half began in the same vein with the home side pushing for the equaliser which in turn left gaps at the back which were soon exploited as Rutherford had a quick counter attack which resulted in them scoring to make it 0-2. More misery was heaped on the home side as their poor performance was compounded as the tie was killed off after an impressive 3rd goal was scored.
Hendon FC who seem to be having an indifferent season also exited the competition losing 2-3 at home to Hartlepool Headland Level Six.
Jolly Potters must surely fancy themselves to do well in this competition and did themselves no harm as they ruthlessly disposed of fellow rivals Redhouse 8-0.
Chesters BB were cruelly knocked out on penalties after their tie with South Shields United ended in an exciting 4-4 draw. Nathan Coomber (2) and Andy Hall were amongst the Chesters scorers.
Hylton CW advanced to the last 16 as they ousted Shildon Elm Road WMC 4-3 in another end to end encounter.
In the First Division, newcomers
East Durham Spartans were put to the sword as they were crushed 9-0 by The Saltgrass.
Saltgrass controlled the game from start to finish and their goals came from Ian Old (3), Tony Wilkinson (2), John Higham (2), Stephen Shephard and John Hope. The Spartans must be commended on their positive attitude and gamesmanship throughout the game.
Sassco UK extended their unbeaten run to 4 games as they easily overcame basement boys The Cove 6-0. The game was played in difficult conditions and on a heavy pitch as both sides struggled for consistency in their play. Sassco had to wait just before half time to break the deadlock as they scored 2 goals in quick succession through Mark Muers and Anthony Pearson.
Anthony Langan hit his sides 3
rd goal and this seemed to spring The Cove into action and created half chances themselves before David Gourlay scored a quick brace to put them 5-0 up, one goal was a showstopping solo effort which started from the half way line which had George Best written all over it. Langan scored his 2nd of the match to secure the 3 points for his side.
Michael Curry scored twice for
The Times Inn but it was all in vain as Usworth showed little sympathy as they hit six goals themselves to win 6-2.
Cambridge Hotel shared the spoils in an 8 goal thriller as they drew 4-4 with Hylton CW Juniors.
Star man Paul Stoker scored twice for the Cambridge and was backed up with strikes from Craig McShane and Liam Richardson. Hyltons goals came from Shaun Harrison and another hattrick from goal machine David Ward.
There were 2 games played in the TWR Commercial League Cup,
Shiney Row Travellers Rest trounced a depleted Park View 6-2 to progress to the next round. Jack Rowntree led the way with a well taken hattrick was assisted with strikes from Parish, Tumelty and Edwards. The Travellers star man was playmaker Randall.
Colliery Tavern safely made it through as well as they easily disposed of Shinety Row Country Park Inn 5-0. Star man Anthony Ross led the way with a well executed double along with strikes from Shaun McGregor and Carl Chapman (2).