Dale football round-up: Gainford through to Division 2 cup final
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
Crook and District Football League
ONLY Evenwood of the dale sides were in action on Saturday, away at Wolsingham.
The hosts took a 2-0 lead before Evenwood fought back in the second half.
Goals from Chris Howe and James Brack earned their side a point but the draw saw the side lose ground in the second division title race.
Bowes’ free weekend allowed Middlestone Moor open up a three point gap at the top of the first division thanks to a 6-0 win at Wear Valley.
With games running out, the title is Moor’s to lose, as Bowes only have two fixtures to go in this season’s league campaign.
However, this coming Saturday, Bowes have the chance to secure a place in the final of the Norman Wright Trophy.
The club hosts Darlington Travellers Rest at Tensfield – kick-off 1.30pm.
Wear Valley Sunday League
GAINFORD earned a place in the Division 2 cup final with an emphatic win against Newton Aycliffe Gretna.
A hat-trick from Alan Haycock and a brace from strike partner Craig Edwards helped Gainford to a comprehensive 6-2 win.
Ben Moore added Gainford’s other goal and sets up a final on Friday, April 26.
In the league cup, Staindrop put in an excellent performance against their higher division opponents Witton Park, but it wasn’t to be for the dale side who went out 1-0.
In the league, second division leaders Toft Hill recorded a comfortable 5-2 home win against Newton Aycliffe Sports.
Andrew Boyes scored twice with Nigel Beckley, Anthony Bowes and Lee Tague adding the others.
Toft Hill now head the table by four points and have three games in hand over second placed Newton Aycliffe Big Club.
In the first division, West Auckland Tunns played out a 2-2 draw against Coundon Miners Arms, with Daniel Pigg and Liam Blighe scoring.
West Auckland Club’s Michael Weston scored the only goal in the game against Shildon Elm Road.
Division 2: BA Snooker 1, Kirk Merrington Half Moon 6.
League Cup: Middlestone Moor Mason's Arms 5, Bay Horse Blues 2.
Barnard Castle U8s....... 7
Boro Rangers Orange... 6
THIS semi-final of the League Cup went ahead at Green Lane after a pitch inspection on Saturday.
This was a big match for the club and the boys knew it was going to be tough.
Barney started well and looked confident.
Within two minutes, that all important first goal came with a great finish from the left hand side.
The team kept the early pressure on and went 2-0 up minutes later with a thunderbolt from the edge of the box.
It was a great start for the home team, but Boro fought back strongly and started to create chances of their own.
Midway through the first half, Boro scored with a great strike into the far corner from the right and now the game was well and truly on.
The away side kept coming forward and the Barney lads had to dig deep to keep them at bay.
Barney weathered the storm and went further ahead with a cool side-foot into the net.
This made the half time score 3-1 to the hosts
The pitch started to cut up a bit and everyone knew the second half was going to be a battle.
Both teams started on the front foot. Boro pushed forward which left them open to a counter attack. Barney exploited this opportunity and went 4-1 up with a neat left footed finish.
Boro wouldn’t give up and stormed back with two quick goals.
A handball just outside of the box saw the home side awarded a free kick. This was curled with power into the net and there was breathing space again.
Barney added another and now looked to have a good cushion at 6-3 up – but back came Boro again.
Two goals in a couple of minutes for the away team tightened things up again and now it was a case of which team wanted it more.
Both sides went for it and Boro were unlucky not to level up but the brilliance of the Barney stopper kept them out again.
The lads knew they needed another goal but Boro pressed hard. However, the ball broke to Barney on the edge of their own box, followed by a perfect pass was through the middle and excellent finish to make it 7-5.
Boro refused to give up and came back again and scored another – but it was too little too late and from the restart the referee blew the final whistle to make the full time score 7-6.
This was great advert for grassroots football and both teams should be proud of themselves.
This win now sets up an exciting trip to Middlesborough FC training ground at Rockcliffe Park where the final is being played in May.