Honours even as West warm up for cup final
By Harry Crowe - Reporter
Ebac Northern League
West Auckland Town...... 1
Stockton Town................ 1
NATHAN Fisher’s sublime second-half strike extended West Auckland Town’s unbeaten run to eight matches with a hard-fought point against Stockton Town.
Sonni Coleman’s 55th minute strike was cancelled out by Fisher’s long-range effort on 67 minutes in the final league encounter of the 2018/19 season.
The result sees West finish the Northern League Division One campaign in eighth on 53 points with the second-best defensive record, while the Anchors dropped to seventh as Shildon claimed a 3-1 win at Whitley Bay to secure sixth.
In the two previous meetings this season, it was a six-goal thriller when the two sides met at the Coverall Stadium in November and just five weeks ago, in the League Cup semi-final, West edged a closely-contested affair.
Before kick-off, there was a wonderful reception from the travelling supporters, dressed as minions, as they welcomed the players out onto the pitch at the Wanted Stadium.
Following a slow start from both sides, Stockton carved out the first meaningful opportunity on 26 minutes, as Mikey Roberts’ cross from the right found an unmarked Fred Woodhouse at the back post, though his close-range header skimmed just wide of the right-hand post.
Eight minutes later, Stockton again came close to opening the scoring as Chris Stockton pulled the ball back to Jordan Robinson, who forced a save from Shane Bland before Woodhouse diverted the rebound wide of the target.
West’s best chance in the first-half fell to Lewis Dodds, whose left-footed volley from 35-yards out sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
On 55 minutes, Stockton took the lead following a devastating counter-attack as James Ward’s low cross from the left was converted at the back post by Coleman.
Moments later, Michael Arthur produced a sensational save to deny Fisher, but the experienced forward then brought the scores level with an exquisite 23-yard strike which left Stockton’s No.1 rooted to the spot.
Next up, West have a League Cup final to look forward too against Newcastle Benfield at Seaham Red Star’s Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium on Easter Monday as Gary Forrest’s side attempt to win the trophy for the first time since 1963. Kick-off is at noon.
West Auckland: Bland, Mitchell (Fisher, 45), Cobain, Hunter, Colquhoun, Dodds, Francis, Portas, Price, Snaith, Purewal (c). Subs not used: Connor, Bell, Coulson,
Referee: Martin Conroy.
Crook and District League
BOWES FC have the chance to get their hands on some silver after securing a berth in the final of the Weardale Charity Cup on Saturday.
In a topsy-turvy affair, Bowes ran out 4-2 winners at second division Ferryhill.
Bowes raced into a 2-0 lead, but were pegged back through goals from Aaron Murdoch and Luke Thompson.
However, the second half belonged to Bowes as they scored another two.
Tommy Hutchinson bagged a brace and the others came from Tom Merryweather and Josh Bousfield.
There is the possibility that Bowes could meet Evenwood in the final as their dale neighbours welcome Shildon Railway in the second round of the Weardale Charity Cup to the Randolph Social Welfare ground tonight (Wednesday, April 17) for a 6.15pm kick off.
On Saturday, Evenwood guaranteed a top two finish in division two defeating Bishop Pavilion 6-4.
Chris Howe and James Brack each scored two with the others coming from Nigel Beckley and Mike Ainsley.
Glaxo Rangers concluded their first season in the first division with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Darlington Travellers Rest – Joe Lee and Colin Welsh grabbing the Glaxo goals.
Glaxo currently lie third bottom with Heighington needing three points from their remaining two games to climb above them.
Wear Valley Sunday League
TOFT Hill Three Tuns require just two points from their remaining three games to claim the second division title.
In a tight match on Sunday, Toft Hill edged Wearhead United 1-0 thanks to an Allan Jones strike to nudge them within a whisker of the title.
Elsewhere, Staindrop were held to a 1-1 draw at Kirk Merrington Half Moon.
The hosts took the lead but Sam Hicks notched the equaliser for Staindrop.
Earlier in the week, Bowes enjoyed a 3-2 win against previously unbeaten Witton Park.
Ben Clarke, Adam Lee-Shield and Rob Dominick were the scorers for Bowes.
That concluded Bowes’ league campaign, having won eight, lost eight and drawn two. Other results
Division 2: NA Gretna 1, Darlington RA 2.
Division 1 Cup semi-final: Witton Park 4, Middlestone Moor MA 2.