ON THE HOP: Bowes FC keeper James Woodhead made a string of excellent saves to keep Shildon at bay
ON THE HOP: Bowes FC keeper James Woodhead made a string of excellent saves to keep Shildon at bay

Weardale Charity Cup final

Shildon Railway........... 2

Bowes FC..................... 0

BOWES came away empty handed in their final bid for silverware this season.

In truth, this was as one-sided a game as you could imagine and it was only thanks to keeper James Woodhead’s efforts that Bowes were spared a much heavier defeat.

What made Woodhead’s exploits all the more remarkable was the fact he played most of the game having sustained a knock to his knee when diving bravely at the feet of a Shildon striker early on and clearly struggled with the injury.

The pattern of the game was set early on, as the impressive Shildon side got the ball down and passed it around the vast acreage of host club West Auckland Town's pitch.

Within five minutes, Railway had forced three corners from which Woodhead produced his first good stop of the day.

Shildon’s livewire centre forward Kyle McCollough then saw his glancing header go wide from a cross fired in from the right. There was no time for Woodhead to recover after receiving treatment for his knee injury as he made another excellent save from McCullough, who had raced through as Shildon broke quickly.

And so it continued until the stopper was eventually beaten by Danny Shoulder’s cross-cum-shot which looped over him and into the top corner.

It was no more than Shildon deserved – and they also added to the lead as Morgan Claydon was twice denied by Woodhead just before the half time whistle.

Bowes made changes at half time and after the restart, Tommy Hutchinson registered his side’s first effort on goal, a snapshot straight at Nigel Turner in the Shildon net.

Railway’s second came after Bowes had conceded a free kick a good 25 yards out.

Woodhead parried the initial shot as it fizzed towards the inside of his right post, however, the ball was played out to Claydon on the edge of the 18 yard area and his sublime curling effort found the corner.

McCullough should have made it three when he somehow managed to spoon the ball over from two yards out when it looked easier to score and he then found Woodhead equal to the task as he sprang the offside trap and race through.

With time running out, Bowes almost pulled a goal back. Having won a corner as the result of a sloppy back pass, the ball broke to sub Callum Guy whose snapshot rattled the bar. Tom Merryweather followed up with a shot from distance that was easily dealt with by Turner and that was that.

The game was Shildon’s eleventh in the last couple of weeks – this was their fourth cup final win of the season. That’ll need an awful lot of silver polish.

Wear Valley Sunday League

SECOND division champions Toft Hill Three Tuns received their trophy before what turned out to be a highly entertaining game at Gainford.

The champions ran out 4-3 winners thanks to two goals from Andrew Boyes and one apiece for Nigel Beckley and Luke Robson.

On the scoresheet for Gainford were James Readman and Billy Hutchinson (2).

Both teams will play the final games of a long season next Sunday, when Gainford welcome Newton Aycliffe Sports and Toft Hill host Spennymoor Ash Tree.

Accepting the trophy from league secretary John Morton, the Toft Hill team thanked their sponsors for supporting the club during such a successful season.

In the first division, Witton Park were crowned champions for the eighth consecutive season following a 15-2 midweek win at West Auckland Tunns, while Middlestone Moor defeated West Auckland The Club 5-2 to win the League Cup on Friday night.

Other results from Sunday

Division 1: BA Pavilion 1, Middlestone Moor MA 2.

Division 2: Darlington RA 5, Wearhead United 2.

Crook and District league

SHILDON Railway warmed up for the Weardale Charity Cup final against Bowes by claiming the Alan Britton Memorial Cup with a 2-1 win against Heighington at Willington on Saturday.

Underdogs Heighington scored first and after the scores were levelled it looked as though the game was heading for extra time until Danny Shoulder hit a late winner for Shildon.

Bowes, meanwhile, will conclude their league programme with a home match against champions Middlestone Moor Mason’s Arms tonight (Wednesday, March 8) and a visit to Darlington Travellers Rest the following Wednesday (May 15).