FootballNorthern League

Whickham too strong for Birtley in the Durham Challenge Cup

Whickham progressed into the second round of the Durham Challenge Cup, following a 3-0 home victory against Birtley Town at the First Mortgage Glebe. 

Whickham club captain Ross Peareth scored from the edge of the box to send Whickham on their way. Ryan Bolton doubled the lead, before substitute Jack Robson completed the scoring five minutes from time. 

The Lang Jacks continued where they left off at the weekend, with a well-structured team performance in freezing conditions. 

The home team started on the front foot, Peareth found Zak Atkinson in space, but the boot of Sam Wilson in the Birtley goal denied Whickham of an early lead. 

The Lang Jacks pressed again two minutes later this time Atkinson the provider. The striker’s whipped cross from the left, inches away from connecting with Scott Robson’s sliding left leg. 

The visitors found it hard to get a foot hold in the game. Winger Scott Robson causing the away time problems down the left, forcing Wilson into another save. 

The home team finally broke the deadlock on 31 minutes, club captain Peareth with a strike from the edge of the box, hard and low past Wilson. 

Whickham came close to a second just before half-time. Scott Robson’s effort going wide, before Nathan Greenwood’s shot was saved by the boot of Wilson again.

Birtley started the second-half with a point to prove – within minutes they came close from a corner. 

The away team pressed again, and almost got an equaliser following a looping effort from inside the box. The ball sailing just over James Anderson’s crossbar. 

Ryan Bolton, who never stopped running all night, swung another peach of a cross into the back post finding the head of Atkinson. However, Wilson, was positioned well to deny the striker. 

Bolton was pressing again down the left and found himself in space on the edge of the box. The defender’s effort was goal-bound, before Birtley managed to scramble the ball clear. 

The right-back made no mistake second time around, doubling Whickham’s lead on 62 minutes.

Bolton latched onto Dale Burrell’s perfectly timed lofted pass down the right, before smashing the ball into the roof of Wilson’s net. 

Birtley’s best chance came on 77 minutes, a close-range shot required Anderson into making a smart save. The Whickham number one using his full frame to keep their clean sheet intack. 

Whickham substitute Jack Robson sealed an impressive victory after taping home Scott Robson’s cross with five minutes remaining. 

The Lang Jacks progressed to the second round of the Durham Challenge Cup – a team performance that would have delighted manager Tony Fawcett. 

Ryan Bolton spoke about the team’s performance, adding: “A good result in tough conditions, the wind played a big factor. I thought we battled hard; these games you’ve got to battle hard. It’s not going to be pretty football constantly, but I thought we came out on top. 

“We won our battles individually and as a collective; and come out on top winning three nil.”

Bolton netted his first goal for the club. He said: “I didn’t know what to do, I haven’t scored in such a long time. It was a good feeling to get off the mark, coming here from Gateshead I wanted to make an impact straight away. 

“I’m happy I’ve been able to do that and help provide the team with some goals as well. We push on into the next game now.’’

When asked about his preferred position, Bolton added: “I think as a full back, you can get up, but as a wing back you can really get up and score goals. The attacking side is a key part to my game, and one that Tony said he liked in me.”

Whickham Team: Anderson, Bolton, Burrell, Galbraith, Moody, Priest (Jack Robson 70’), Peareth ©, Bisset (Parrall 80’), Scott Robson, Greenwood (Russell 85’), Atkinson. 

Subs not used: Newton, Howard.

Goals: Peareth 31’, Bolton 62’, Jack Robson 85’