Join SportsByte as we round up this weekend’s non-league football including FA Trophy heartbreak and 13 goals across two National League games.
A weekend to forget for four of the region’s six sides in the FA Trophy with Dunston and Stockton the only survivors in the competition’s early stages.
Dunston UTS despatched Ashington with relative ease in the only all-North East game in the first qualifying round of the competition. A Sado Djalo brace late in the first half added to Jordan Lamb’s opener and saw the home side go into the break three goals to the good, a lead they would carry into the full-time whistle.
A penalty apiece and three second-half injury-time goals oversaw Stockton Town’s entertaining route through to the next round. The Teesside-based team played ten men from inside the opening half-hour following number nine Michael Fowler’s dismissal, but they would take the lead all the same with Kevin Hayes firing home from the spot.
With the game in regulation time and still a goal ahead, Michael Roberts was on hand to boost the host’s advantage. Pontefract Collieries were down but not out, being given a route back into the game with a penalty that was despatched by Adam Haw – it would prove to no avail with the visitors overcommitting to a late corner, leaving Michael Sweet with little to do.
Penalties also decided the fate of Hebburn Town, who went into full-time with nothing to separate them from Brighouse Town. With no extra time at this stage, Hebburn was unfortunate to come out on the losing end of a penalty shootout which scored 6-5 to their hosts.
Consett did not come quite so close, with a 6-2 defeat on the road against Bootle. The final game in the region saw competition debutants Newton Aycliffe’s journey come to a sharp end, with a 3-1 defeat at home in County Durham.
Bootle will look to send a second North East team out of the competition in the next round, where they will travel up to Stockton. Dunston is set for a journey out of the region, with their GPS set to Nantwich Town.
Gateshead romped home to a 6-0 victory away from home after a long journey to the south coast to face Eastleigh. Flying into the half-time interval four goals to the good, including a second Marcus Dinanga brace of the season, ‘The Heed’ never looked like throwing away their comfortable advantage as they entered the play-off spots.
There they will join Hartlepool, who are fourth to the ‘Tynesiders’ sixth – despite coming out the wrong side of a high-scoring game of their own on the weekend. John Askey’s men also endured a long bus ride to Oxford City and saw a seven-goal game go against them despite twice taking the lead in the first half.
Three goals in six second-half minutes saw an in-form Oxford side take control of the game, before substitute Pierre Fonkeu grabbed his brace in the late stages, delivering the fifth and final blow in a 5-2 win for Oxford City. Just three points are now separating Gateshead and Hartlepool.
NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
The Quakers geared up for the longest trip of their National League North campaign without a permanent manager at the helm, after Alun Armstrong and Darren Holloway departed earlier in the month. Darlo first teamers: Will Hatfield, Tom Platt, and Jake Lawlor took the reigns on the weekend to oversee a 1-0 defeat down at Bishop’s Stortford.
Also returning pointless from a journey away were Blyth Spartans, who were on the wrong end of a dubious penalty decision late on against Chester in what proved to be the late-winning goal. Both sides seem to be in conclusion that it was a questionable call from the official, with Spartans manager saying:
“When you’re giving a decision like that, at that stage of the game, the referee has to be 100% confident. I can tell it isn’t a 100% penalty, because the opposing staff said it wasn’t and their players said it wasn’t.”
Better fortunes awaited for Spennymoor Town and South Shields, who join Spartans in the play-off spots. Both sides enjoyed 2-0 home win on the weekend against Hereford and Rushall respectively. ‘The Mariners’ bounced back from their midweek loss against Scunthorpe, while ‘Spenny’ are now undefeated in three.
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE (PREMIER)
The only NPL side competing in league football this season, due to step four’s FA Trophy commitments, Morpeth Town came out with a 2-0 victory over Gainsborough Trinity at Craik Park.
Continuing their winning ways and making it three in a row in all competitions, results on Saturday mean Peth narrowly enter the top half of NPL (Premier) with seven games played – thanks to goals from Michael Turner and Liam Noble.
Morpeth will enter the FA Trophy in the third and final qualifying round, with the draw expected to be made on Monday, September 25th after the culmination of that weekend’s results in the competition.