The more eagle-eyed among you may have already spotted our change of name. With Northern League Day no more (for another twelve months, anyway), we’ll be using this site to keep up to date with events in both the Northern League and its two feeders, the Wearside League and the Northern Football Alliance.
Although the Northern League title has been all but sewn up by defending champions Spennymoor Town – nine points clear of second-placed Newcastle Benfield with just four games left to play – if Whitley Bay win their next six games they’ll lift the FA Vase for the third year in a row and wrap up promotion back to the Evostik, a level they last played at in 1999/2000. The Bay travel to both Spennymoor and Benfield in the week before they face Coalville Town at Wembley. In Division Two, Guisborough Town can join champions Newton Aycliffe in next season’s top flight with three points at home to 16th-placed Washington tomorrow afternoon. North Shields and Marske United remain on course for a final-day shoot out for third at the Darren Persson Stadium next Saturday.
In the Northern Football Alliance, one-time runaway leaders Alnwick Town have been pegged back by Ponteland United, who now lead the ex-Northern Leaguers by three points at the top of the Premier Division table. Alnwick, who have already applied for promotion, still have two games in hand and play Ponteland at St James’ Park (no, not that one) tomorrow afternoon.
The Wearside League is now down to a two-way fight between Ryhope Colliery Welfare – still at least a year off Northern League membership in terms of ground requirements – and their coastal neighbours Easington. After leading the way for most of the season, Easington have stumbled in recent weeks, a 3-1 defeat at Ryhope opening the way for the home side to replace them at the top – albeit on goal difference alone. Both the Wearside League and the Northern Alliance continue through to the end of May so there’s plenty of football left to play. Tomorrow sees Ryhope at home to Willington (once managed by Malcolm Allison) while Easington travel to third-placed Kirkbymoorside. The two teams play each other again in the Sunderland Shipowners’ Cup Final on May 2nd – one of three finals Ryhope are still to play.
If you’re a north-east football fan, there’s no better time to try your first non-league game.