Down to the Wire

It’s the final weekend of fixtures in the Wearside League and the Northern Football Alliance. Unlike the Premiership, most of the focus is on the teams at the top.  Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Heaton Stannington, means Alnwick Town – already promoted back to the Northern League – can seal the Alliance Premier Division title with a home win over the same opponents this afternoon. Second-placed Ponteland United host midtable Blyth Town and are two points behind with a slightly better goal difference. Last season’s champions Harraby Catholic Club play Walker Central, needing points to stay ahead of Seaton Delaval Amateurs in third. Delaval travel to Wark and then Shankhouse in the next three days. Anything less than a fifteen-goal win and Wark are relegated to Division One.

There are only two games left in the Wearside League programme. Annfield Plain travel to Cleator Moor Celtic while Redcar Athletic can beat Jarrow to fourth place with a win at New Marske, who’ll end the season in third regardless of today’s result. The biggest game of the day, though, is at Willington, where the home side face Ryhope Colliery Welfare in the final of the League Cup. Victory for Ryhope would give them a clean sweep of all four Wearside League competitions, something only previously achieved by Newcastle Blue Star (1982-83) and Marske United (1995-96). For Willington, twice in the FA Cup first round and 1950 Amateur Cup winners in front of an 88,000 crowd at Wembley, it’s their first cup final since 1975. Kick off at Hall Road (DL15 0QG) is at 1.30pm, an hour before the rest of today’s games get underway.

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