Four of the six Northern League Division One matches ended in draws last night. Promoted Newton Aycliffe recovered from two goals and a man down to snatch a point at Ashington thanks to late goals from Glen Robson and Darren Craddock. After their opening day defeat to Newcastle Benfield, fellow new boys Guisborough Town picked up their first point of the season, drawing 2-2 at Dunston, Andrew Bulford getting his third goal of the season for the home side. Billingham Town and Bishop Auckland shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, while ex-Newcastle United forward Paul Robinson scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season as they held visitors West Auckland Town, Mattie Moffat and Dale Jardine replying for the County Durham side.
In the top flight’s two other games, Whitley Bay conceded two goals for the second successive games, though strikes from Darren Pounder, Paul Robinson and the first two of what will undoubtedly be many goals from Robbie Dale this season earned them a 4-2 win at Penrith. South Shields went down by the same scoreline at home to Norton and Stockton Ancients. Three nil down to goals from Sonny Andrews, Dave Alderson and Shaun Clarke, the lively Stephen Ramsay reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time and the Mariners had the better of an open second half in which Ramsay had a header blocked on the line, Guadeloupe youth international Yanis Galas hit the post and Alex Benjamin struck the upright with a penalty before hitting a close range shot through Jim Provett to cut the arrears to just one goal. As the Mariners pushed forward in search of an equaliser, they were increasingly vulnerable to Norton’s pace on the break, Dave Alderson heading the killer fourth goal with ten minutes to play after Shields had conceded a free kick for a foul on Andrews. An entertaining game, though with Shields at West Auckland and Spennymoor in their next two league games things are likely to get worse before they get better for Gary Steadman’s team.
In Division Two, Birtley Town slipped to their second home defeat in their opening two games, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion avenging their Northern Leagues United loss with a 1-0 win. In the night’s big result Esh Winning won 3-1 at Hebburn Town, while Chester-le-Street Town and Horden had 1-0 wins over Brandon and Morpeth respectively. After beating Birtley on the opening day, Thornaby continued their good start with a 2-0 win at home to Seaham Red Star. Whickham came from behind to see off visitors Gillford Park 2-1, an injury time goal from Adam Wilkinson sealing the three points.
Tonight sees another ten games taking place, the pick of which are Newcastle Benfield at home to Tow Law Town and Shildon against Bedlington Terriers. Admission is just £5 for adults. Entertainment is guaranteed.