Gateshead Rutherford v Killingworth, Monday 18th April 2022, 6.30pm

I suppose the only good thing about the Boro’s game against Huddersfield was that it was a lunchtime kick-off and that meant that I could head to a second Bank Holiday Monday fixture.

I had a couple of options, both in the Northern Alliance, and picked the nearest one which was at Gateshead Rutherford’s Farnacres ground. Rutherford were taking on league leaders Killingworth in the eleventh tier Premier Division.

Farnacres is just off the A1, before the Metro Centre. It’s up a country lane with parking outside of a fence where if you chose, you could watch the game from your car. It was a pleasant evening though and so I headed inside. I don’t think that there was anyone taking money, at least there wasn’t at the gate I used. Hopefully I hadn’t cheated them out of a couple of quid.

Rutherford were in a red and black kit with Killingworth in grey. A win for the visitors would be enough to clinch the title and of the eighty or so spectators who were lined up at the top of the embankment I’d estimate that around half were supporting the champions elect.

In addition to the people watching there were also a few dogs in attendance. I was stood near to an elderly beagle who had that faded appearance that comes with age. At half time when I went into the clubhouse for a chip butty, his eyes didn’t leave me until the empty polystyrene tray had been deposited in the bin.

There were also a few greyhounds, a couple of shih tzus, a spaniel and two French bulldogs. In fact, I missed the final goal of the evening as I was scratching one of the bulldogs on the head.

Rutherford had nothing to play for in this end of season game. Perhaps that explained why they only had the one sub available compared to Killingworth’s full bench. I was pleased to see the lad get on, even if only for the last ten minutes. It would have been soul-destroying to have been the only option for a change and still not receive the nod.

For a team with nothing at stake, Rutherford certainly put the effort in. They took an early lead and when pegged back in the second half soon got back in front. They conceded a second equaliser before nicking the winner with fifteen minutes to go. By that time, it was getting dark and I doubt that anyone was hoping for much added time. The defeat for Killingworth meant that their title celebrations would have to wait another week.

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