Posts Tagged ‘Northern Alliance’

Ponteland United v Wallington, Saturday 20th August 2022, 2.30pm

August 28, 2022

Jen and I were up north for a party. It was an excellent evening and whilst I enjoyed meeting new people, the best part was catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen for, in some cases, as little as a fortnight, and others ranging from anything from a few months to thirty-odd years. Even for those that I’d not seen for a long time the conversations fell easily into place as if we’d just picked up the chatting from the last occasion that we spoke.

As good as the party was, I didn’t want to start the drinking at two in the afternoon and so Jen and I headed for Ponteland first and a game in the eleventh tier Northern Alliance Premier Division. Ponteland looks to be a fairly posh commuter village, a place where geordies move to when they’ve ‘made it’. Alan Shearer once lived there, and I imagine that if Ant and Dec didn’t have to work down south they would probably be lunching in the Blackbird pub as we did.

There’s a Pele tower too. Nothing to do with the Brazilian, by all accounts, but a place where the vicar would hide from marauders by cunningly ‘going upstairs’. I’m not sure you get many marauders these days or how much protection the tower would provide in its current state, but I’m glad it hasn’t been turned into a florist or a nail salon.

The game took place at Ponteland Primary School. It’s a big pitch if it is usually used by the under elevens. Ponteland United have recently moved to a nearby leisure centre but that pitch wasn’t quite ready. It means that I got the opportunity to tick off the school pitch and I’ll no doubt return to see them at their new place before long.

The sign on the gate stated that it was two quid to get in, but nobody was taking any money. We were an official short too, with just the one lino accompanying the ref on their long trek from the changies. Each of the teams provided a replacement for one half and both did a good job at enthusiastically flagging the opposition offside.

Ponteland were in Newcastle colours with visitors Wallington in green and black. The home side took the lead ten minutes in and held on to it until half-time.

The second half was marred by rain. Normally I wouldn’t have been too bothered by light drizzle, but I only had the one coat with me and didn’t want to have to turn up at the party soaked through. I’d spotted a gap in the fence behind one of the goals and I drove around from the school car park and positioned the car so that I could see the far goal. Whenever the rain stopped I got out and watched from the rail and when it started up again I followed the progress from the more comfortable and drier front seat.

I got lucky in that all four goals in the second half were scored by Ponteland at the end that I could see. They ran out five-nil winners and I was perfectly placed to drive off to the party the moment the ref blew the final whistle.

Newcastle Blue Star v Cullercoats, Saturday 28th August 2021, 2.30pm

September 13, 2021

Jen and I were heading to a party not far from Newcastle so I had a look to see what games were going on nearby. The best option was a fixture in the Northern Alliance Premier Division between Newcastle Blue Star and Cullercoats. The Northern Alliance is a feeder league to the Northern League and with this being in their top division it meant that it was the eleventh tier of English football.

The game was at the Scotswood Sports Centre and we were able to park directly outside. It was three quid admission with a programme for a pound. If you were feeling flush there were tables for ten in a hospitality tent at two hundred and fifty quid a pop. That’s still less per head than getting into the Boro.

Blue Star were in Newcastle strips sporting, as you may imagine, a blue star. Cullercoats had a weird combination of red and black oblongs on their strip.  We settled into a covered seated stand on the opposite side to the hospitality area. The attendance was later announced as 226 with a fairly even split between those at the beer tent tables and those dotted around the remainder of the ground.

I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the ages of the linos. One of them looked about fifteen which isn’t uncommon these days as people get into refereeing at a younger age and progress quickly. The fella on our side must have been well into his sixties, maybe older and therefore around fifty years older than his counterpart. He didn’t miss much though and got little in the way of whinging from the players. I dare say he has seen it all before.

The standard of play understandably seemed lower than that of the higher ranked Northern league and I got the impression that there were fewer former academy prospects looking for a way back into full-time football. It struck me more as being local lads playing at their level.

Blue Star took the lead within the first ten minutes from a free-kick after the Cullercoats keeper had handled a back pass. It was a harsh consequence, but the young lad redeemed himself with some good stops soon afterwards.

By half time the score had increased to four-nil and all the players remained on the pitch. Perhaps there wasn’t room for them in the changies or maybe there weren’t any. It meant that if they could watch the competition where small kids tried to hit the crossbar with shots from age-appropriate distances. Better than a post-mortem from the management any day.

In the second half we were treated to a Cullercoats sub who came on with black socks rather than the red ones that his teammates were wearing. To be fair, he had made a token effort of applying a couple of rings of red tape to them. Then with five minutes to go the home goalie was replaced. He clearly had somewhere else to be as he dashed straight out of the ground. At that stage his team were 8-0 up and that’s the way it finished.