Posts Tagged ‘Sunderland West End’

Newcastle University v Sunderland West End, Thursday 24th March 2022, 7.30pm

March 30, 2022

This was a game in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup between two sides from the second division of the Northern League, Newcastle University and Sunderland West End. There’s not much between the sides in the table with both teams still in with a chance of promotion so I was expecting a fairly even cup-tie.

The game was at Kimberly Park, Prudhoe. There’s a sign outside that mentions Prudhoe Town so I asked the fella on the gate what happened to them. Apparently, they still run kids teams and a Sunday side but their senior Saturday team folded a couple of years ago when the manager resigned and took most of the players with him.

It was five quid admission. I asked the same bloke about programmes or team sheets and he directed me around the corner to where the teams were being written onto a large whiteboard. I have no idea if the clubs take this competition seriously but the general opinion amongst those stood watching the names go up was that the teams weren’t at full-strength.

I got myself a coffee and then moved along to the main stand. It’s pretty much the only stand, but with the crowd being no more than forty in total you don’t need a lot more. Newcastle were in red with Sunderland in a Brazil-style strip.

The students found it fairly easy in the first half, running at the visiting defence and passing the ball into the net seemingly at will. They went in at the break leading four-one.

Sunderland pulled one back not long after the restart but were never really in the game. When Newcastle scored their fifth, I started to wonder if the game would end up as the highest scoring fixture I’d seen all season. That record is currently held by an eight-nil score line at Newcastle Blue Star back in August.

It took until the closing moments to equal the record when a Sunderland defender arsed about inside his own six-yard box and a Newcastle striker nicked the ball off his toes and tucked it away for a six-two victory. A bloke nearby let rip with an almighty fart, presumably to celebrate the progression to the next round and signalling a cue to those of us nearby to head for the exit.

Sunderland West End v Easington Colliery, Friday 28th January 2022, 7.45pm

February 2, 2022

I’d looked at heading to a game at Ford Quarry earlier in the season but spotted that you needed a covid pass to get in. At the time I was in limbo due to having had a couple of Sputnik jabs whilst in Russia that were preventing me from being further vaccinated in the UK. As the Russian vaccines aren’t recognized in the UK I was struggling to provide any sort of evidence that would get me into events such as a tenth tier football game taking place outdoors with fewer people in attendance than you’d find wandering around Aldi.

Eventually I took matters into my own hands and, by not mentioning my previous jabs, managed to get a couple of Moderna shots at walk-in centres. I’m now eligible for covid passes and once I get a booster I’ll probably, with five vaccinations, have been jabbed more often than most Gennardy Golovkin opponents.

After all of that it turned out that I didn’t need a covid pass after all for the Ford Quarry. I just needed to provide them with my contact details. Once I’d done that I was through the first set of turnstiles and after handing over a fiver admission charge I was soon through the second set and pitch side.

Ford Quarry is just off St. Luke’s Road in Sunderland and so the drive to the game had all been very familiar. My Dad grew up on that road, just a little further along from the Ford Quarry turn-off, and it’s a journey from Norton that I must have done at least two or three hundred times, mainly more than thirty years ago.

Quite a lot of the area just off the A19 has changed since then and it looks as if the old Echo offices have gone. When returning back to Teesside on a Saturday night after visiting my grandparents I was always keen to look out for the neon character up on their wall that signified the Sunderland result by the position of his arm and facial expression.

The photo is of my great-grandad at the house in St. Luke’s Road with what looks like a clay pipe. You don’t see many people smoking those these days.

The fixture between Sunderland West End and Easington Colliery was in the second division of the Northern League. Both teams are fairly new at that level and I suppose I still think of them as being Wearside league clubs. The Northern League, for one reason or another, has opened up and engaged with the pyramid to a much greater extent in recent years and as clubs make the moves upwards to the Northern Premier and the National leagues, it creates space for the likes of these two.

There’s a reasonable chance that both side might progress again this season with visitors Easington going into the game in third place in the table with West End just a point behind in fourth.

The conditions weren’t ideal for football with a strong wind blowing from one end of the pitch to the other. Any empty Quavers packet blew past me at a pace that would have triggered a speed camera and any passes hit in that direction didn’t need a lot of weight on them.

It was cold as well as windy with most of the two hundred or so crowd well wrapped up. A fair few kept warm by raging at the match officials. The lino on our side copped a bit due to his close proximity whilst the ref got similar treatment mainly because that’s what always happens but also because he let a lot go. Mind you, if he had blown for more fouls I’m sure he’d have got stick for that too.

Easington had the best of the opening half-hour, culminating in a ‘goal’ being disallowed for a marginal offside. The lino abuse hadn’t fully died down before West End broke away and opened the scoring. I thought the away keeper made it easier for the striker by leaving a big gap to one side but it was still a tidy finish.

At half-time I went into the clubhouse for a cup of tea and a warm. I missed winning two bottles of vodka in the draw by a single number. It was won by the fella sat next to the bloke who did the draw. That made handing over the prizes a simple task.

I watched the second half from behind the goal at the clubhouse end as I thought that there might be better shelter from the gale. There was a lot of pressure from Easington and a few missed chances before Sunderland ran out the clock with some convenient injuries to hold on for the win.

The three points were sufficient for them to swap places with Easington and move into third place in the table.

Redcar Town v Sunderland West End, Tuesday 14th September 2021, 7.30pm

September 28, 2021

Redcar is well represented in local football these days with Redcar Athletic in Division One of the Northern League, Redcar Town in the Division Two and Redcar Newmarket in the top division of the North Riding League. Jen and I had been there a few days earlier when we’d taken a walk along the coast from Redcar to Saltburn and back.

It’s an enjoyable walk that had been billed as four miles each way. I think that distance is based upon starting in central, or even the most southernly edge of town though as we’d walked for almost an hour before reaching a signpost confirming the four miles remaining to Saltburn.

We’d actually started in a car park that I recognized as somewhere that I’d driven a double-decker bus around in a Cleveland Transit open day that must have been getting on for forty years ago. I’d be happy to have another crack if they ever decide to do it again.

On the outward part of the walk we followed the Cleveland way which took us mainly along clifftops and dune paths. After a brief stop in Saltburn for an ice cream we walked back along the beach. The dog much preferred this due to the abundance of dead creatures for him to roll on. His favourite pastime is to writhe as close as he can to a well-decomposed corpse and on this occasion he was well served by three seals, a few birds and a couple of crabs.

A few days later we were all back in town at the Vitality Stadium in Mo Mowlem Park for the Redcar Town game with Sunderland West End. It was a fiver in, with another quid-fifty for a programme from which I learned that former Boro player Cameron Park had turned out for Redcar earlier in the season. He wasn’t in the squad for this one though.

The Vitality Stadium had a decent clubhouse with benches and tables outside. It was raining though and so we headed for the only covered area which was a small stand to the right of one of the goals with two rows of freshly painted benches. We took up residence in the back row which kept us dry but unfortunately meant that once the clubhouse emptied and the stand filled up with most of the eighty-nine people in attendance we had no view of the goal at our end.

I read in the programme that Town are planning to add another two hundred and fifty seats in different parts of the ground over the coming season. That should solve any viewing difficulties.

Visitors Sunderland West End were in fourth place in the table and had brought a few fans with them who encouraged their team to ‘Gan On’. The heavy rain created a slippery surface and led to a few fouls that may not have happened in drier conditions.

Sunderland opened the scoring after half an hour although we didn’t see the finish due to the crowding in the covered area and having to sit with the dog. We didn’t see the three goals in the second half either because we left at half-time. Sometimes there’s no point in dragging it out.