Around the Alliance - part one

Ground no.154 - Grounsell Park
Heaton Stannington v Newcastle University
1st December 2007

Stannington are based east of Newcastle city centre in High Heaton, formed way back in 1919 as previous members of the Tyneside and Northern Amateur Leagues, before joining the Northern League prior to the First World War, the club were elected as non-playing members when football recommenced after the Second World War because the ground was still being used by the
military during the 1945-46 season. The club resigned from the league in 1952 and joined the Northern Alliance where they’ve largely played ever since, apart from a ten year break in the Wearside League between 1972 and 1982.
The ground was formerly known as Newton Park but is now recognized as Grounsell Park and has the basic standards for this level, with a white perimeter fence and dugouts on either side, spectators stand in front of the clubhouse on a built up patio area to view the game from over the home dugout where there’s also a diminutive shelter. The car park is inside the entrance grounds with a large portakabin used for changing rooms and storage in the corner.
Heaton Stannington looked to be heading for a comfortable win, but for a plucky comeback from a young University side, coming back from 4-1 down to 4-3 made for a great finish, although Heaton had good chances to secure the victory themselves, they held on the take the three points, so both teams put on a good show, pity it was in front of a near empty ground.

Matchday facts
unofficial HC att. 8
Score 4-3 – scorers: Yates(9,51,54), Scott(45 )-/- Blunt(38,80), Robertson(64)

Ground no.156 - Monkchester Green
Walker Central v Shankhouse
29th December 2007

Walker Central is another club due east of Newcastle, tucked in between Byker and Wallsend; formed in 1988 by amongst others, former Newcastle United player Lee Clark and scout Brian Clark, they won promotion to the Northern Alliance Premier in only their second season. In 1995 the club added Central to their name and won the Alliance title for the only time so far in 2000-01.
In 2004 the club received the FA Charter Standard Community Award, as well as the senior side there is and now over 20 boys and girls junior teams of all ages
The ground has the basic requirements with a spacious clubhouse and changing facilities called the Peggy Shepherd Pavilion (opened by MP Kate Hoey) set back from the park, the club are ambitious and have looked into the possibility of installing lights and eventually progressing to the Northern League.
A great first half performance saw the league leaders race into a four goal lead, it was hard to tell if Walker were good or if Shankhouse were.. well…shank! but an improvement in the second half saw Central only add one more to their total after missing a hatful of chances with the visitors grabbed a consolation goal themselves.
There was a decent crowd present due to the fact that other games close by were hit by the wet weather, amongst those were three ground hoppers who made the long trip from Staffordshire to bag a couple of grounds in Newcastle (they later went up the road to visit Team Northumbria) they like myself enjoyed a very good game with the home side looking a good bet for the title.

Matchday Facts
Unofficial HC att.52
Score 5-1 - scorers - Cave(14) Mills(17) Miley(32,35) Lamb(55) -/- Binney(64)

Ground no.159 Ponteland Leisure Centre
Ponteland United v Heddon
19th January 2008

Ponteland is a suburb north-west of Newcastle, just over the Northumberland border, located close to Newcastle Airport and neighbouring upmarket Darras Hall, a favoured setting for the north-east’s rich and famous.
Ponteland United were formed in 1900 and have played in the Northern Alliance since 1983/84, finishing runners-up in the league twice during the ‘90’s, they’ve also lost nine of the various leagues cup competitions, so the club have won nothing in their time but have come mighty close. In 2006 the club formed a junior section, merging with local side Blue Star Junior FC producing players to eventually make the progression to the senior side.
The ground is situated within the grounds of the Ponteland Leisure Centre, fenced off separately from the complex and the nearby local rugby club, with changing facilities in a building attached at the far side of the centre, there’s a doorway sharing access for players and paying customers with the dugouts at the far side of the ground.
The game didn’t fall victim to the wet weather, with the pitch holding up well, giving way to an enjoyable match
An enjoyable, but at times physical encounter between Ponteland and local rivals Heddon on a pitch which held up well surviving the preceding weeks wet weather, allowing some good football from both teams. Heddon were the better side, it could really have been game over by half-time, after missing several good chances, a fine headed goal from ‘McElroy was all they had to show for their efforts at the break. ‘Pont’ improved in the second half with an equaliser out of the blue courtesy of a long range effort from Willis, but a late winner by Zubairn finishing off a fine move gave Heddon a deserved victory.
The match saw plenty of dirty tackles flying about, surprisingly not only were no players sent off, but there wasn’t a single yellow card issued, I suspect the referee must have forgotten his cards which added to the frustration of the management, players and both sets of supporters, but on a personal level added to the afternoons entertainment.

Matchday Facts Unofficial HC attendance 45
Score 1-2 - scorers - Wills(58)-/- McElroy(30) Zubairn(83)

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