Around The Alliance - part nine

I featured both Shankhouse and Killingworth in part five of Around the Alliance during the 2009-10 season, so Google searches may want to read up on this previous post for the historical background of both clubs. On the eve of this campaign both clubs switched grounds which was welcoming news for groundhoppers like myself, gaining a couple of new local ticks. To complete the trilogy of this latest episode I also made a long overdue visit to one of my local teams Gateshead Redheugh 1957.
Update - Cullercoats FC - Links Avenue added on 8th December

369. Action Park
Shankhouse 4v0 Willington Quay Saints
Archers of Blyth George Dobbins League Cup
Round 2
Saturday 12th October 2013
After spending the last few years based at the Northburn Complex in Cramlington, Shankhouse have returned to their previous home at Action Park, which is situated three and a half miles south in the Northumberland village of Dudley. The reason for their return is all down to finance and pitch problems at Northburn, where a lot of matches were postponed. During the summer the club held a fundraising day which raised sufficient funds to make future ground improvements to Action Park. The plans include hardstanding, mesh fencing, a new gate and the extension of the dugouts, which are the smallest I’ve ever seen, built back in the days when dugouts were occupied by the manager, trainer and just the one substitute. The ground is fully fenced off with a dugout at each side. The changing rooms are at the main entrance, which also has a refreshment bar where they sell you a proper cuppa in a mug.
There’s also been major club changes behind the scenes during the summer, with Chairman George Davison stepping down after 25 years,  replaced by local businessman and former player Chris Wall. Garry Kirkup has stood down as team manager after 15 years with Johnny Wilson taking over the reigns after eight years as his assistant. Both remain at the club in another capacity along with the recruitment of new members of the committee.
If I looked through my matchday records it will probably show that Shankhouse are the Northern Alliance club which I’ve seen more than any other and their opponents for this League Cup tie were a club I was viewing for the first time -  Willington Quay Saints.
The House comfortably booked their passage into the third round with a three goal burst in a 13 minute spell in the first half. Chris Rue broke the deadlock on 26 minutes, netting the rebound after the Quays keeper parried a long range effort. Ten minutes later Paul Dunn nodded home a left wing cross, before adding his second sliding in from close range in the 39th minute
The hosts struggled to add to their tally in the second half, wasting several golden opportunities, especially striker Dunn who should have easily completed his hat-trick. The fourth goal was finally added in the last minute through substitute Josh Walsh, firing a shot inside the far post to round off a routine victory against the lower ranked side. 

Matchday Stats
SFC 4(Rue 26 Dunn 35,39 Walsh 89) WQSFC 0
Admission £1

371.West Moor Community Centre
Killingworth Station 4v1 Shankhouse
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Saturday 9th November 2013
During the summer Killingworth Sporting Club became Killingworth Station after a sponsorship agreement with one of the local boozers - The Station on Killingworth Drive. Also during the pre-season the club upped sticks to the West Moor Community Centre on Benton Lane. The ground is found on the edge of Killy over the roundabout as your head north from Newcastle via the A189 on Salters’ Lane.

The reason for the change of venue is to give the senior side more independence from the junior set up. The main pitch at West Moor is only used by one other side, a women’s Sunday League team, so there’s less chance of games being postponed due to an overused pitch.

The ground is enclosed on three sides with dugouts at the far side and is roped off from a second football pitch on the near side, so at the moment the pitch doesn’t have perimeter fencing. The changing rooms are within the Community Centre block and there’s a refreshment room where you get your free half-time drink. This is part of your £1.50 admission which includes an 8 page programme, so great value which will attract the groundhopping paper chasers.
On arrival I was pleased to see celebrity groundhopping couple Lee and Katie from the 100FgC and along with the other forty-odd in attendance, we saw a decent game with some terrific goals. Killy were up against, yes you guessed it, my regular Alliance guests....Shankhouse! A goalless first half looked on the cards, with a Hamilton header which rattled the crossbar on 29 minutes, the game’s best effort, but two minutes into first half stoppage time the home team broke the deadlock when Martin Roper latched onto a through ball, before producing a neat chip over the advancing ‘keeper.
Shankhouse responded positively in search of a quick equaliser after the break but fell further behind on 52 minutes, with a goal which the media nowadays would annoyingly describe as “A worldy” Lee Hamilton received the ball 40 yards from goal and looked up to see goalkeeper Joyce off his line, before firing an unstoppable shot which sailed high into the net.
The Killy number nine followed up that wonder strike with another good finish, running onto a through ball in the inside right channel and smashing his shot in off the far post on 64 minutes to make it 3-0.
Shankhouse striker Paul Dunn, who grabbed a brace in my previous Alliance game pulled a goal back, lurking at the far post to tap home a right wing cross, but the three goal advantage was restored in injury time when substitute Michael Bowman curled in a lovely effort to cap off a handsome victory for Killy.

Matchday Stats
KSFC 4(Roper 45+2 Hamilton 52,64 Bowman 90+2) SFC 1(Dunn 84)
Admission, programme and hot drink: £1.50

372. Eslington Park
Gateshead Redheugh 1957 3v1 Birtley St Josephs
Archers of Blyth George Dobbins League Cup
Round 3
Saturday 16th November 2013
Redheugh Boys Club formed in 1957 and have always had the reputation of being one of the best junior football clubs in the region. Back in my own schoolboy playing days I remember if your opponents had a couple of Redheugh players in their side you knew you were in for a tough game, with the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Don Hutchinson and Andy Carroll prove of the quality of players they’ve had through the years..  The club currently run 17 teams from under-7s to under-16s playing in the Gateshead Appollo League and the Russell Foster League. 
The senior team were formed just a few years back taking over the reigns of Whickham Lang Jacks in the Northern Alliance. Lang Jacks finished 5th in Division Two in their only season in the league, with Redheugh finishing 7th in Division One last term.
 In 2006 the club moved from their former base on Rose Street across to the other side of the Teams to Eslington Park. The facilities football pitches are known as “The Shuttles” and I’ve played many times on these grounds, but only have one lasting memory, that was for Glynwood in an away game against Kelvin Grove, when I sadly missed a last minute penalty which would have giving my side a valuable point in the race for the Gateshead Schools Central League title.
 The new pavilion incorporating a clubhouse and state of the art six team changing facility was officially opened by Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew on the 26th January 2012. The £716,000 project was managed by the club in association with Four Housing Group. The club secured a £102,000 grant from the Durham FA and the sports pavillion forms part of a £2.7m community scheme which will develop the overall site, providing residential support and training for young homeless people. The facilities were giving an added boost yesterday(Friday) giving the keys to a fully enclosed new 3G pitch.

The ground is in the shadows of Eslington & Redheugh Court’s - two twenty-story-buildings which have survived the period of when the planners dream went wrong.
The Alliance side play on Pitch 2 of the four available grass pitches, which faces the side of the pavillion. The ground is fully fenced off but currently without dugouts, which will obviously be added if, or when, the seniors win promotion to the Alliance Premier Division.
Redheugh were up against Birtley St Josephs in the 3rd Round of the League Cup - booking their place in the next stage with a 6 minute three goal flurry in the second half.
The home side had the better of the first half and should have gone ahead after 35 minutes when Dewhurst was dragged back in the penalty area, but from the resulting spot-kick the goalkeeper got down well to parry away Alan Pegram’s effort.

They took the lead in the 62nd minute when Kevin Hay ran onto a Scott Robson through ball before taking it under control and firing home under the ‘keepers body. Pegram made up for his first half miss minutes later, running onto a pass and although the ‘keeper got a hand on it, the ball crept in at the far post and within a minute John Dewhurst was on hand to fire from 10 yards.
St Josephs made substitutions and tactical changes to try and claw their way back into the tie and managed a consolation on 75 minutes with a simple tap-in from Lee Cuthbertson, but the match was over in that six-minute burst and hopefully Redheugh can progress much further in the competition.

Matchday Stats
GR1957FC 3(Hay 62 Pegram 66 Dewhurst 67) BSJFC 1(Cuthbertson 75)
Admission and Programme:none

377. Links Avenue
Cullercoats 3v1 Rothbury
Northumberland Minor Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 7th December 2013
Cullercoats is an urban area on the North Tyneside coast sandwiched(egg and tomato...Eddy) between Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. The area has a semi circle sandy bay, which is historically a fishing village and a popular coastal destination for day-trippers. 
The football club was founded in 1915 originally known as Culver Cotes, as the village was once a breeding place for doves, hence ‘culver’ - another name for doves and ‘cote’ a shelter for birds.
A large part of the club's history was in the South East Northumberland League which they won for the first time in 1936-37. They joined the Northern Alliance set up in 1997, winning promotion from Division Two in their second season. The club run a junior section with ages ranging from 8 years to seniors. They were renamed Percy Main Tyne but reverted back to Cullercoats F.C. for the 2006/2007 season, rejoining the Northern Alliance having left the league in 2004. Cullercoats won promotion to the First Division in 2007-08 where they've played ever since.
The Links Avenue ground is found just off Broadway, the main road which runs between Tynemouth from Whitley Bay. At one side of the pitch is the main entrance where the changing rooms, club office and a portacabin canteen are situated. The pitch has a perimeter fence with a pair of conservatory type dugouts. At the bottom end of the ground is a second park pitch with the Metro line and views of St Georges Parish church and the North Sea.

Cullercoats faced Rothbury in the third round of the Northumberland Minor Cup, a competition which brings together Northern Alliance clubs with teams from lower leagues. Rothbury play in the North Northumberland League and gave their hosts a decent game in front of half a dozen watchers which swelled up to seven when I was joined by Squad no.123 Ian Cusack for the second half. 
Cullercoats took the lead after 13 minutes when an inswinging corner kick was touched in at the near post by Richard May but they failed to build on their early lead. The visitors equalised on 37 minutes when Richard Hooks missed a good chance to score but when the ball was recycled, he made no mistake with his second effort. On the stroke of half time Cullercoats regained the lead when a long ball from Johnny Ranson picked out May to head home at the far post.

The second half was a bit of a non event football wise, the highlight was seeing the big referee accidentally elbowing the little Cullercoats midfielder Andrew McClay in the face, which he just laughed off as the player nursed his sore head. Both sets of players seemed more concerned with events at Old Trafford after learning that Newcastle had taking the lead, which they managed to maintain, alas winning for the first time in the city of Salford since February 1972. 
The cup tie was sealed with five minutes remaining when May produced a neat finish to complete his hat trick which rounded off a straightforward victory and a place in the last 16 of the Minor Cup.

Matchday Stats
CFC 3(May 13,45,85) RFC 1(Hooks 37)
Admission & programme:none

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