Around The Alliance 23

695.Armstrong Park
Rothbury 1-1 Forest Hall
Northern Alliance 1st Division
Saturday 17th August 
 Rothbury is a town and civil parish in Northumberland on the River Coquet, 13.5 miles northwest of Morpeth. (population over 2,000) It was chartered as a market town in 1291, becoming a centre for dealing in cattle and wool for the surrounding neighbouring villages.

Rothbury FC are one of the oldest football clubs in Northumberland, dating back to 1876. The current side stepped up from the North Northumberland League to win the 2nd Division of the Northern Alliance last season.

Armstrong Park is just on the edge of the town centre, although it's easy to miss after the welcome sign was taken away. I travelled up with Lee & Katie and we met up with our Hull Hopper friends - Dave and Phil. I was aware of the location of the ground but our Groundhopping pals from East Yorkshire struggled to find it. 
The ground has a picturesque setting with grass banking behind one of the goals and running down one side. There’s a couple of park benches with the changing room block on top of the hill. It was officially opened in 1979 by Lord Armstrong, the grandfather of actor, TV and radio presenter Alexander Armstrong.(a pointless fact) The club describe it as - ‘The perfect setting for free flowing passing football, wonderfully maintained by dedicated volunteers’.
It finished all square in the Division One clash with Forest Hall. After a scoreless first half the deadlock was broken just after the hour mark, when Innocent Charinda stroked home the penalty after a foul in the area. Rothbury equalised late on when a free kick aimed at the back post, fell to Gareth McCann who fired home from close range.
Also I must mention that in the fifth minute Rothbury’s Joel Laviers lost his temper after a throw in was awarded to the visitors which resulted in the referee sin-binning the player. This means he has the honour of being the first player I’ve seen sent to the bin following this new enforced rule from this season.

Matchday Facts
RFC 1(McCann)
FHFC 1(Charinda pen)
2.30pm ko

696. Crag Park
Seaton Sluice 1-3 Burradon
Northern Alliance 2nd Division
Wednesday 21st August

Seaton Sluice is a village divided by a bridge across the Seaton Burn in Northumberland, midway between Whitley Bay and Blyth.(population about 3,000)
Seghill FC joined the Northern Alliance from the Newcastle Corinthians League for the 2017-18 season. In December 2018 they changed their name to Seaton Sluice FC and have finished 14th and 11th and their two seasons in the 2nd Division.

Crag Park is just off Beresford Road- the A193 which runs up the coast. There is a changing room block at the entrance with the pitch roped off, running downwards towards the North Sea. I drove over to the coast with Lee & Katie and also watched the game with legendary Toon supporter Glenn Wallace, who called to the match in between cricket at Scarborough and heading back hyem to Ashington.

The Sluice lads have made a good start to the season but came a cropper against an impressive Burradon. Lee Isbister fired in at the second attempt to give the visitors the lead just before the break, before taking control of the game in the second half. In the 64th minute a corner kick was headed onto Adam Corbett who skillfully vollied home, before Harry Poole hammered home from a right wing cross to make it 3-0 with twenty minutes left.  The home side grabbed a late consolation when a daisy cutter free kick from Liam Bainbridge was deflected in by Steven Robinson.

Matchday Facts
SSFC 1(Robinson 90+1)
BFC 3(Isbister 43 Corbett 64 Poole 70)
6.15pm ko

Scotswood Sports Centre.(revisit)
Newcastle Blue Star 3-2 AFC New Fordley
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Saturday 24th August 
I visited the Scotswood Sports Centre when Grainger Park Boys Club were the residents, before they became FC United of Newcastle and relocating to Wallsend in 2017. You can read about my previous visit in August 2016 in part seventeen of Around The Alliance.
The original Newcastle Blue Star was founded in 1930 and were FA Vase winners in 1978 as a Wearside League side.

The club won promotion to the Northern Premier League when they folded in June 2009. In 2018  local businessman Steve Best had a vision to bring the club back to life, so the new set up merged with Hazlerigg Victory and relocated to the Scotswood Sports Centre. The new club is managed by former Newcastle United midfielder/full back Kenny Wharton AKA “The pride of Blakelaw”
Since my previous visit, the ground has been improved with a new pitch perimeter fence and dugouts.  The new revamped clubhouse was officially opened in October 2018 by Lady Elsie Robson and named the Sir Bobby Robson Lounge.
 The Premier Division teams both with four league wins out of four met in a cracking game with Blue Star coming out on top. New Fordley took the lead in the 21st minute when a right wing cross was met by Connor Andrews with a well taking side foot volley. 

The home team quickly responded with a corner cross producing an own goal, then taking the lead with a cracking shot from Scott Goldsmith from outside the box to make it 2-1 at half time.

The game was evenly matched with the visitors equalising with a well taking 20 yard free kick from Kieran Pyle.  The record crowd at Scotswood were rewarding with the winner on 68 minutes, when Owen Breaton ran on to a defensive clearance to rifle home to make it 3-2 to the Star.

Matchday Facts
NBSFC 3(OG 29 Goldsmith 34 Breaton 68)
AFCNF 2(Andrews 21 Pyle 64)
2.30pm ko
Att.232 (a ground record)
Admission £2
(including 4 page colour programme)

698.Shibdon Park
Winlaton Vulcans 6-1 Whitley Bay Res
Northern Alliance Premier Division
Wednesday 28th August 2019
I visited Winlaton Vulcans in August last year and you can read about the club’s potted history here. 

Last season the Vulcans finished 3rd in the First Division, winning promotion to the Premier Division. For this new campaign in the top division the club have moved from Axwell View to the bottom of Shibdon Bank into Blaydon, playing home fixtures on Shibdon Road. The ground is fully railed off with a couple of brick dugouts on one side. The changing rooms are at the edge of the car park, looking downwards onto the pitch.
 The Vulcans played Whitley Bay Reserves in the last of the early season midweek fixtures. After a quiet start the home side took a stranglehold on the game with a four goal burst in a fifteen minute spell. Scott Palmer got them on their way firing in a right foot shot in the 15th minute before a Niall Codling cross went in off a defender. A fine cross field pass found Sean Best who took the ball on the left flank and finished well with a left foot drive, then in the 29th minute a cross from the right was slid in by Jack Henderson to make it 4-0 at half time.
Before this match I had seen 95 goals this season, so the honour of goal number 100 went to Jack Henderson with a fabulous overhead kick to score his second of the game, a worthy goal to bring up my first ton of the 19-20 season.
Sean Best also scored grabbed his second, cutting in from the left and firing in from the edge of the box to bring up the half dozen. The visitors added a late consolation in the last minute to make the final score 6-1, so a good score to follow on from the 5-1 victory I saw them achieve last season.

Matchday Facts
WVFC 6(Palmer 15 OG 18 Best 19,63 Henderson 29,55)
WBRFC 1(#9 90)

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