Farewell to the Teesside Football Blog

After just over three years, the Teesside Football Blog is coming to an end.

Starting with an Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup match between Norton & Stockton Ancients and Whickham back in 2014 and ending with the FA Vase Final between Stockton Town and Thatcham Town. It has been some journey for the blog I started as a University student looking to produce more of my own content.

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My first covering Synthonia for the blog. Unfortunately the game ended 1-0 in favour of Dunston UTS

The reason for ending is the blog is I can announce that I will be joining the Stockton Town media team. The plan is start to a YouTube channel for the club and hone my skills within one club. As someone who’s ultimate goal is to work within the football media, I feel Stockton are a club going places and somewhere I can grow alongside the club.

I also feel I am unable to do justice in terms of trying to cover every club the Teesside region has to offer. Although I may still record the odd match highlights if I have the time to.

I have certainly enjoyed my time covering Teesside football. It has opened my eyes to the rich football scene we have in this area. Beyond the obvious Middlesbrough, there are some great stories. Marske United in particular stand out, twice they have won the league title in my time producing this blog and next season they start a new adventure in the Evo-Stik League.

The first title in 2015 will live long in my footballing memory, with the Easter Weekend of that year with the epic 4-2 win over West Auckland and 2-1 win at local rivals Guisborough Town  the main highlights. Especially the latter given both sides were in with a shout of the title at the time.

Of course, Stockton Town’s rise from a Wearside League club to a Northern League club that has recently played at Wembley has been much documented.

Billingham Synthonia haven’t been short of excitement during the three years. In the first year they were relegated for the first time since the 1980s. In the second they just missed out on an instant return and in the third they were promoted back to Division One. Sadly a move away from Central Avenue and relocation to Norton resulted in an instant relegation back to Division Two. Thankfully though the club has a new chairman in Jamie Pollock and things are potentially looking up again.

There is not much I’d like to see more in Teesside football than the return of Billingham Town to Division One. Town has always been a club where community has been at the heart and it’s place that deserves success. Over the last few years it has been frustrating to see them struggling to get out of Division Two. Again, like Synthonia with a new chairman in Paul Beddow at the helm hopefully they can finally get that promotion.

Moving to Stockton on full-time basis means I have also given up my Middlesbrough season ticket, something I have held for over ten years. It has been enjoyable watching the team I support on a regular basis . There has been some great days such as the playoff victory over Brentford and the promotion in 2016 following the 1-1 draw with Brighton.

We’re going up! #finally #getin #Boro #promotion #Premier League #epl

A post shared by James Cartwright (@jamescartwright628) on

 

Admittedly there was also many dark days with the Gordon Strachan era standing out and of course two relegations from the Premier League. It hasn’t been the rosiest era for Middlesbrough, from an established Premier League to now a Championship regular, it’s fair to say the club’s stock has fallen. Hopefully with myself gone, their fortunes will upturn.

I’d like to end by extending my thanks to everyone who has ever supported the blog by visiting, liking and engaging with my content. I hope I improved the coverage of Teesside Football, if only marginally.

 

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Stockton Town 0-1 Thatcham Town: Wembley misery for Anchors

Stockton Town suffered Wembley heartbreak as Shane Cooper-Clarke’s first half penalty was enough to win Thatcham the FA Vase.

Stockton Town reached the final following a thrilling Semi-Final victory over Marske United, while Thatcham Town had downed 1874 Northwich in their tie.

The game started in a feisty manner with the both teams laying the heavy challenges in. The game’s first shot came after 11 minutes when Thatcham’s Ekow Elliott fired wide.

Stockton then had the game’s best chance when a long ball found Fred Woodhouse who lobbed it over goalkeeper Chris Rackley. Chris Stockton tried to reach the ball but he was beaten by a fantastic piece of defending from Thatcham’s Baboucarr Jarra.

Then like a bolt from the blue, Thatcham lead when they were awarded a penalty after Jordan Brown was fouled in rash fashion by James Ward. Up stepped leading scorer Cooper-Clarke to give the Kingfishers the lead.

The combination of Gavin James and Elliott was causing constant problems for Stockton and shortly before halftime great play between the two forced a freekick in a dangerous area. Tom Melledrew had his first attempt blocked before he forced an excellent save from Michael Arthur with the follow up.

Early in the second half, Stockton squandered an excellent opportunity when superb work from Nathan Mulligan on the right wing found a wide open Stockton but he was unable to find way past Rackley.

Moments later Jamie Owens weaved an opening from outside the area before his shot went narrowly wide of the right post.

Elliott’s excellence continued into the second half and another bursting run almost laid a great ball into the path of James but he was unable to get a clean connection.

Thatcham again almost doubled their lead when acres of space were given to Copper-Clarke in the box but the striker couldn’t get the better of Arthur.

Stockton then tried to add more spice to their attack by bringing on attacking full-back Matthew Garbutt on for Joe Carter. It almost had the desired effect when his run down the right resulted in a fizzing ball that Owens was just unable to connect with.

Thatcham thought they had a second in the 65th minute when Cooper-Clarke found James free in the six-yard area but his effort came off the bar and bounced on the line despite what the Kingfishers fans thought.

With 15 minutes remaining Stockton were still in the game but it was only thanks to ‘life on the line’ defending with both Harrison Bayley and Elliott denied by an Anchors defenders hauling their bodies at the ball.

Stockton then had a huge opportunity when Nathan Mulligan put in a delicious ball with his outside of his foot, it was punched out as far his brother Dale who saw his shot blocked on the line.

Stockton forced the pressure with a few corners in the dying minutes with Dale Mulligan’s header over the best chance of the lot.

In their attempts to get back into the game, Stockton brought everyone forward including goalkeeper Arthur. That gave Thatcham substitute Ross Cook a chance for an empty-net goal but Garbutt slid the ball away to ensure it stayed 1-0.

Unfortunately that was the way it ended and Teesside’s Wembley disappointment continued as Thatcham lifted the Vase. Perhaps most frustratingly it was because the Anchors didn’t show up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FA Vase Final Preview: Stockton Town v Thatcham Town

Forget the royal wedding, forget the FA Cup Final, this weekend is all about the FA Vase Final.

At least for Teesside it is. And I for one can’t wait for it. A Teesside team reaching the FA Vase Final is a dream that was in the back of the mind when I started this blog. For that day to be almost here is somewhat surreal.

I have visited Wembley a few times but the last time very much left scars that have only recently healed. I am, of course, talking about Middlesbrough’s 2-0 defeat to Norwich City in the 2015 Playoff Final. For many Teessiders including myself, this day represented a chance for Boro to get back in the big time. Unfortunately, Boro were akin to a rabbit in headlights and goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond saw that dream crushed instantly.

For Stockton Town, they are arguably much bigger favourites to win the FA Vase than Middlesbrough were to get promoted that day. The Northern League has a fantastic pedigree in the Vase having won the last three. Last season’s seemed a formality given the domination of South Shields, the season before Morpeth shocked favourites of the day Hereford but the 4-1 scoreline suggests many had underestimated the Highwaymen and before that North Shields only just overcame Glossop 2-1. The last defeat for the Northern League was back in 2014 when West Auckland lost 1-0 to Sholing. But West were perhaps still reeling from their defeat to Dunston in 2012, with Wembley being all too much again.

The Stockton Town players are no strangers to the big occasion as many of them have recently recaptured their FA Sunday Cup title with Hardwick FC. Adam Nicholson, Dale and Nathan Mulligan, James Ward, Jaime Owens and Sonni Coleman are just some of the names that play for both clubs.

The Hardwick link is something that makes this Stockton team so likeable. They are literally mates playing football together. It is such a great football story and it is something that it just unseen almost across the board in any sport.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en-gb”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Our very first home game in senior football against Redcar Rugby Club in the Teesside League 2nd Division, 5 of these players will run out at Wembley this weekend. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/UTA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#UTA</a&gt; <a href=”https://t.co/mSJlZqi8M4″>pic.twitter.com/mSJlZqi8M4</a></p>&mdash; Stockton Town FC (@stockton_townfc) <a href=”https://twitter.com/stockton_townfc/status/997382565748191232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>18 May 2018</a></blockquote> https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I haven’t had the pleasure of watching their rise from their very beginning in men’s football but this Wembley final is still very far removed from my visit covering them for this blog over three years ago. A 4-2 victory over Spennymoor Town reserves. It was clear to see they needed to move up and they would progress. Nobody was anticipating it would happen all so fast.

The run has been incredible and can be relieved here through my Twitter thread:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”><a href=”https://twitter.com/stockton_townfc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@stockton_townfc</a&gt; incredible run to the FA Vase Final. A thread:</p>&mdash; James Cartwright (@James94Cart) <a href=”https://twitter.com/James94Cart/status/977918196371132418?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 25, 2018</a></blockquote> https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Finally it’s onto Thatcham Town, the Kingfishers are tough opposition as would be expected in a Cup Final. They have recently been crowned champions of the Hellenic League with 98 points from 38 games. What is perhaps more remarkable is the fact they average more than three goals a game and concede an average of less than a goal a game.

In addition to this they also have a forward, Shane Cooper-Clarke, who has 20 goals for the season. So if there’s ever a player to watch out for, it will be him. Such is Non-League, it is only possible to look at Thatcham through the eyes of statistics and hear say.

For much more a comprehensive guide to Stockton’s opponents. Check out their local news website, Newbury News: https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/sport/24280/support-continues-to-grow-for-thatcham-town.html

I can only extend my best of luck to Stockton Town in the final and hope that finally a Teesside club can get it right at Wembley.

Make sure it check out my Twitter feed @james94cart, the blog’s YouTube page and this blog for coverage of the big game Sunday.

 

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Billingham Town 9-1 Alnwick Town: Town end season in style

Billingham Town put up a sensational display as they thrashed Alnwick Town 9-1.

Four goals from Jason Blackburn and five from Ash Lavan gave Town the victory.

Within six minutes, the home side were ahead when Blackburn beat goalkeeper Rob Hodgson to the ball and lobbed it over him.

Town continued to look promising with crisp passing ending with a long shot from Gary Redman which was saved.

Soon after Mark Dixon put in an excellent ball but Lavan was unable to direct his header on goal.

Town were rightly two up in the 22nd minute when Elliott Beddow’s corner fell perfectly in the box for Blackburn to rifle home.

Although the game ended in such a rout Hodgson did his best to keep the score down. Lavan was denied by the goalkeeper when he was played through one-on-one.

Lavan wasn’t be denied again as he received the ball from Jack Connor then he shot trickled past Hodgson for 3-0.

Alnwick hit back when Tony Brown was afforded time to settle the ball down and fire a beauty into the corner past a rooted Lewis Shaw.

But, alas that was not to last as Town restored their three goal lead when Stephen Oakley headed Beddow’s corner onto the bar before Lavan converted the rebound.

After a quiet start to the second half, Town got their fifth in the 68th minute when Blackburn was released to complete his hattrick.

Another goal followed just two minutes later when Blackburn was alert to volley home after Lavan’s effort was saved.

Lavan then went on a goalscoring spree to complete the rout. First he comfortably finished when the ball fell to him in the box.

Again he found space and time in the box to shoot home comfortably

Finally he made it 9-1 when he followed in a rebound from a Hodgson save.

It was an excellent way to end what has been a frustrating campaign for Billingham Town. Perhaps next season, if all the ingredients are all right, we may see a real challenge at promotion to Division One.

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Stockton Town 1-3 Dunston UTS: League Cup Semi-Final Highlights

Liam Thear scored a hattrick as Dunston UTS ended Stockton’s interest in this season’s League Cup.

Next up for Stockton is a trip to Jarrow Roofing on Saturday.

Billingham Town 3-1 Chester-Le-Street Town: Highlights

Billingham Town returned to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Chester-Le-Street Town.

Calum Greaves header gave the visitors the lead before second half goals from Brandon Kirkbride, Ash Lavan and Elliott Beddow sealed a morale boosting win for the home side.

The victory helps keep up their pursuit of a top six finish. Next up are two midweek trips to Durham City and Blyth AFC.

 

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This week on Teesside: April 14th-20th

Following a few weeks of bad weather, Teesside football managed to go ahead this week with lots happening involving our teams.

Marske United

The Seasiders continued with their #MissionImpossible this week with back-to-back wins over Washington and Dunston.

On Tuesday night a braces from Craig Gott and Curtis Round along with a goal from Mikey Roberts secured a 5-0 win over Washington. They then followed it up on Thursday night with a 2-0 win over Dunston thanks to goals from Glen Butterworth and Roberts.

This intense fixture list continues as they face North Shields, Ryhope CW, Bishop Auckland and Seaham before next week’s round-up.

Stockton Town

The Anchors sealed their place in the Semi-Finals of the League Cup with a 3-2 win at Morpeth Town.

Stockton fell behind twice before a Fred Woodhouse strike and a penalty from Nathan Mulligan brought them the win.

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Guisborough Town

The Priorymen enjoyed a successful week picking seven points up against Seaham Red Star, Morpeth Town and Shildon.

A report on their 3-1 win over Seaham on Saturday can be read here: http://guisboroughtown.co.uk/news/post/superb-win-as-priorymen-leapfrog-seaham

Photos can also be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/154166104@N05/sets/72157692539301592

On Monday night they held Morpeth Town to a 1-1 a draw at Craik Park.

Then on Wednesday night, a David Onions goal helped them to a 1-0 win over Shildon.

Billingham Synthonia

After the positive news that Jamie Pollock will be arriving at the club as the new chairman, Synners endured another difficult week on the pitch.

On Saturday they went down 5-2 at Bishop Auckland.

They then lost 3-1 at Whitley Bay on Tuesday night before rounding it off with a 6-1 defeat at home to Ashington.

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Thornaby FC

The Blues had an excellent week with three wins out of three.

On Saturday they won 2-0 at Esh Winning. Here’s a report from the perspective of the home side: https://eshwinningfc.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/match-report-esh-winning-0-2-thornaby-14-4-18/

They followed that up by reaching the Quarter Final of the EA Cup with a 1-0 win over Durham City. Lewis Murphy’s strike enough to take them through.

Finally, on Thursday night goals from Joe Posthill and Kallum Hannah secured a 2-0 win at Willington which put them 4th in the league.

Billingham Town

It wasn’t such a great week for Billingham Town who suffered back-to-back defeats. On Saturday they went down 3-1 at Willington before losing out 2-1 at Crook on Thursday night.

To keep up to date with the club, make sure to check out their Bedford Bugle blog: http://billinghamtownfc.net/bedfordbugle.html

Wearside League

Redcar Athletic continued their pursuit of Northern League football with three wins over Harton & Westoe, Silksworth and Coxhoe Athletic.

Sport on Tees (@SportonTees) went to capture the action of their win over Coxhoe.

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