This week on Teesside: March 10th-17th

Aitor Karanka’s time with Middlesbrough ended on Thursday after he was sacked.

While it is sad to see Karanka leave, it is completely the correct decision. For the most part Middlesbrough can look fondly at his time in charge. He brought the club from a stuttering Championship outfit to Premier League in two and a half seasons. He gave the fans some of their best memories at the club in years.

But there is no denying that relations have deteriorated over the past season. His negative tactics and his policy of going out not to lose have the club heading towards the drop after just one season back in the Premier League. There was always that hope Boro would consolidate their Premier League place and enjoy more great moments with Karanka. But his inability to get over a fear of losing has prevented that.

Like Mowbray, Karanka can be thanked for his time at the club but the club is ready for a new direction. The majority of names are not inspiring but Guus Hiddink is the most interesting. The Dutch manager has plethora of experience across Europe, including two spells at Chelsea where he enjoyed relative success.

Karanka should carve himself out a decent managerial career. He has cut his teeth at Middlesbrough and will have learned a lot about the trade. While the Premier League may not beckon for some time, a team in La Liga may take a punt on him.

Gabriel Sutton, editor of the Football Lab, provides a neutral perspective on Karanka’s sacking here- http://www.thefootballab.co.uk/2017/why-middlesbrough-were-right-to-dismiss-karanka/

Aitor-Karanka-719715

Guisborough Town

The Priorymen plunged to the bottom of Division One after another damaging week. Last Saturday they suffered a 5-2 defeat at Dunston UTS.

They followed it up with a another defeat as they went down 4-2 at home to Shildon. A report on the game, courtesy of @NE_NonLeague, can be read here- https://nenonleague.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/guisborough-town-vs-shildon-afc-15032017/

Stockton Town

Stockton Town’s promotion hopes suffered a blow last Saturday as they conceded four second-half goals to draw 4-4 at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion. The Anchors twice had a three-goal lead but squandered it.

On Wednesday they made their way into their first final as a Northern League club with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Durham City in the Semi-Final of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.

Highlights, courtesy of the Northern League, can be viewed here- https://www.facebook.com/theofficialnl/videos/1344123658981027/

Billingham Synthonia

Synners continued their promotion push with eight consecutive victory as Macauley Langstaff’s goal was enough to see off Alnwick Town.

Photos from the game, courtesy of @Synners48Photos can be viewed here- https://www.flickr.com/photos/52194653@N03/sets/72157681482570985

On Tuesday night they exited the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup at the Semi-Final stage after a 2-1 defeat to holders Northallerton Town.

Highlights of the game, courtesy of the Northern League, can be viewed here- https://www.facebook.com/pg/theofficialnl/videos/

Billingham Town

Town returned to winning ways last Saturday with a comfortable win 4-1 win over local rivals Thornaby. Craig Hutchinson grabbed a hattrick as he reached 50 goals for the season.

Predictions

The score is up to 47 after correctly guessing three results last weekend.

West Auckland 2-1 Guisborough Town

Relegation is becoming inevitable for Guisborough and another defeat is most likely from this trip to West Auckland.

Thornaby 0-5 Stockton Town

Thornaby are stumbling towards the end of the season and Stockton are determined to get over the line. There will be no letting up if they get a commanding lead this evening.

Billingham Synthonia 2-1 Team Northumbria

This will be a cagey affair but given their ability to grind out results there is every reason Synners can get over the line in this one.

Bedlington Terriers 0-2 Billingham Town

Town’s need to win more than Bedlington should see them through this one. The confidence certainly returned to their play last weekend.

 

 

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