At a towering six foot six, Hebburn Reyrolle striker Channon North is not only a real handful for defenders, but he has got long legs, writes Jon Tait.
He needed every inch of them in the 85th minute of a tough local derby against Gateshead Rutherford on Saturday as he slid in and stretched to poke a low centre from the right into the corner of the net for the winner that moved his side to within a point of the top of the table.
It was tough on a Rutherford side that had found themselves 2-0 down within 10 minutes as an own-goal and a North strike put them on the back-foot.
But they showed real commitment and desire as goals from Eddie Keenan and former Reyrolle ace Chris Morris pulled them level and they looked to be heading for a deserved point – until North extended his leg through the mud.
Walker Central also showed a lot of character and fighting spirit at Harraby CC and they went ahead in the 8th minute as Fabian Pritchard went clear and tucked away past the exposed keeper for the opener.
Gary Brown headed in the equaliser and Alan Casey bundled in at the back-post as the Cumbrians turned things around – but within five minutes Pritchard had again gone clear and finished coolly to level.
Harraby regained the advantage as Darren Addison fired in from the penalty-spot just after half-time, but Walker were soon back in it as Paul Collinson went clear, dummied the keeper and rolled in the leveller.
With just nine minutes to go, Dan Balmer shaped to fire a stunning 12-yard volley into the roof of the net to win it for Harraby.
Their local rivals Carlisle City remain on top of the table despite going down to an 84th-minute David Atkinson penalty at battling Blyth Town in another end-to-end encounter.
Percy Main’s David Surrey netted a spectacular opener against Shankhouse as he let fly from fully 30 yards with a rising thunderous drive that flashed into the top corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.
Kevin Westphal doubled the advantage with a low free-kick 12 minutes after the break and the points were secured when Tony Abladey applied the decisive touch to another Westphal free-kick with 10 minutes to go. Dean Deagle grabbed a late consolation.
Ponteland United have been in the relegation zone for months now, but they were just five minutes from moving up into safety after Billy Holden had given them the lead at Ashington Colliers when Michael Hogg grabbed a late leveller.
GEORGE DOBBINS LEAGUE CUP
THE Colliers will face Seaton Delaval in the Kicks Leisure George Dobbins League Cup Final after Grant Kershaw raced onto a long ball and fired in the only goal of the game across the diving Whitley Bay A keeper in the second half of extra-time.
NFA SENIOR BENEVOLENT BOWL
KILLINGWORTH Sporting were also celebrating a late extra-time winner at Amble United in the semi-finals of the Northumberland FA senior Benevolent Bowl.
The game looked to be heading towards penalties when Liam Callaghan got on the end of a corner to head in the only goal.
Heaton Stannington went out of the competition 4-1 at Prudhoe Town.
TOM Smith’s double for Newcastle Uni gave them a 2-1 victory over Wallington in Division One, while Gosforth Bohemians cemented third spot with goals from Craig Allen, Dan Child and Joe Collins against Heddon, who replied through an own-goal and Kevin Urwin.
Josh Gow has proved a good signing by Forest Hall and he hit a hat-trick in their 4-2 success over Newcastle Chemfica Independent.
Dan Sherliker got the other with Gareth Davis and Garrick Murphy-Collins hitting the net in reply.
FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION A
CULLERCOATS pulled off a surprise in the First Division Subsidiary Cup Group A with a 3-2 win at fancied Wallsend Town. Chris Anderson, Steven Hart and Jack Whittaker were on target with Dekka Graham and Steve Matthews the Town scorers.
THE top-of-the-table clash in Division Two ended all-square as Paul Newton-Eddy’s opener for Red House Farm was cancelled out by an 80th-minute strike from Hexham’s Liam Heenan.
It also ended deadlocked between Wallsend Boys Club and Northbank at 0-0, with both sides putting in brilliant defensive performances.
Harton & Westoe got back on track as David Graham hit five in their 9-1 demolition of Swalwell.
Birthday-boy Keagan McDermott banged in a brace and Ben Cooper and Shaun Edwards were also on the scoresheet.
Scott Westaway struck twice and Robbie Eastway and Mark Race got the others as Bedlington Terriers Reserves recorded a 4-2 success at Alston, who had Reece Thirtle and Andy Hall on target, while Alnwick Town’s Colin Bickerton fired the only goal against North Shields Athletic in the 70th minute.
The always-deadly John Dewhurst struck twice for Whickham Lang Jacks as their good form continued with a 4-1 win at New Fordley.
Graeme King and Kevin Hay got the others, while Jason Pearson netted a late consolation and Mark Nixon tucked away an 83rd minute penalty for Seaton Burn in their win over Willington Quay Saints.
David Gabbitus netted a double for Wideopen in a 3-1 victory at Cramlington United. Chris Holte got the other and United’s reply came from James Harrison.
RESULTS (Saturday, March 10, 2012)
KICKS LEISURE GEORGE DOBBINS LEAGUE CUP, SEMI-FINAL
Whitley Bay A 0 Seaton Del Ams 1 (aet)
Ashington Colliers 1 Ponteland United 1
Blyth Town 1 Carlisle City 0
Harraby CC 4 Walker Central 3
Hebburn Reyrolle 3 Gateshead Rutherford 2
Percy Main 3 Shankhouse 1
Forest Hall 4 Newcastle Chem Ind 2
Bohemians 3 Heddon 2
Newcastle Uni 2 Wallington 1
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION A
Wallsend Town 2 Cullercoats 3
Alnwick Town Res 1 North Shields Ath 0
Alston 2 Bedlington Terriers Res 4
Cramlington United 1 Wideopen & Dist 3
Harton & Westoe 9 Swalwell 1
New Fordley 1 Whickham Lang Jacks 4
Red House Farm 1 Hexham 1
Seaton Burn 1 Willington Quay Saints 0
Wallsend Boys Club 0 Northbank 0
NFA SENIOR BENEVOLENT BOWL, SEMI-FINALS
Amble United 0 Killingworth Sporting 1 (aet)
Prudhoe Town 4 Heaton Stannington 1
FIXTURES (Saturday, March 17, 2012)
PREMIER DIVISION (kick-off 2.30pm)
Gateshead Rutherford v Walker Central
Heaton Stannington v Percy Main Ams
Hebburn Reyrolle v Shankhouse
Murton v Harraby CC
Ponteland United v Blyth Town
Seaton Delaval Ams v Ashington Colliers
Stocksfield v Killingworth Sporting
DIVISION ONE (kick-off 2.30pm)
Amble United v Wallington
Cramlington Town v Newcastle Uni
Cullercoats v Morpeth SC
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION A (kick-off 2.30pm)
Heddon v Wallsend Town
KICKS LEISURE FIRST DIVISION SUBSIDIARY CUP, SECTION B (kick-off 2.30pm)
Newcastle Chem Ind v Gosforth Bohemians
DIVISION TWO (kick-off 2.30pm)
Bedlington Terriers Res v Seaton Burn
Hexham v Alnwick Town Res
North Shields Ath v New Fordley
Northbank v Red House Farm
Swalwell v Alston
Whickham Lang Jacks v Wallsend BC
Wideopen & Dist v Harton & Westoe
Willington Quay Saints v Cramlington United