By Jon Tait
GATESHEAD Rutherford’s young boss Chris Fairless has spent the summer rebuilding and was rewarded with an opening day win over Wallsend Town.
Fairless was delighted as new signing Danny Hill struck twice and Will Forsyth and Sam Moore got the others as they raced into a 4-1 lead, with Paul Gordon netting for Town. There were a few nervous moments as the visitors, who were reduced to 10 men, hit twice more through Andy Hawthorn and Lee Garwood, but Rutherford held on for the three points – almost half their haul for last season.
Blyth Town raced to the top of the table as goals from Jason Ritchie, Josh Miller, Ian Lee and Daniel Young saw them off to a flyer at Northbank, while a Jordan Nellis double helped Wallington romp to a 4-0 win over Percy Main. Josh Gilmartin and Sam Walton got the others.
Walker Central’s James Walker (pen), Alex Clafton and Carl Begbie slotted in against Red House Farm while a Micky Bowman double gave Killingworth Station the points at Seaton Delaval.
Chris Rue finished a good move to put Shankhouse ahead against Hebburn Reyrolle and Paul Dunn doubled the advantage with Bede Finnegan netting a consolation, while Simon Tucker’s 20-yard drive to open for Carlisle City was cancelled out by a late Andrew Robertson leveller for Whitley Bay A.
Gateshead Redheugh’s Kev Hay had his shooting boots on and helped himself to four in an 8-1 romp at Heddon that swept them to the top of Division One.
Liam Henderson struck a double with Robert Frame and an own-goal completing the rout. Andrew Davison grabbed the consolation.
Birtley Saint Joseph’s Martin Guy also scored in the dying seconds to claim a point at 10-man Ponteland United, who led with goals from John Dunn, Liam Anderson and Peter Scott, with Lee Cuthbertson and Guy getting the others for the visitors.
Matthew Robinson, Andrew Dalton and Tavis Couling struck for Gosforth Bohs in their success against Forest Hall, while Garrick Murphy-Collins struck twice in Newcastle Chemfica Independent’s narrow victory over Bedlington Terriers reserves. Steve McLaughlin hit the other, with John Barret and Josh Laverick replying.
Hexham won 4-3 at North Shields Athletic and Cramlington Town were 3-2 winners over Cullercoats.
Willington Quay Saints 1 Wooler 2
Wooler began their adventure in the first division with a well-deserved victory.
Although falling behind to an early penalty, Wooler always looked the better team.
It was much changed from the team that won promotion last season.
Several senior players decided to retire during the summer and pre-season injuries have meant that some regulars were missing. Several players were making their competitive debuts and they all acquitted themselves well.
Gareth Pearson and Jamie Punton in midfield for Wooler gained plenty of possession and Luke Strangeways and James Jeffrey on the flanks always looked dangerous.
It was Strangeways who scored the equaliser early in the second half as Wooler dominated the play and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. Wooler always looked the most likely to score the winner, but they left it very late with Mark Forrest scoring in the 90th minute to settle the match.
It was good all-round performance from Wooler, with Tom Farr and Luke Strangeways both playing exceptionally well. Wooler’s next match is at home to Heddon on Saturday, with a 2.30pm kick-off.
Chopwell got off to a flyer in Division Two as they won a nine-goal thriller at Grainger Park – with Alan Rennison crashing home four times. Craig Willis got the other with Dwayn Murray (two) and John Somerville (two) replying in an end-to-end battle.
Chris Sword netted a double at Whitburn during Longbenton’s 4-1 success, with Alex Nesbit and Phil Sharpe getting the others, while Nicky Whitelaw’s brace helped Wallsend Boys Club to success at High Howdon. James Garwood got the other, Jason Walsh netting at the other end.
Dan Long was another two-goal hero for Blyth Isabella as they saw off West Allotment Celtic A, with Todd Musgrove also finding the net. Dan Haggerstone notched the consolation while a goal in each half from James Bowman and Danny Igo saw Swalwell see off Wideopen.
It finished all-square at Newcastle Benfield Reserves, who had Andy McBride on target against Alnwick Town Reserves, who replied through Lee Armstrong.
Gateshead Leam Rangers got off to a good start with goals from Lewis Conroy and Tony Falconer giving them three points against Cramlington United, while AFC Newbiggin against Seaton Burn finished goalless.