Colliers’ goal rush unearths pot of silver

The Shilbottle squad are seen after their 3-0 win at Leam Rangers
The Shilbottle squad are seen after their 3-0 win at Leam Rangers

Gateshead Leam Rangers 0 Shilbottle CW 3

Northern Football Alliance, Division Two

Shilbottle were crowned champions of the Northern Football Alliance, Division Two after this victory over their nearest challengers at the Hilltop Playing Fields, Gateshead.

Separated only by goal difference prior to the game, the Colliers took the title in emphatic fashion with a well-earned success.

Despite only having to avoid defeat to take the trophy, the Colliers nevertheless adopted their familiar attacking style and took the lead after 15 minutes when a good ball from Liam Brooks put Josh Hay in the clear to shoot under the Gateshead keeper (0-1).

Shilbottle’s chances improved a further 10 minutes later when Danny Lowes charged down an attempted clearance by the Gateshead keeper to put the ball into an empty net and give the Colliers a two-goal advantage at the interval (0-2).

Play was fairly even after the break, but it took a good save from home keeper Steve Curry to prevent Hay from putting the Colliers further ahead.

With Ross Young and Brendan Balmbra outstanding in the centre of the Shilbottle defence, Gateshead were finding it difficult to create chances, but it did take a couple of fine saves from Andrew Patterson in the Shilbottle goal to deny them a break-through late on.

The game was settled five minutes from time when Shilbottle substitute Adam Shanks was tripped in the box and Ross Gair confidently put away the resultant penalty.

This victory saw the Colliers take the title by three points, with a remarkable goal difference of plus 106, and the team’s top goalscorer Josh Hay hit a total of 65 goals in all competitions.

Shilbottle: A Patterson, R Douglas, J Giles, B Balmbra, R Young, P Grey, M Graham, R Gair, D Lowes, L Brooks, J Hay, A Shanks, C Flanighan, S Hutchins. Shilbottle’s man-of-the-match: Matty Graham.