League crown secured after success in the cup

Tweedmouth Rangers...0 Red Row Welfare...3

North Northumberland League, Division Two

RED Row wrapped up their league season with a Bank Holiday Monday win over Tweedmouth Rangers in the dress rehearsal for Friday night’s Robson Cup final.

The hosts started the most dangerous with their long throw-ins proving a threat on the very small pitch but Marc Mavin carried on his commanding form from last weekend’s cup final by collecting everything that came into his area.

The visitors found it hard to play their passing game with such little room for manoeuvre but did create a couple of chances, with Kevin Bell and Darren Smith both going close.

Tweedmouth almost grabbed the lead when a low, powerful drive forced a sublime save from Mavin at his near-post, before the same Rangers player was sent off for a horribly-mistimed tackle on Paul Smith.

Red Row took advantage of the extra man and took the lead through Darren Smith, who tapped in Karl Taylor’s cross for his 43rd of the season to take a slender lead into half-time (0-1).

The league champions upped their game slightly in the second half, with Paul Smith forcing a good save from Patterson with a trademark free-kick and Gary Taylor also forcing a good save from the impressive keeper.

David Whenray introduced himself on the hour-mark and his impact was instant, firing home first time from a perfectly-weighted Darren Smith through-ball (0-2).

Whenray then set up Kevin Bell in the dying minutes, finding him with a low cross that he stroked into the top corner (0-3).

This victory ensures Red Row win the league by an impressive seven points.

Red Row: M Mavin, J Giles, M Smith, M Straker, J Charlton, K Taylor, D Palmer, P Smith, K Bell, D Smith, J Gray, D Whenray.HFC Pizza man-of-the-match: Gary Taylor.

Belford...1 Red Row Welfare...4

Bilclough Cup Final

RED Row added the Bilclough Cup to their trophy cabinet after Friday’s highly-entertaining game against a Belford side which has just finished third in Division One.

Red Row started the brighter and almost took the lead early on through Mick Straker who headed just wide directly from a corner. Kevin Bell also went close with a header but Frazer Tait was equal to his effort in the Belford goal. Just as it looked like Red Row were gaining some momentum, Belford took the lead against the run of play with Jefferson firing into the top corner from 25 yards, a goal that would have been worthy of winning any final (1-0).

Red Row dug deep after going a goal down rather than letting their heads drop and almost equalised when Paul Smith’s free-kick clipped the bar but they were soon rewarded for their efforts when an inch-perfect left-foot cross from Dan Palmer found the head of Matty Graham, who directed it home to level the score (1-1).

They got their noses in front just before half-time with another well-worked goal as Bell chipped the ball over the defender’s head into the path of strike partner Darren Smith, who struck a first-time volley into the bottom corner for his 42nd goal of the season (1-2).

The goal just before half-time turned out to be crucial as Red Row stormed out of the blocks after the restart, Sean Palmer headed just over at the back post when Jordan Giles floated a lovely cross over from deep on the right-hand side. Palmer, however, was not to be denied twice and moments later when Darren Smith poked the ball into his path he drove the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot to make it 1-3.

Paul Smith was again denied by the crossbar with another trademark free-kick but they finally put the game to bed when Palmer turned from scorer to provider by slotting in Kevin Bell, who slid the ball past the oncoming keeper to make it 40 for the season for him (1-4).

Bell then hit the bar with a cross-shot before Red Row saw the game out by playing some lovely passing football before lifting their second trophy of the season.

Red Row: M Mavin, J Giles, M Smith, M Straker, D Palmer, K Taylor, P Smith, M Graham, S Palmer, D Smith, K Bell, J Gray, S Anderson, J Charlton, D Whenray. HFC Pizza man-of-the-match: Paul Smith.