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North Northumberland League round-up (Saturday, April 11, 2015)

North Northumberland Football League news and reports.
North Northumberland Football League news and reports.

Anderson Cup Final

Wansbeck AFC 2 Tweedmouth Rangers 1

Wansbeck AFC went home with the spoils after the first cup final of the current campaign at St James’ Park, Alnwick, after a very even game. Tweedmouth Rangers drew first blood when Craig Howard converted from the penalty spot after 15 minutes.

Wansbeck drew level on the half-hour when Glen Straughan was on hand to equalise.

Tweedmouth Rangers had chances to regain the lead, but on at least three occasions, a mixture of poor finishing and good defending saw the score remain at 1-1. On the stroke of half-time, Wansbeck scored what turned out to be the winning when goal when Ryan Wilson expertly slotted home a cross from the right.

In the second half, Tweedmouth Rangers pressed for the equaliser, but never really created any clear-cut opportunities while Wansbeck seemed to be happy to play out the game at 2-1.

BILCLOUGH CUP, SEMI-FINAL

Bamburgh Castle 1 Lowick United 2

Bamburgh began with the wind at their backs and put Lowick under pressure, forcing a couple of saves and shooting wide before play evened out.

Chances then dried up with both defences on top.

Early in the second half, Lowick were fortunate to be awarded a penalty when home defender Chris Bell was sent crashing headlong in the area and adjudged to have handled.

Paul Wood dispatched the resulting penalty with the minimum of fuss to give Lowick the lead (0-1).

Bamburgh were soon almost level when Johny Johnson looked to have scored, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.

Then substitute Nick Moore handed Bamburgh a lifeline when his mazy run into the box forced Lowick to concede a penalty. Chris Bell stepped up to convert it and level the tie (1-1).

However, Bamburgh barely had time to compose themselves as Paul Wood charged forward and went down just outside the area. Wood himself produced a bit of magic to send the ball over the wall and beyond Parking to seal the tie and send Lowick into the final.

Man-of-the-match, Bamburgh: Chris Bell. Lowick: Paul Wood.

SANDERSON CUP, SEMI-FINAL

Alnmouth United 0 Red Row Welfare 0 (4-2 pens)

Dane Dawson’s heroics between the posts kept alive Alnmouth United’s hopes of league-and-cup double after a tense goalless semi-final was dramatically decided by penalties. Regaining a starting place between the sticks following injury and the unavailability of their regular keeper, Dawson was to prove the pivotal player, although another defender, Andrew Martin, was voted man-of-the-match for Alnmouth for a fine all-round display, with Luke Baston awarded top performer for their opponents.

Played at Hadston due to the unavailability of Alnmouth’s ground, Red Row started with a strong wind at their backs. They enjoyed prolonged periods of pressure and on the half-hour mark, from a succession of corners, Darren Smith forced a superb point blank save from Dawson.

After the interval, Alnmouth came more into the match and Matty Robson rose above the defence to head just over from a Peter Murray free-kick. But the Welfare were still pressing and looked to have set up a decisive breakthrough on 70 minutes when Smith was brought down in the area, but Dawson was equal to the same player’s penalty and his side almost turned the tables when Liam Jefferson set Murray away, only for his effort to fly narrowly wide with keeper John Charlton beaten.

As both sides tired in extra-time, Red Row regained the impetus with the introduction of Kevin Bell and Max Anderson. After springing the offside trap in the second period, the latter was unlucky to see his lob beat Dawson but not the post, while in reply in the dying stages, Dan Carey went close with a stunning 25-yard half-volley.

The opening penalties of Peter Murray and Ronnie Warwick were saved, while Andrew Murray, Liam Jefferson and Jordan Turnbull were successful for Alnmouth and Sean Black and David Shepherd were likewise for Red Row, but when Kevin Bell failed, it was left to Brett Rogerson to register the decisive strike to set up a final with Bamburgh.

Alnmouth United: D Dawson, R Wright, R Jones, W Simpson (D Carey), A Martin, P Murray, B Rogerson, L Jefferson, A Murray, M Robson (S Ayre), J Donohoe (J Turnbull).

Red Row: J Charlton, L Eason, M Smith, D Palmer (C Baston), R Warwick, D Shepherd, L Baston, C Flanaghan, S Palmer (M Anderson), D Smith (K Bell), S Black.

Referee: P Holleran. Match sponsor: Mark Longstaff, Willowtree Garden Services.

This week, Alnmouth wrap up their league campaign with a visit to likely runners-up Tweedmouth Rangers while Red Row entertain Wansbeck.

RUNCIMAN CUP, SEMI-FINALS

Springhill 4 Craster Rovers 0

Teams from the north of the county were victorious when Springhill and Tweedmouth Harrow both secured a place in the final to set up a local derby.

On a windswept Pier Field in Berwick, Springhill and Craster Rovers played a very even first half and, even though the score remained 0-0, both teams were trying to play attractive football in poor conditions.

On the hour-mark, Springhill eventually took the lead when Chris Jenkins headed home a Colin Young cross.

On 70 minutes, the lead was extended when a driven cross from Young was flicked home by Richard Green at the near-post.

In an attempt to get back into the game, Craster pushed men forward and in the last five minutes were caught twice on the break, with Young and Jardine scoring to make the scoreline a rather flattering but deserving 4-0 victory to Springhill.

Amble St Cuthbert 1 Tweedmouth Harrow 2

Following their shock defeat at Lynemouth in the league last week, the Cuddies looked to be very much up for their first semi-final against the same opponents and took the lead in the first three minutes with prolific goalscorer Reece Ramsay finishing with aplomb for his 47th goal of the campaign.

Playing with the strong wind, the Cuddies were dominant, but three or four good further opportunities were squandered and the mid-table Tweedmouth side threatened, with Amble keeper Christian Hall making one particularly good save with his feet.

On the stroke of half-time, an unnecessary challenge from behind led to a Harrow penalty, which was well taken.

The Cuddies now had to play good football against the wind and fashioned two golden opportunities in the opening minutes, but Reece and Liam Ramsay’s shots unusually went straight at the keeper. A better shot from Liam was tipped over by the Harrow’s now confident custodian.

With the wind strengthening, Harrow were now in a good position to cause a cup upset and, sure enough, when an Amble throw-in was misdirected, a Tweedmouth striker got a shot away which went in off the inside of Hall’s right post. A classic cup sucker-punch.

The Cuddies could only waste further late opportunities to force extra-time in the last three minutes and their defence of the Runciman Cup, the first honour of their brief history, had failed.

They hope for better luck in the Robson Cup semi, also at home, on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.

Post-match hospitality: The Blue Bell. Match sponsor: Palin & Twyford Solicitors.

DIVISION TWO

Alnmouth 0 Embleton WR 3

Embleton WR shook off last week’s disaster at Springhill when they returned from Alnmouth with a 3-0 victory.

Embleton’s goal came from a Jake Wilkin brace and one from Gardley.