Rothbury into semi’s of the Combination Cup
With the exception of Rothbury, the Northern Alliance League was a wash-out for local sides at the weekend with Alnwick Town, North Sunderland, Wooler and Lowick all having their games postponed.
Rothbury recorded a 1-0 home win over Hexham to reach the semi-finals of the Combination Cup.
Meanwhile, Alnwick, took the opportunity to get in some extra training, with manager Paul Yeadon taking his players to Alnwick Boxing Club for an intense work-out.
All sides will hope to be back in action this Saturday (November 9) when fixtures are:
Premier Division - Seaton Delaval v Alnwick Town.
Division 1 - Rothbury have no fixture.
NFA Minor Cup - Newcastle East End v Spittal Rovers; North Sunderland v Cramlington Town.
Development Division - Red House Farm v Wooler; Gosforth Bohemiens Res v Lowick.
Sam Proudlock was on top of the world after heading Rothbury into the last four in the Combination Cup - but the big defender knows a bit about being up in the clouds after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity during the summer break.
Proudlock rose to nod in a Tony Brown free-kick in the 67th minute to settle the finely-balanced tie and was quick to praise keeper Dom McMahon for his man-of-the-match performance, including an incredible second half save that the visiting Tynedalers just couldn’t quite believe.
“It’s always nice to grab a goal but to get the winner in such a tightly contested game feels even better,” said Proudlock.
“I just tried to attack it and get it on target, and once I heard Andy Law’s horn blaring like the vuvuzelas at the 2010 World Cup I was over the moon. The game always felt as if it would be won and lost by one goal, as neither team really gave anything away and there weren’t too many chances at either end. I can’t imagine it was a good one for the neutrals to watch, but glad we could get the job done. Credit to Hexham though, they are a good, physical side and we had to match them at the other end of the pitch too.”
Proudlock revealed that the atmosphere in the dressing room after was a bit subdued as the Reds’ players were left physically and mentally drained from the contest, and said: “Obviously, we were all buzzing with the result, but the lads had given so much on the pitch, most were just catching their breath! The shift that some of the lads put in - Kyla, Chrissy, Dylan to name a few - was unbelievable and it’s great to see everyone stand up and be counted. Once we had recovered a bit, we were all delighted and look forward to another challenge in the semi-final.”
While Proudlock and his central defensive partner Tom Macpherson marshalled the back line well, the towering McMahon was a huge plus between the sticks and he earned the plaudits for his clean sheet.
“Dom’s saves were absolutely massive, but also his aerial presence coming for crosses takes so much pressure off the defenders and buys us time to regroup and get set. Not to mention his save in the second half. Most of the lads were saying it was the best save they’d ever seen, and I’d have to agree,” said Proudlock.
“A shot gets fired in from close range, stanchion-bound, and Dom sticks out go-go-gadget arm and somehow paws it away for a corner. Their players couldn’t quite believe how it was still 1-0. He thoroughly deserved man of the match for that alone.”
If the challenge on the pitch proved tough, it was nothing really compared to the journey Proudlock undertook when he raised £550 each for both the club and the Samaritans in August while trekking alone in Tanzania for six days, which he said he found the most mentally draining aspect.
“I took the ‘NE65 RTF’ flag to the 5895m summit with me, and the locals were loving the fact I was representing my village, regardless of the fact they had no idea where it was in the world,” he said.