Ironworks Park, Northern League Division 2, 10/10/20
Entry -£4 & £2
Attendance – 80
Sausage and chips/coffee/Diet Coke – £5.20
Pint and Diet Coke – £3
Tow Law Town Association Football Club
Founded – 1890
Nickname – The Lawyers
Honours – Northern League Division One – 1923–24, 1924–25, 1994–95. Northern League Cup – 1973–74
Random Fact – “Magic” Chris Waddle played for the Lawyers before signing professional at Newcastle United
After a soggy West Terrace in Esh Winning on Thursday this trip to County Durham was the third game of the season instead of the fourth. On the five hour drive I was hoping a cracker was in store to make up for the dissapointment of Thursdays saturated cancellation……….
Well we didn’t get anything mad like a seven goal thriller, or a classic game we were hoping for, but it was full of action. More than the slim score line would suggest. A game that should have been done an dusted by half time which in fact turned out to be a nervy affair for the home side as Willington grew into it as time went on. An enjoyable enough offering. An extra added bonus thrown into the mix was we also got a cracking example of a Northern League ground.
Ironworks Park is some place . It has brilliant views of the Durham countryside if you stand on the terrace side looking towards the River Wear. The elevation of the ground helps a lot with the fantastic scenery. In fact, I would be interested to know how high it actually sits. I have a funny feeling it must be the highest altitude I have watched a game at. Travelling down on the picturesque A68 (a first for me)you lose touch of where you are height wise due to the rollercoaster like peaks and troughs. But I am guessing from the Border or so, until Tow Law is a fair old climb. Back to what I was saying though, a great non-‘league ground that’s for sure and a worthy edition to the grounds list for the both of us.
On arrival we were met at the gate by Stephen, the contact who I had spoken to via email prior to heading down. A fine guy who carried on the friendly vibe of the Northern League that I have experienced thus far over the last week or so. After a welcome, conversation about the club and the league we were treated to another fantastic gesture from a NL club and were given two pin badges for nothing. A unnecessary but very much appreciated kindness. I can’t help but like this set up more and more as time goes on.
As already stated, this derby was not a classic but it was worth the journey. A good amount of action throughout. The first of which was when the Lawyers hit the post straight from a corner in the opening minutes . It was swung inward and at the last second whipped in a different direction over everyone and thumped the post and away from dangers. A truly astounding almost physics defying flight of the ball. Tow Low dominated from here and created a few half chances but to no avail. The best of which was to come from a long ball which the home number 9 tried a speculative backward header which went inches wide. Willington also had a chance to break the deadlock when their number 9 broke free closing in on goal only to shank it wide. A golden opportunity for the away side to get ahead in this derby. Not as golden as the next big chance when the Lawyers were awarded a penalty. Up stepped the 4 and in all honesty, he more than made the keepers job easy as he manged to get down to parry away with little fuss. The Willington keeper (who was my man of the match for the record) followed up his penalty heroics with a fine stop from the home number 9 who in truth was guilty of taking too much time to get his shot away but the visiting keeper made himself huge to make the save with the rebound cleared of danger by his centre half. He couldn’t do anything about the contentious Tow Law goal. A clear foul was committed in the build-up, (10 on 10) which the referee decided to ignore. It led to the ball making its way to the Town number 7 who expertly finished with the outside of his right foot. A top finish but in controversial circumstances. The home side were to miss another golden opportunity in the dying embers of the half when again the number 9 dallied on getting his shot away again when bearing in on goal. Despite this the Willington keeper once more was on hand to pull off another top save to keep it at one going into the half.
The second half started with another big chance missed when the Willington 9 was guilty of acting in the manner of his opposite number and took a touch too many when he should have let fly, allowing for sucessfull block. On his wrong foot maybe, certainly looked that way hence the delay . There was a ten minute lull where the game seemed to go nowhere but was sprung back into life with another potentially controversial decision when the Lawyers thought they had doubled their lead. The shot was bulleted off and goalbound at the keepers right hand post. Was it in? The Tow Law players and all the spectators seemed to think so given the venemous rants directed at the man in black. Being too far to make my own judgement I will have no comment. What I will say if it wasnt a goal then the save should be lauded as the keeper got down brilliantly in rapid fashion to get his hands to it. The score stayed at 1-0 so it will have to go down as a wonder save. But it was nothing on his next block which was awesome. He had already hit the deck due to a shot blocked by his defender, the ball ricocheted straight to the feet of the Tow Law man, who must have seen the headlines but from out of absolutley nowhere the keeper was up and spread Eagle to foil the Tow Law man. Stunning play from the best player on the pitch. The action wasn’t finished there as Tow Law were denied a stonewall penalty in the fading seconds. The referee signalled for the goal kick and blew up once it was taken. Leaving the derby points at Ironworks Road. Deserved winners, I would say so but by their own doing left this to be alot tenser than it should be and let Willington stay in the game, especially the second half where they were arguably the better team. On another day it could have been a massacre. Today it was a close strained affair.
Was it worth another five hundred and thirty miles on the car. Absolutley! More importantly, did Wee Man enjoy it? He did that as he was full of the joys on the drive home. Between the people, the game and the ground I thought it was another excellent addition to this growing Northern League odyssey.
Me 184, Wee Man 53