Kingsley Park, Northern League Division 2, 14/10/20
Entrance – £5 and free
Attendance – 119
Chips, Coffee, Juice, Crisps – £4.20
Pint – £2.20
Ryton and Crawcrook Albion Football Club
Founded – 1970
Nickname – RACA
Honours – Northern Alliance Division One – 1996/97
Random Fact – The club are more than just a Northern League Team. They have youth teams right down to 6 year olds, there are also girls teams and twelve youth teams in total. They are a Chartered Standard club.
After a day pottering about at different points of Hadrians Wall we were treated to a decent game and welcomed by a club full of warm and hospitable folk. We were in Crawcrook early and were ready to go for a walk to burn time. As we parked at Kingsley Park we were approached by a committee member who asked “are you the people from Aberdeen?”. This led to being invited into the clubhouse before it was open to watch the fitba on the box and have a drink. The offer was duly taken on and we got to watch Ireland get beat by Finland. Healthy sized crowd there I noticed, between 6500 and 7000, meanwhile in Scotland parents cannot watch their kids in a park , this being a conversation for elsewhere.However the football wasn’t important, I was more impressed with the welcome we recieved. Everyone spoke to us, some impressed we travel so far for fitba and some who think we are a bit mad, especially after finding out we were driving home right after the game. Everyone gave us time, from Roger the Norwich fan who got us a drink, to Chris the goalkeeping coach who gave us snoods from his own goalkeeping wear company (Sparta Goalkeeping) to Colin on on the committee. There were others on top of that throughout the night in the club house and outside too. A friendly club who made us feel very welcome. You don’t get that everywhere and is a huge factor in me becoming immersed in Northern League fitba. It just seems a great place to watch a game. It’s been a common theme at all clubs I have been to so far.
The game was a bit one sided in all honesty, but in favour of the away team for a change. Wee Man and me were to see our first away in the NL. It was actually RACA who opened the scoring when with less than a minute on the clock, they were awarded a penalty after an “infringement”. Handball was called. In my eyes it was soft. One of those that if it was given against you, you would be irate. Callum Turnbull was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and placed his kick out of reach of the keeper. RACA started the better team and created another couple of good chances when Collins was unlucky with a drive and again when Boughey in the Crook goal had his finger tips stung with a decent stop from a bulleted effort. From here Crook got a hold of the match and started to look a very good attacking team. There was a feeling a goal was not far away. Callum Johnston fizzed an effort just past post from distance after beating a couple of RACA defenders. He chose power over placement and was left dissapointed. The same can be said about team mate Tumilty who scorched an effort just past the post from the edge of the box. The power was there to get through the raft of bodies but the target practice needed a bit of work. Tumilty got his moment not long after when after some great work around him he found himself teed up to blast home from the left hand side, the connection was beautiful leaving no chance for Josh Graham. An excellent finish which got the Crook Town tails right up. It wasn’t long untill the visitors were in the lead via the second penalty of the match. This time a good call from the referee afte the RACA defender mistimed his tackle after the ball was knocked past him. Dan Kent took care of the spot duties with little difficulty sending the Black and Amber’s in at half time one in front.
We changed our vantage point in the second half at the request of Wee Man and took up residence in the stand behind the goal. It wasn’t long untill we were getting action and plenty of it. In the opening minutes Crooks Kent should have doubled his haul but managed to head over the bar and over the stand when at least hitting the target was easier to do. The third came soon after when Ryton failed to deal with a corner leaving Crook captain Fielding finding himself free to nod home. There should have been a fourth when Kent didn’t get down to the ball quick enough at the back post after a pinpoint cross evaded the defence. On another day he could have had a hatrick. Thats not taking anything away from the number nine who I thought was a decent player. Larger dude but gets about the pitch, hassles, closes down and is a nuisance when needed. Man of the match in my eyes after putting in a power of work, aswell as his goal. Three turned four in calamitous fashion when a long ball headed toward RACAs centre half who tried to clear but swiped at air leaving the ball to land at the feet of Tumilty who immediatley saw the lob was on and took the chance with aplomb leaving Graham in the home goal to stand and admire the thirty five yard effort. A glorious finish which from or vantage point seemed to happen in slow motion. Albion may have looked dead an buried at this point but substitute Slee was thinking otherwise when he absolutley lashed home. An effort Boughey was only ever going to see flash past him across his goal and into the side netting. Goal of the game and made better by the thud sound on connection. The third great finish of the game. But Crook Town were to have the final say when Johnstone was gifted a goal by some poor defending across the RACA back line.
A fine club to visit peppered with good spirited genial folk. A real shame about the result but it’s another great place added to the list. Topped off with being given a selection of programmes to take home with me. Another classy Northern League gesture.
Me 188, Wee Man 55