West Terrace, Northern League Division 2,
Entry – Both Free
Attendance – 121
Hot Dog, Diet Coke, Lemonade, Coffee – £5
Pint and Orange Juice – £4
Esh Winning Football Club
Founded – 1967
Nickname – The Stags
Honours – Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup 2007–08
Random Fact – The club were formed as Esh Winning Pineapple but dropped the fruity title when entry was gained to the Northern League set up in the 80s
Another five hundred plus mile round trip to get my football kicks due to the draconian rubbish going on in Scotland. Thousands of miles have been clocked up in the past three weeks, this was another long haul jolly which was to culminate with an early hours of the morning arrival back to Aberdeenshire(01.50). People think I’m a bit mad and have expressed such feelings in my direction. I just think I’m passionate about the game. Six trips have been taken over the border in three weeks with this being my final jaunt before I have a work related fitba hiatus for six weeks. What a run of games though. I wouldnt have changed anything. This final match would not dissapointed.
Like Easington Collierys Welfare Park and Ryton and Crawcrook Albions Kingsley Park, West Terrace is not somewhere I expected to find myself for a midweek fixture, but the worlds a funny place just now and people have to adapt their lives to suit. This leading to another entertaining game at a friendly club added to the collection and a happy Wee Man. The night started with a typical top Northern League gesture when we were let in for free despite my protests to pay. What we didn’t know at the time was, we were to get lashings of action for the grand total of zilch. Talk about bargains.
I have heard alot about West Terrace and the bonnie setting and surrounds. Unfortunatley I think I chose to visit in the wrong fashion. A midweeker in the dark doesn’t seem to have done the place justice going by the photos I have seen. It’s a tidy wee ground with a great stand that is shaped in a fashion I have never seen before with the angle of the roof. The place also has a compact feel to it too. A decent addition to the list, no doubt.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the match and if I am brutally honest I never though I would have seen such a commiting of defensive suicide from the home team. I would say all four Chester-le-Street goals were totally avoidable.
The matches opening blows were scrappy with the ball going long at every opportunity. Not great on the eye at all. Esh Winning got the ball down eventually and with their first attack on the deck, managed to create the first opening of the game when a good chance was spurned over the bar. Esh came into it from here and started to dominate proceedings and deservedly took the lead on twelve minutes when captain Max Stoker looped a header over Jack Wilson brilliantly. Credit has to go to Nathan Burrell for the quality of his freekick into the box. The hosts took charge of the game with large spells of the ball but didn’t make it count which was to come back and bite them. Chester-le-Street actually had the better of the chances of the half, despite the lack of possession. The really should have scored when Orton was called into action to pull off a great reaction save from a close range header. The keeper managed to somehow to get across his goal and make what looked like a star jump save to push it past his post. A cracking save but one he was allowed to make from a header that should have had alot more power. The Stags came close again when a twenty yard freekick was inches wide from Goudry after a “training ground” dummy in the lead up to the hit. Esh Winning were lucky to go in at the break still in the lead. CLS right back Colling skinned two players at then drove in a perfect cross which the first man airswung, and the second man inexcusably ballooned over the bar. A good half topped off with a stack of heavy tackling throughout but without the histrionics you would find at higher levels of the game. Refreshing to see.
Chester-le-Street were almost immediatley back in the game after the restart when some poor defending lead to Dixon running clean through and the forward was to make no mistake as he unleashed an unstoppable hit into Ortons right hand side. One was quickly two when Esh Winning lost possession from centre leaving CLS to break resulting in a rash challenge in the box and the spot kick award, to little protest. Craig Marron stepped up and sent Orton the wrong way completing a rapid fire turn around in fortunes. The home side were not out of this and levelled things up five minutes later when McLean volleyed home from a clearing header from twenty five yards. Heavily deflected to wrong foot the keeper but as the saying goes…. “If you don’t buy a ticket you don’t win the raffle. The ball was there to be struck and McLeod took it on and reaped the rewards. But it wasn’t to last and neither was eleven on eleven. McLeod the hero was then villain when another rash challenge on the edge of the box was deemed a goal scoring opportunity,which I would fully agree with. The goal scorer walked for the offence. The free kick thumped off the wall and fortuitously landed at Akel who hit first time through a bunch of bodies and into the bottom corner, reinstalling the lead for the visitors. The game was then killed off when with ten minutes to go Henderson was left with an open goal after some more ropey defending where he smashed home. A long way back for the Stags and that was to be made even harder for the closing minutes when Orton handled outside the box and was to join McLeod for an early bath. The game finished and the three points stayed in County Durham, but made the eleven mile journey to Chester-le-Street.
A good game to sign off on before work. Plenty action and as an opposite to the other NL games I have seen. The scoreline should have been smaller as opposed to higher like the other games. Alot of self inflicted wounds leading to goals. But never the less a fine club to visit with friendly people and a decent ground. It was also good to put a face to some twitter folks. Craig, Adam, Chris, John and John W. A pleasure to meet you all. Also good to get my tea from Fields chipper pre game. The last coal powered chipper left in the UK outwith a museum
Roll on returning home in December so I can get the Northern League ball rolling again
Me 187, Wee Man 56