Following the heartbreak of going out of the FA Cup at Pickering Town on Tuesday night, Ryhope CW embark on what is likely to be a tough Division One season at Whitley Bay tomorrow.
“We held them until extra time when we twice went behind, but the lads battled throughout and levelled the second time with barely a minute left on the clock,” said secretary Dougie Benison.
“It then went to penalties and, when we failed four times out of five, they clinched it 2-1.
“Now, our manager, Gary Pearson, will have to dust the players down for our first game in the league at Hillheads.”
Pearson will have a much stronger side to choose from than the one which travelled to Pickering, with keeper Chris Rookes, Leon Ryan, Joey Melvin, David Gordon and Elliott Woods all returning. The only absentees are Kyle Davis and summer signing James Ellis.
Whitley Bay also made their exit from the FA Cup and their dismissal was one of the shock results in the extra preliminary round.
After being held to a draw at home, they went down in Wednesday’s replay at Norton and Stockton Ancients, who were relegated last season.
Bay boss Ian Chandler said: “I’m trying to build confidence in the team. I was pleased with our pre-season, but not happy with our two performances against Norton and I’ll be looking to put things right tomorrow.”
The Seahorses are forced to go without Richard Flynn, Alex Kempster and Aidan Haley, but there’s a chance that Kyle Fryatt’s injury will respond to treatment in time for him to play.
Seaham Red Star are attempting to obtain international clearance for Finnish goalkeeper Cameron Hoppu, but this may not be forthcoming before tomorrow’s game at Washington.
With Craig Lynch, Nicky Kane, Liam Whitworth and Paul Gardiner all doubtful, manager Mark Collingwood will probably have to promote players from the reserve squad.
Although Washington made a number of signings during the close season, coach David Hall says that they are still looking for more players to complete a competitive squad. Manager Steve Hutchinson adds Andrew Brown to tomorrow’s pool.
After cruising past Garforth Town in the FA Cup, Chester-le-Street were hit for six by champions Shildon in midweek.
Long-serving chairman Joe Burlison said: “It was back to reality. They were a different class, but the lads battled away and we’ll not play teams like the Railwaymen every week.”
Even so, it could be another difficult test for the newly-promoted Cestrians when North Shields visit Chester Moor Park tomorrow.
The Robins welcome back skipper Kevin Hughes, who has recovered from a back injury, while Jack Donnison is also in contention.
Definitely out is Michael McKeown, with a leg injury, and it’s also likely that Dean Holmes’s hamstring problem will sideline him.
“We are looking for a top-six finish and a good cup run,” enthused assistant manager Andy Bowman.
Sunderland RCA will be looking to make it back-to-back wins against Guisborough Town at Meadow Park to make up for the disappointment of losing by a single goal to Penrith in the FA Cup.
Following the midweek win over West Auckland, manager Martin Swales is hopeful of fielding a strong line-up, but he will delay final selection until nearer kick-off.
Consett were buoyant after hammering Ashington with a seven-goal blast on Tuesday and go into their interesting fixture against newly-promoted South Shields at the Belle View Stadium with confidence.
“We improved the squad over the summer and want to get off to a good start,” said manager Mark Eccles, but he’s already forced into making changes from a winning side.
Michael Sweet and Mattie Slocombe are definitely ruled out and Dan Hawkins faces a late fitness test.
Fortunately, Shaun Ryder and Adam Knowles are free to play and come into the plans of Eccles.
Ambitious Shields have their eyes set on joining the Evo-Stik League at the end of this campaign.
The Mariners had an eye-opener though when they unexpectedly lost at Marske United last weekend, but a boost for manager Jon King is the news that keeper Chris Elliott’s international clearance has been approved by the Swedish FA.
Durham City play their first derby of the season in Division Two, when they make the short journey to Brandon United.
Boss Chris Moore is pleased with the 18-man squad he has assembled and includes Andrew Brown, Adam Crathorne, Keiran Harnett and Sam Norris – but Dan Field is away.
Easington Colliery assistant manager Craig Parkinson claims the side went out of the FA Cup last Saturday with a whimper.
They have the chance to avenge the 1-0 defeat by Northallerton when the teams again meet at Welfare Park tomorrow.
“In truth, tomorrow’s result is more important as the league is our bread and butter. We want to, at the very least, equal last season’s top-six finish and maybe do better,” observed Parkinson.
Ryan Noble and Shaun Smith will be looking to start, but Dylan Nesbitt and last season’s top scorer Joe Kerridge miss out.