Six missing as Cestrians eye first victory

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CHESTER-le-Street aim for their first win of the season at Esh Winning in the Ebac Northern League Second Division tonight, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

To date, the Cestrians have managed just one draw and two defeats in three games, and Colin Wake’s men could again find it difficult at Waterhouses, even though Esh were well beaten at the weekend, ending their 100 per cent record from their opening two matches.

Wake is again forced to field a weakened side. Craig Marron, Michael Allsopp and Liam Young are out injured, while work commitments rule out Jake Stafford, David Surrey and Lewis Lynch. The only returning player is Andrew Grant-Soulsby.

Birtley Town are in pole position with three wins out of three ahead of a tough encounter at North Shields, who have hit 11 goals in winning both their matches so far. Birtley have a near full-strength squad on standby, their only absentee being Esty Lopez.

Jarrow Roofing miss the injured Darren Reay away to Norton, but Andrew Appleby is expected to be passed fit. Scott Robson, though, is given only a 50-50 chance of playing.

Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin said: “They were relegated last season but are doing alright and haven’t lost in three, but we are doing OK ourselves and we are looking forward to the game.”

Newly-promoted Willington’s objective is to find their feet and establish themselves in their new surroundings.

Last weekend’s return of Daniel Lee after a six-month absence through injuries and illness was a massive boost. They host West Allotment Celtic tonight.

“It was great to see him come off the bench and score,” said secretary Geoff Siddle. “Daniel is in contention for a start. David Moffat has completed a ban but Michael Weston is still out with an injured ankle.”

In Division One, Dunston UTS visit newly-promoted Crook Town. Boss Billy Irwin said: “I’m looking forward to getting something out of tonight’s match, although it will be tough.”

With Jack Burns returning, Irwin has a full squad available.

Consett, with just one point from two games, visit Billingham Synthonia.