Northern League season so far: Willington eager for goals to raise spirits at Hall Lane

Easington Colliery (green) take on Thackley in the FA Vase earlier this season
Easington Colliery (green) take on Thackley in the FA Vase earlier this season
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Willington are finding it tough in Division Two – and the lack of goals is the big problem.

Hall Lane official Geoff Siddle said: “We have played nice football, but are struggling towards the bottom. If you don’t score any goals, you don’t get results.

“They all put the effort in and do a job. However, one player who has stood out for me is James Seymour. He was out for a couple of months due to injury, but has played on and off for Willington for 10 seasons and has played 250 games.

“Week in, week out, he is very consistent.

“We’ll be looking to get away from the bottom and avoid relegation.”

Neighbours Crook Town are also struggling, with boss Colin Myers recently departing. Their aspiration is to pull away from the bottom of the table.

Tow Law Town led the table for 24 hours at one point in August, but a horrible run of results rocked manager Steve Murray.

Having brought in eight players, and let seven go, he said: “2016 has ended with only two defeats in the last nine games (away to the top two sides in the league), ending with back to back derby victories at Esh Winning and Willington respectively, only conceding in one of the last six games and looking strong for 2017.

“In terms of now until April, success will be qualification for the FA Cup in August and going deep into the divisional league cup.”

Brandon United secretary Barry Ross feels the season is turning around well. He said: “After the first 10 games, we only had two points. We changed our manager and increased to 22 points from the last 15 games, so we’re in about the right place now.

“Michael Searby has done great, having came back to our side. Tom Orton has done well, and Daniel Quine has also done well.”

“We are looking to move further up the table to mid-table security. We would like to get in the top eight and qualify for the FA Cup, which will be hard after the start of season.”

Easington Colliery, with only one win in their last six games, have fallen away from the leading pack but are still only 11 points off top spot, with a game in hand.

They have shown, though, that they are well capable of pushing hard for promotion in the final four months of the season.

Durham City continue to push for the promotion places and are right in the thick of the chasing pack, finishing the 2016 year in fifth place, just eight points behind the leaders, although they do have the weakest goal difference tally within the teams around them in the league.

Stockton Town have settled to life Northern League, but the first aim is to qualify for next seasons FA Cup, and hopefully a top three finish.

With Max Craggs back at his spiritual home and top players so far Matthew Garbutt, goalkeeper Michael Arthur, Joe Carter, Alan Cossavella and top goal-scorer Kallum Hannah along with Max now, it is difficult to single one player out as the team is doing so well.

The new seats will be installed in the ground before the March 31st deadline, allowing the club to be promoted should we finish in the top three.

Billingham Synthonia are third in the league going into the new year and is a true reflection so far with several unexpected results, mixed in with some good wins against the top teams.

Josh Rowbotham centre half and Liam O’Sullivan left back have been the most outstanding players so far, this season. With the position, they are in they will be looking to push on and clinch promotion back to the first division and to consolidate the club back in the first division to be able to compete with the top first division teams.

Billingham Town manager Barry Oliver is positive about the last few months’ results and “We deserve to be where we are in the league.”

“Craig Hutchinson has been magnificent, he’s scored 30 goals in the last three months. Matty Crossen and Tom Dawson have been brilliant and new to the Northern League. Overall, I’m pleased with the way everybody has come together as a squad, they’ve all played their part.”

“We are still in the Vase, quarter final of the Cup, and in a fantastic league position and we are looking for promotion now. Down to the players at the end of the day, Vase is a bonus, but the key is promotion.”

“We have a new stand, which will be completed in the next day or so. Everything we want, should be in place by the Summer, a new gym and dressing rooms, with new training floodlights.”

Ryton & Crawcrook Albion had a bright start the season, but has rather fallen apart as they are currently on a run of twelve winless games. Added to that the discipline is poor for our standards so things aren’t great.

We’ve already had one managerial change, or rather a change of hierarchy, but at time of writing it is expected that a new manager will be in place soon with current manager Jordan Moore reverting to his more customary coaching role.

We did at least get our first FA Vase win for eight years by beating Blyth Town, but normal service was resumed in the other three cup competitions and they now face a relegation battle, although they look sure to win it assuming only one team will get relegated.

Their home form has been particularly disappointing with just two wins in the fifteen league and cup games played at Kingsley Park, as has the lack of goals scored with only 30 scored in the 30 games played to date (although they had 3 goals and 3 points chalked off with Norton’s demise).

A few of the club stalwarts of the last few seasons have begun to move on, Josh Holland has gone to Heaton Stannington, Scott Gunn to Team Northumbria, while Harry Mitchell is taking time out of football.

There has been a Consett connection with some of the young players coming in with keeper Ross Coombe, Ryan Bell and Ethan Stephenson all having links with the Belle Vue club.

Finances dictate that they will be probably looking at Northern Alliance players rather than other Northern League players, as they try to turn things round at the club in 2017.