Five to watch: Mark Carruthers returns with the key non-league games to attend

Our non-league expert Mark Carruthers returns with five key non-league games to watch this week.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 11:31 am

North Shields v West Auckland Town

Date: Wednesday 24th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

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Five to watch across non-league this week.

Venue: Daren Persson Stadium

Kick-off Time: 7.30pm

What is there not to enjoy about two of the best sides in the Northern League meeting under the floodlights in a classic midweek fixture?

North Shields and West Auckland Town may have suffered contrasting fortunes in their respective FA Vase ties at the weekend - but both have enjoyed similar league campaigns by recovering from slow starts to establish themselves as serious promotion contenders.

West may well have seen their impressive run of league form ended by their recent home defeat against an under-strength Sunderland RCA - but they remain in second place in the Division One table and have one of the most in-form strikers around in Jordan Blinco.

North Shields lie in fourth with as many as four games in hand on the sides above them and have won four of their last five league games. Add into the mix Saturday’s FA Vase penalty shoot-out win against North Ferriby and it’s safe to say Marc Nash’s side are high on confidence ahead of their midweek clash with West.

The Robins are slight favourites - but you can’t rule anything out with this West side.

Player to Watch: Dan Wilson (North Shields)

Warrington Town v Morpeth Town

Date: Saturday 27th November

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round

Venue: Cantilever Park

Kick-off Time: 3pm

The FA Trophy second round was rather unkind for North East clubs. In fact, it was quite frankly, brutal!

Six of our clubs are in action in the competition on Saturday and all six have testing ties, with only one of them at home - more on that in a second.

Morpeth Town enjoyed a run to the third round in last season’s Trophy and they will have to overcome Northern Premier League Premier Division rivals Warrington Town if they are to return to that stage.

Despite their recent improvement under Craig Lynch, the Highwaymen are still sat just above the relegation zone, but will head to the North West on a high after losing just two of their last 16 games in all competitions.

Warrington are contenders for a play-off place and sit just one play outside of the top five. However, the recent departure of manager Paul Carden to National League North club AFC Telford United slightly muddies the waters and could allow Morpeth to take advantage on the uncertainty at Cantilever Park.

Player to Watch: Liam Noble (Morpeth Town)

Spennymoor Town v Chorley

Date: Saturday 27th November

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round

Venue: Brewery Field

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Spennymoor Town are the only one of the six North East clubs with a home tie in the FA Trophy this weekend - although it’s far from a straightforward task as they host National League North rivals Chorley.

There is history between the two clubs with the visitors inflicting a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat on the Moors in the National League North play-off final two years ago.

That’s not to say history is solely on the side of the Magpies.

A ten-man Spenny produced a wonderful display to send Chorley out of the FA Cup in 2016 - although revenge was gained three years later in the same competition.

They are yet to meet in the league this season - with both National League North scheduled for after Christmas - so Saturday’s Trophy tie offers a chance to get a good look at a fellow promotion rival.

Spenny’s form is underwhelming at the moment but with the likes of Glen Taylor and Rob Ramshaw in their side, you can never rule of an eye-catching win on Saturday.

Player to Watch: Rob Ramshaw (Spennymoor Town)

Shildon v Ossett United

Date: Saturday 27th November

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East Division

Venue: Daren Persson Stadium

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Shildon’s introduction into life in the Northern Premier League has been remarkable to say the least.

Daniel Moore’s side currently sit in the play-off places in the East Division and remain unbeaten in their eight league games at Dean Street so far this campaign.

That said, they will head into Saturday’s meeting with play-off contenders Ossett United looking to shake off the effects of suffering only their third league defeat of the season at Worksop Town last weekend.

If Moore and his players need to look for positives, it should come in the fact they have bounced back from both of their previous league defeats with impressive home wins and it would not be a shock to see that trend continue this weekend.

Player to Watch: Dean Thexton (Shildon)

Jarrow v Boldon CA

Date: Saturday 27th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division Two

Venue: Perth Green

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Who doesn’t love a good old derby? For years Jarrow and Boldon CA have waited to face each other as Northern League clubs and that is happening for the first time this season.

Saturday’s Perth Green meeting comes three months after Jarrow made the short trip to the Villa and claimed a historic 3-2 win thanks to a last-minute Gary Shaw strike.

It was a rare high in a season hampered by inconsistent form for Dave Bell and Scott Oliver’s side and they head into this weekend’s game looking for a first win in six games.

Boldon are also looking to bounce back from a negative after they were beaten at home by Chester-le-Street Town on Saturday but they have impressed in their first season as a Northern League club.

Gaining revenge for their derby loss earlier this season could see David Crumbie’s men move into the top six of the table - and that means there is motivation on both sides ahead of an eagerly-anticipated derby clash.

Player to Watch: Oscar Taylor (Boldon CA)

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