Five to Watch: Non-league expert Mark Carruthers picks the key games across the North East this week including York City v Hebburn Town, Stockton Town v Dunston UTS and AFC Fylde v Spennymoor Town

In a new weekly feature, our non-league expert Mark Carruthers previews FIVE big games to look out for in the North East this week.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 1:41 pm

Stockton Town v Dunston UTS

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East Division

Venue: The Map Group UK Stadium (TS19 0QD)

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Five to watch this week in the non-league scene.

Date: Wednesday 15th September

Kick-off: 7.45pm

It’s time for another meeting of former Northern League rivals in the Northern Premier League East Division.

This week, Dunston UTS travel to Stockton Town as both sides look to shake off weekend defeats with what would be a notable scalp whichever way this result should fall.

Dunston, by their own admission, are yet to really hit their stride this season and head into their trip to Teesside with just eight points from their opening seven games of the campaign.

Stockton sit one point and three places above them and will be looking to secure a first win in since a 3-1 win at Bridlington Town last month after suffered three defeats and a draw in their last four fixtures.

The form book makes this one slightly unpredictable - although the hosts will be slight favourites to get a win that could take them to within a point of the play-off places.

Player to Watch: Kevin Hayes (Stockton Town)

Billingham Synthonia v Jarrow

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division Two

Venue: Norton Sports Complex (TS20 1PE)

Date: Wednesday 15th September

Kick-off: 7.30pm

This is a clash between two of the form sides in Northern League Division Two.

Synners have shown their clear promotion credentials with a run of just one defeat in their opening 12 games of the season and are averaging just under three goals a game so far.

By contrast, Jarrow made a relatively slow start to the campaign and were sat in the bottom four of the table not so long ago.

However, a 6-1 home defeat against Willington sparked a reaction from Dave Bell and Scott Oliver’s side, who will travel to Synners looking to secure a sixth consecutive league win.

It won’t be an easy task, especially with their hosts full of confidence after their shock FA Vase win at four-time winners Whitley Bay on Saturday.

Player to Watch: Kurtis Howes (Billingham Synthonia)

York City v Hebburn Town

Competition: Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

Venue: The LNER Community Stadium (YO32 9AF)

Date: Saturday 18th September

Kick-off: 3pm

Hebburn Town’s outstanding win at Northern Premier League Premier Division club Ashton United earned them one of the real glamour ties in the FA Cup second qualifying round.

York City’s brand new LNER Community Stadium will be their destination on Saturday as Hornets boss Kevin Bolam pits his wits against a side managed by former Newcastle United favourite Steve Watson.

Bolam’s men will be backed by a strong travelling contingent from South Tyneside and they will arrive in York looking to continue an impressive run of form.

The likes of Olly Martin and Connor Bell have caught the eye as their side have gone on a run of just one defeat in their last seven games in all competitions.

Despite their slow start to their first season as a Northern Premier League club, the Hornets are relishing this season’s FA Cup and their impressive win at Ashton United was preceded by a 7-0 demolition of East Division rivals Yorkshire Amateur.

York City will be a much more difficult test and they possess a number of players with Football League experience, not to mention the expert guidance of Watson and assistant manager Micky Cummins in the dugout.

Hebburn are big outsiders to claim a famous win against the Minstermen - but this is the FA Cup, and anything can happen.

Player to Watch: Connor Bell (Hebburn Town)

AFC Fylde v Spennymoor Town

Competition: Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

Venue: Mill Farm (PR4 3BY)

Date: Saturday 18th September

Kick-off: 3pm

A clash of two National League North heavyweights was always going to catch the eye in the FA Cup second qualifying round draw.

Spennymoor Town don’t seem to get the rub of the green when it comes to cup draws lately - and this one is no different as they travel to the Lancashire coast to face AFC Fylde.

The Coasters made big waves as they marched up the non-league pyramid, backed by considerable finance and with the clear aim of reaching the Football League by 2022.

They will fall short of their target following their relegation into non-league’s second tier last year - but they still possess a number of players that will trouble the Moors.

Managed by former Morecambe boss Jim Bentley, the Coasters can call on the services of the highly-talented Nick Haughton and former Salford City frontman Jordan Hulme.

The Moors will travel with no fear and Tommy Miller will hope the likes of Rob Ramshaw and top goalscorer Glen Taylor will continue their impressive recent form as they look to claim a notable win against the current National League North leaders.

Player to Watch: Rob Ramshaw (Spennymoor Town)

North Shields v Newton Aycliffe

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

Venue: The Daren Persson Stadium (NE29 OLH)

Date: Saturday 18th September

Kick-off: 3pm

It seemed a common consensus that Consett, North Shields and Newton Aycliffe would be the three major challengers for the Northern League title this season.

Consett, at the time of writing, are sat seven points clear at the top of the table after suffering just one defeat in their opening 10 league fixtures.

Aycliffe - who inflicted that solitary defeat on the Steelmen - are sat in seventh, one place and one point ahead of Saturday’s opponents North Shields.

It should be said, the hosts remain undefeated in their seven league fixtures and they do hold up to three games in hand on the clubs above them in the table.

But three home draws have left them playing catch-up and Aycliffe will provide another severe test of their promotion credentials.

This could and should be one of the games of the Northern League season.

Player to Watch: Dan Wilson (North Shields)

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