Wearside League: Troubled Horden battle on with caretakers in charge after boss resigns

Wearside Football League action between Murton (red) and Sunderland West End last week. Picture by Tim Richardson
Wearside Football League action between Murton (red) and Sunderland West End last week. Picture by Tim Richardson
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These are dark days for Horden CW, who yesterday handed the keys of Welfare Park back to the Parish Council when they also delivered a near 2000-name petition against their eviction.

The club was formed more than a century ago, and the village was once a hotbed for local football.

In its heyday, the team attracted thousands of spectators, but those heady days have long since gone.

Now the Colliers are facing an uncertain future and their woes were added to on Wednesday, with Martin Mulcaster resigning as manager.

Secretary Graeme Wetherell said: “We had nearly 200 fans there last Saturday, which was by far and away our biggest gate for a number of years.

“Villagers have reacted to the crisis, not only by supporting the team but also signing the petition.

“We had a good day and a great win (against Jarrow), so it was a blow when Martin decided to step down.

“But we’ve got to get on with it and, tomorrow at Wolviston, Robbie Ferguson and Chris Davison will be in charge.”

If the form book is any guide, Horden are in with a good chance of making it back-to-back wins.

Wolviston are second-bottom, having won only twice in 21 games, and they miss midfielder Aiden Cannon, who is serving a three-match ban.

Club skipper and central defender Shaun Gregory has recovered fitness from a knee injury. Wolviston, who have given their young players a chance, have signed Tobias Millward, who has been in the under-23 squad.

Sunderland West End will aim to keep the heat on leaders Redcar Athletic and Stockton Town by defeating Cleator Moor Celtic at Ford Quarry.

Following their midweek victory at Harton and Westoe, the Wearsiders are just two points behind Stockton with the teams having fulfilled the same number of fixtures. Although Redcar have a seven-point cushion over Anth Nelson’s side, they have played six more games.

“We’ve really done well in recent weeks and one of our strengths has been in defence. Goalkeeper Nea Bussey has been superb, keeping four consecutive clean sheets,” enthused Nelson.

Seaham Red Star Reserves are fourth-bottom, going into their home fixture against Ashbrooke Belford House.

“Our away form has been poor, but at home we’ve done well and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t give Ashbrooke a good run,” observed Star secretary David Copeland, who reports that Danny Beer and Matthew Dixon are expected to feature.

Ashbrooke miss injured pair David Scott and Dale Wells, but Stephen Halliday, Dillon Holden, Callum Hope and Lee Owens are in contention for starts.

Following their midweek victory over Annfield Plain, Silksworth CW visit Spennymoor Town Reserves with renewed confidence.

Michael Brunning returns after a couple of months on the injured list and a further boost to the Colliers’ chances is the inclusion of goalkeeper Graeme Pickering and Dean Randall on the team sheet.

Spennymoor name Glen Taylor with a view to giving him much-needed game time following his long-term absence through injury. Connor Dunlavey is also fit, but Mitchell McKenna-Little is ruled out.

Jarrow face one of their most difficult games of the season when championship contenders Stockton Town visit Perth Green.

The South Tynesiders will include recent signing David Smith, along with Brodie Simpson, Liam Bayles, Mark Williams and Kyle Oxley, but keeper Lee Burrell cannot play, so Gary Frater will be in goal. Captain Peter Kane could return.

Stockton again go without goalkeeper Michael Arthur and Max Craggs, but they have a lot of depth in their squad and will field a very competitive line-up.

Harton and Westoe will be near to full-strength for the South Tyneside derby at home to Boldon CA.

Kyle Young, Andy Hall and Andy Hill come back into the squad, while new signing David Halliday is available. Boss Jason Jones has also added goalkeeper Chris Smith to his management team.

Boldon miss key midfielders, Shaun Graham, Frankie Hucks and Liam Cox, while Jonny Gage and Aaron Burn face fitness checks.

Boldon manager Paul Mossa said: “Local derbies are always competitive games. I watched Harton play a very good Sunderland West End side on Wednesday and they were unlucky not to get something from the name. I have a few players missing alongside some injury concerns, but we are all looking forward to the game.”

Prudhoe Town have Kieron Russell back from suspension and their only doubt at home to Annfield Plain surrounds goalkeeper Shaun Green.

Redcar Athletic travel to Whitehaven with Andy Jennings in a strong position to overtake James Kesterton’s record season haul of 45 goals.

He scored six last week, taking his total so far to 33 and another good performance from him would see Redcar strengthen their grip at the top of the table.