Mark Carruthers: Five key non-league games to watch this weekend including Gateshead v Altrincham and Marske United v Sheffield

Our non-league expert Mark Carruthers returns with five key games to watch across the North East non-league scene this weekend.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 12:08 pm
Mark Carruthers' five games to watch.

Gateshead v Altrincham

Date: Saturday 6th November

Competition: Emirates FA Cup First Round

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Venue: International Stadium

Kick-off Time: 3m

Gateshead are North East non-league football’s last-man standing in this season’s FA Cup after they reached the first round for the second time in three seasons under Mike Williamson.

National League promotion challengers Altrincham will provide a serious challenge for the Heed after their constant improvement under the management of the highly impressive Phil Parkinson (no, not that one!).

Parkinson, for me, is a manager that will be working in the Football League over the coming years and, for Altrincham’s sake, you would hope it will be with one of non-league football’s most stalwart clubs.

From Gateshead’s point of view, a home tie provides them with a realistic chance of pulling off what would be seen as an upset given the two club’s league standings. Their record at the International Stadium is perfect this season and they are more than capable of matching a side from a level higher.

A Heed win would see the club reach the second round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2017 when they fell to a 5-0 home defeat against Luton Town.

Player to Watch: Greg Olley (Gateshead)

Morpeth Town v Grantham Town

Date: Saturday 6th November

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League Premier Division

Venue: Craik Park

Kick-off Time: 3pm

These are interesting times at Craik Park with the caretaker management of Craig Lynch inspiring a turnaround in fortunes and a run of form that should have moved the Highwaymen away from the bottom reached of the table.

However, with results around them continuing to surprise, still sit second from bottom - albeit with at least a game in hand on many other strugglers.

Lynch - now permanent manager - will hope they can take advantage of a favourable fixture list that sees Craik Park hosting eight of their next 11 league games.

That all gets underway on Saturday with a home clash against a Grantham Town side sat at the bottom of the table with just 12 points from their 17 games.

A win could lift the Highwaymen as high as sixteenth place in the table and go some way to easing any thoughts of a return to the Northern Premier League’s second tier.

Player to Watch: Liam Noble (Morpeth Town)

Marske United v Sheffield

Date: Saturday 6th November

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East Division

Venue: Mount Pleasant

Kick-off Time: 3pm

If you want a guarantee of goals, Marske United should be your destination this weekend.

Carl Jarrett’s side have plundered their way to 58 goals in just 19 games this season with striker Adam Boyes in stunning form with 27 of those goals.

The Seasiders will hope to continue their push for promotion this weekend as they head into their home game with Sheffield rated as strong favourites to claim a ninth win in 11 league games.

They currently sit in third place in the table, nine points behind league leaders Liversedge but also hold two games in hand on the front-runners.

As stated earlier, I would imagine Marske will claim another three points on Saturday and it would not be a shock to see Boyes hitting the target once again.

Player to Watch: Adam Boyes (Marske United)

Thornaby v Ashington

Date: Saturday 6th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

Venue: Teesdale Park

Kick-off Time: 3pm

It’s probably safe to say that Thornaby and Ashington have performed above their pre-season expectations so far this season.

The Colliers are currently sat in fifth place in the Division One table after a sparkling run of form and could climb as high as third if they can claim a win at Teesdale Park and results go their way.

That will not be an easy task for a number of reasons, not least the departure of the influential Dean Briggs after the 15-goal midfielder left the club to emigrate to Dubai.

They also face a Thornaby side that have enjoyed a largely positive first three months of the season and are sat just four points shy of the top three ahead of Saturday’s game.

They possess considerable attacking threat with Craig Hutchinson and Elliott Beddow both sat in the top eight goalscorers in Division One with a combined 25 goals so far this season.

This one could go either way.

Player to Watch: Elliott Beddow (Thornaby)

Boldon CA v Horden CW

Date: Saturday 6th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division Two

Venue: The Villa

Kick-off Time: 3pm

The former Wearside League rivals meet for the second time as Northern League clubs after they were promoted as part of the FA’s restructure of the non-league pyramid earlier this summer.

Both have adapted well with Horden comfortable in mid-table after an inconsistent patch of form hampered their impressive start to the season.

Boldon have also had patches of inconsistency but have really hit their stride recently and they will be looking to secure a sixth consecutive league win when Horden travel to the Villa this weekend.

Both sides like to play on the front foot and have scored over a century of goals in the league so far this season and it wouldn’t be a shock to see a high-scoring affair when they meet this weekend.

Player to Watch: Levi Collins (Boldon CA)

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