Mark Carruthers: Five key non-league games to watch this weekend including West Auckland Town v Sunderland RCA and Marske United v FC United of Manchester

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

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 1:28 pm
Mark Carruthers' five games to watch.

West Auckland Town v Sunderland RCA

Date: Friday 12th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

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Venue: The Wanted Stadium

Kick-off Time: 7.30pm

Who doesn’t love Friday night football under the lights? Any supporter opting to make a visit to the Wanted Stadium this Friday will see one of, if not the Northern League’s most in-form side as West Auckland Town look simply unbeatable at the moment.

Former Sunderland youngster Jordan Blinco is in devastating form with eleven goals in his last eight games and that has been a key factor in West’s march up the Division One table.

Gary Forrest’s side currently sit in second place and a win against RCA could take them to the top of the table - although it could be a short stay with leaders Consett facing Ashington on Saturday afternoon.

RCA will face a sizeable task as they look to shake off the inconsistent form that has hampered their own attempts to climb the table and they will have to be at their best if they are to pull off what would be a shock result.

Player to Watch: Jordan Blinco (West Auckland Town)

Marske United v FC United of Manchester

Date: Saturday 13th November

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy First Round

Venue: Mount Pleasant

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Marske United are becoming a regular feature in Five to Watch and there is good reason for that.

Their form and goalscoring exploits speak for themselves - but this weekend’s FA Trophy tie against FC United of Manchester only adds to the excitement surrounding the Seasiders at the moment.

Their run to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round was thrilling, their push for promotion into the Northern Premier League’s top tier is in full swing and a reunion with FC United offers them a chance to reach the FA Trophy second round for a second consecutive season.

The two sides met in last year’s competition as Carl Jarrett’s men stunned the Red Rebels in a third qualifying round with an outstanding performance in a 3-2 win at Broadhurst Park.

Given the Seasiders recent form, a similar result this weekend would not be a surprise.

Player to Watch: Curtis Round (Marske United)

Marine v Dunston UTS

Date: Saturday 13th November

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy First Round

Venue: Marine Travel Arena

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Dunston UTS have already created club history by reaching the FA Trophy first round for the very first time.

They have not done it the easy way with a hard-earned 1-0 win at Workington followed up by a penalty shoot-out triumph against Northern Premier League Premier Division side Bamber Bridge.

The latter of those wins set up a historic first round tie against a familiar foe.

Chris Swailes’ men have become inseparable from Marine over the last few seasons with the Merseyside outfit providing the opposition in Dunston’s first ever game in step four of the non-league pyramid.

They met in the FA Cup in 2019 and even their separation as league opponents caused by the FA’s restructure of the non-league pyramid could not keep them apart after they were drawn together in this season’s FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Saturday’s trip to Merseyside will provide Dunston with a severe test of their credentials and they will need to show all of the resilience that has fired their recent good form if they are to continue their history-making run in the competition.

Player to Watch: Sado Djalo (Dunston UTS)

Shildon v Bridlington Town

Date: Saturday 13th November

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East Division

Venue: Dean Street

Kick-off Time: 3pm

It seemed like Shildon had doubts about progressing up the non-league pyramid season-after-season.

But now they are plying their trade about Northern League and they seem to have taking that progression in their stride.

Daniel Moore’s men currently sit in third place in the Northern Premier League East Division table after losing just two of their 13 league fixtures and they remain unbeaten at Dean Street.

Confidence is understandably high and with Billy Greulich-Smith, Dean Thexton and Michael Sweet in fine form, it would not be a shock to see the Railwaymen put a struggling Bridlington Town side to the sword this weekend.

That said, it was the North Yorkshire outfit that condemned Shildon to one of their two league defeats - so revenge is very much on the agenda on Saturday.

Player to Watch: Dean Thexton (Shildon)

Ashington v Consett

Date: Saturday 13th November

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

Venue: The dwmedia Stadium

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Northern League Division One leaders visit sixth placed Ashington in what should be an absolute goal-fest on Saturday.

Despite the loss of influential midfielder Dean Briggs and striker Ryan McGorrigan, the Colliers still possess a whole host of players that can trouble the best of defences.

But their own back four will face a severe test on Saturday against a Consett side that have already hit a half-century of goals in the league this season.

The Steelmen will be favourites to claim a win in Northumberland but Ashington have already proven they can trouble the best the Northern League has to offer with a home win against West Auckland Town and a draw at North Shields.

This one is tough to call - but goals seem an absolute guarantee.

Player to Watch: Luke Carr (Consett)

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