Mark Carruthers' Five to Watch: FA Trophy and FA Vase ties plus key play-off clash in the Northern Premier League East

FA Trophy and FA Vase ties, a key play-off clash in the Northern Premier League East and a meeting of two sides looking for promotion in the Northern League come under the radar for the Sunderland Echo Five to Watch this weekend.
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Dagenham and Redbridge v Spennymoor Town

Date: Saturday 12th February

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy Fifth Round

Mark Carruthers' Five to Watch.Mark Carruthers' Five to Watch.
Mark Carruthers' Five to Watch.

Venue: Victoria Road

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Spennymoor Town are bidding to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy for only the second time in their history.

A brave last-eight exit at the hands of National League side Bromley brought an end to their hopes of reaching Wembley in 2018 - and they’ll have to overcome another side from the top level of non-league football if they are to extend their current run in this season’s competition.

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The Moors will visit Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday looking to claim a notable win against a side currently on the fringes of the National League play-off battle.

If there was a positive to the late postponement of their midweek visit to Chorley, it was that it gave Antony Johnson and Bernard Morley extra time to prepare for the visit to the Daggers.

The likes of Glen Taylor and Rob Ramshaw will relish the opportunity to test themselves against higher-level opposition and you suspect the duo will have to be at their best if their side is to pull off a shock result in London.

Player to Watch: Glen Taylor (Spennymoor Town)

York City v Morpeth Town

Date: Saturday 12th February

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East Division

Venue: LNER Community Stadium

Kick-off Time: 3pm

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This is new territory for Morpeth Town as they compete in the last 16 of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history.

However, they will do so on familiar ground as they visit York City’s LNER Community Stadium for the second time this season.

A spirited performance in an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie could and should have delivered more than a 1-1 draw as the Highwaymen threatened to cause a shock at the home of their National League North hosts.

They have a chance to gain a measure of revenge for the 3-1 defeat inflicted on them in the replay days later - but Craig Lynch’s side will have to be at their best to continue their history-making Trophy run.

Player to Watch: Andrew Johnson (Morpeth Town)

North Shields v Rugby Town

Date: Saturday 12th February

Competition: Buildbase FA Vase

Venue: Daren Persson Stadium

Kick-off Time: 3pm

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North Shields know what it takes to win the FA Vase after experiencing Wembley glory under former manager Graham Fenton in 2015.

Now under the control of Marc Nash, the Robins have a return to the home of football firmly in their sights and they remain the only Northern League club left in this season’s competition.

Rugby Town stand in their way as they loo to progress into the quarter-finals of the Vase for the first time since they went on to win the competition seven years ago.

A big crowd is expected at the Daren Persson Stadium and a lot will depend on how North Shields cope with the tag of favourites to reach the new Wembley for the second time in their history.

Player to Watch: Dan Wilson (North Shields)

Shildon v Ossett United

Date: Saturday 12th February

Competition: Pitching-In Northern Premier League East

Venue: Dean Street

Kick-off Time: 3pm

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Despite suffering defeats in each of their last two games, Shildon head into Saturday’s home game with Ossett United still sat in the East Division play-off places.

It shouldn’t be forgotten, this is still the Railwaymen’s first season in the Northern Premier League, and despite the obvious disappointment of the last five days, there remain in a promising position.

The likes of Dean Thexton and Michael Sweet have taken to life at a higher level with ease and they are by far alone in that achievement.

Daniel Moore also deserves credit for pulling together a tight-knit squad that is showing up well and showing some consistency in an increasingly unpredictable division made up of some highly-talented sides.

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They face another key test of their play-off credentials when Ossett United - who currently lie just below the play-off places - visit Dean Street on Saturday and Shildon will hope to round off a difficult week with a much improved performance.

Player to Watch: Zak Atkinson (Whickham)

Consett v Ryhope CW

Date: Saturday 12th February

Competition: Ebac Northern League Division One

Venue: Belle View

Kick-off Time: 3pm

There can’t be too many times this season when Consett and Ryhope CW have made their way into a weekend game on the back of a negative performance.

But that is the case ahead of Saturday’s clash at Belle View after the table-topping Steelmen suffered a 3-2 defeat at Thornaby last weekend.

Ryhope’s impressive season has also taken a slight hit recently after their derby defeat against Sunderland RCA and last Saturday’s home draw against struggling Northallerton Town.

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There is enough quality in both sides to suggest that they will move on from their recent disappointment and that is what makes this weekend’s meeting even more eye-catching.

Consett will be the favourites to claim a win and hand a further boost to their hopes of claiming the Northern League title - but Ryhope have shown they are more than a match for the clubs in and around them in the table and will be confident of securing a shock win.

Player to Watch: Luke Carr (Consett)

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