Over-40s League: Cleugh the semi-final hat-trick hero as Ivy Legends make history
Ivy Legends are through to their first final since joining the league.
They battled to a 5-0 victory in a full-blooded Billy Lorraine Cup semi-final at Durham County Strollers.
Strollers started strongly, but Ivy’s determined defence held firm and they struck first with a goal out of nothing as a glorious one-two between the brothers Cleugh saw Michael power home a drive after latching onto brother Phil’s audacious backheel flick.
Once in front, Ivy’s confidence grew and Michael Cleugh outpaced his marker to double the lead.
On the restart, Cleugh turned provider with a scintillating run down the line that left three players in his wake before a delicious pullback was crashed home by Alan Neal.
Two further Cleugh goals, each created by Finn, sealed a brilliant win, capping a superb individual display and a fine all-round team performance.
In the final, they meet New Marske Sports Club, who beat Pelton Newfield 3-0.
Red House WMC saw their Robson Pattison Cup final dream dashed by a 4-0 semi-final loss at Tudhoe Black Horse. In the final, they will meet Cramlington Burton House, who came from behind to win 2-1 at Marden. Aubrey Rutherford levelled Mark Scott’s opener late on, then Craig Melrose headed the winner three minutes from the end of extra time.
Dubmire will meet Heaton Stannington in the First Division Alan Spedding Cup final, after being Easington CIU 2-1 and Pelton Crown 4-1 respectively.
The Ironside Cup final will see title rivals Seaham Marlborough and Thornley Celtic go head to head.
Thornley won 3-1 at North Shields Pineapple, while Marlborough edged home 1-0 at Mill View SC.
Despite missing Chris Punshon, who broke 1000 hearts by getting married, Seaham just about had the edge. Duffy had a 25-yarder tipped over, then Smith’s looping cross was headed home by Cougle, 10 yards out.
Mill View threw caution to the wind, but Seaham held firm to clinch victory.
Third Division champions elect Blue House reached the Echo Cup final after an epic battle at Richmond Town, progressing 5-4 on penalties.
In the final, they will meet Wallsend Winstons, who defeated Wingate Cons 2-0.
Wingate keeper Graeme Nixon dived full length to keep out a Slater shot, then scrambled to save a deflected Barkas strike.
Under the cosh in the second half, Wingate scrapped hard to stay level only to fall behind on 70 minutes as Richardson received a neat Arnott chip and calmly beat Nixon. Hughes thrashed home a second from Rantoul’s pass to kill off the gallant visitors.
Steels King Bros climbed three places to fourth-bottom spot with a much-needed 4-2 Premier Division win at relegation rivals Blyth Sea Horse.
Penshaw Catholic Club were good 4-2 winners at South Shields, while Ryhope Foresters lost 3-0 to leaders Hartlepool Touchdown, whose opener was a luckless own goal.
Horden Sportsmans beat Gateshead Rutherford 5-2 in Division Two, after racing 3-0 up in 10 minutes thanks to Daryl Burns and two-goal Billy Scott.
Ste Musgrove and Scott, volleying in for his hat-trick, made it five.
Peterlee Helford drew 2-2 at bottom club Cobblers Hall and are still deep in trouble as Hartlepool Catholic Club moved above them by beating third-top Hylton CW 3-1.
The Philadelphia climbed into second spot in Division Three after a 4-2 derby defeat of Houghton Cricket.
They needed just five minutes to go ahead, the ball going in direct from an Andrew Bainbridge corner, but Houghton caught the home defence napping to level, with Michael Foster directing his header into the far corner of the net.
Houghton rocked Phili by going ahead with a 20th-minute penalty, but they responded well and equalised within two minutes as Bainbridge collected a ball on the edge of the area and had his initial shot saved, but picked up the rebound and squeezed his shot into the net from an acute angle.
The Philadelphia regained the lead when Ian Pallas chased a “lost cause” of a back pass and forced a defensive mistake before coolly rolling into an empty net.
Alan Jones hit the winner, chasing down a ball which was destined for a goal kick and beating the keeper from the narrowest of angles.
Willow Pond defeated Boldon Colliery Tavern 2-1, but found their visitors hard to get the better of.
Battling Boldon deservedly struck first when Branton’s sliding tackle from outside the box brought a visiting player down inside the box and the subsequent penalty was easily despatched by Steve Temple.
Stand-in keeper Mark Wilkinson tipped one shot over and made another fine save to keep Boldon at bay.
Willow, though, levelled when sub David Hurrell set up Dean Cassidy, who then dribbled past three players to slot home.
Late on, impressive Boldon were denied a well-earned point when Hurrell headed home a corner at the back post.
Washington JFC Biddick Inn drew 1-1 at Woodhorn Lane in a close-fought clash.
Wearmouth Old Boys would have moved off the bottom of Division Four with a win, but their resounding 4-1 defeat at Hartlepool Greenside saw them cut five points adrift.
Wearmouth CW clinched promotion from Division One with a 20th win in 23 games, 3-0 at home to North Ormsby Vets.
They need just one more win to guarantee the title after a magnificent campaign.
Second-top Washington Sandpiper lost 2-0 to Hartlepool Gillen Arms, Nicky Lloyd and Mark Weatherall, from 25 yards, netting.