Wearside League: Red Star Reserves looking for a late-season flourish
Seaham Red Star Reserves have found the going tough during their first season in the league, but, following an improvement in recent weeks, boss Kevin Dixon is hoping to finish on a high.
Tomorrow, out-of-sorts Harton and Westoe visit Seaham Town Park and, if the form book is any guide, Dixon’s men appear to be in with a good opportunity of taking all three points.
A boost is the return of Andy Upperton, Mark Ruddock and Adam Wilson. Nixon’s only selection concern surrounds the injured Matthew Nixon.
Harton have been leaking goals for fun in recent weeks, but their chances of stemming the flood are enhanced by the availability of Martin Nugent, Josh Rodgers, Shaun Reay, David Halliday and brothers Connor and Ewan Vasey.
Manager Jason Jones, who has slight doubts over Shaun Heads, Darren Wann and Logan Powell observed: “Hopefully, we can pick up on recent results which were poor.”
Silksworth CW’s fixture against Wolviston will now be played on Wearside because Metcalfe Park is waterlogged.
“The Wolviston secretary Keith Simpson informed me earlier in the week that there was no chance of the match going ahead on their ground,” said Silksworth assistant secretary David Steele.
“I readily agreed to the switch which was rubber-stamped by the League officials. It seems eminently sensible and means we’ll get a game on.”
Boss Michael McVay will field a strong line-up, with returning pair Graeme Pickering and Tom Moody in his plans. Karl Barry (ribs) and Aidan Cannon (broken ankle) are definite absentees, but Wolviston have four players coming back.
Skipper and centre-half Shaun Gregory, defender Nick Robinson and strikers David Summersgill and Nathan Bayes are all named.
There is a local derby at Ford Quarry, where Sunderland West End play Ashbrooke Belford House.
West End – whose chances of clinching the championship have receded in recent games – go without David Keithley and Stephen Lax, while Ashbrooke’s joint manager, Asa Dobbing, is forced into making a number of changes.
Although Lee Owens and Shaun Petch are available, Dave Wells, Darren Snowball, David Scott and Marc Egglestone are definitely out, while Stephen Halliday will need to have his fitness assessed before kick-off.
Horden CW have experienced off-the-field problems, but until Monday night they had not affected performances.
The Colliers defeated local rivals Hartlepool last Saturday but on Monday night were hit with a 12-goal blitz by championship challengers Stockton Town.
Even so, they are fifth before heading to Cleator Moor Celtic, who are one place and five points better off.
Annfield Plain take a full squad to Jarrow, while Spennymoor Town Reserves visit in-form Prudhoe Town minus Kai Willis and Neil Charlton. In addition, Connor Dunlavey is a doubt.
Prudhoe have improved recently but are still fifth-bottom. Their chances of claiming another win are boosted with the return of Kevin Moreland and Lee Best, together with Reece Davies, who has completed a ban.
Murton, with only one win and three draws from 34 games, travel to Richmond Town, while Hartlepool make the long journey to Whitehaven.
The Shipowners’ Cup semi-finals take place.
Stockton Town, whose first priority is to win the championship and gain promotion to the Ebac Northern League, are in with a very good chance of replicating last season’s achievement when they won the title and the three domestic cups.
They visit Boldon CA and it’s likely that youngsters Dylan McAvoy, Ben Priestley and Sonny Coleman, who scored four times in the midweek rout of Horden, will all be in the starting line-up.
Chris Dunwell and Kalumn Hannah also come into the reckoning.
Boldon boss Paul Mossa, who welcomes back strikers Adam Bell (holiday) and Dominic Mossa (injury), said: “It would be great to finish the season with a cup final place, but it would take a massive effort beating Stockton.”
Redcar Athletic meet Leam Rangers when Andy Jennings will be looking to complete the Seasiders’ goal-scoring record, set up by James Kesterton in 2008/9 when he notched 44 goals.
Also named are Luke Woodall, Robbie Farrier and Jordan Kirk, but work commitments keep out Lewis Wood and Joe Blackburn. Chris Bivens is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Leam have David Stevenson clear of suspension, but Stephen Usher begins a two-match ban. Striker Connor Halpin comes into the squad.