Pete Sixsmith‘s articles invariably speak for themselves. This one will have to – it’s an emergency late-of-night job with a busy day ahead …
It’s well known that I am usually pleased when we have a Sunday kick off. It gives me an opportunity to take in another game, sometimes distant, sometimes local. It was local today as I made the short journey to West Auckland for their FA Cup tie with Skelmersdale United.
Like Aycliffe, Skelmersdale is an old settlement with a new town tagged on to it. The new builds started in 1961 and took overspill from Merseyside and the Wigan/St Helens area. Large estates, lots of greenery and a shopping centre in the middle – think Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee etc.
United won the Northern Premier League Division One (North) last season in a canter and have started well in the Premier Division, topping it at one stage. They must have been confident of at least taking West Auckland back to the West Lancashire College Stadium for a replay seeing as they are two leagues above them.
Their hopes were shattered as West strolled to a 5-0 win, building up hopes among the Sunderland fans present, that this could well be the first part of a County Durham/Merseyside double. Unfortunately, I don’t imagine Skrtl, Agger and co. being as generous as the Skem back four were and I would be amazed if Altidore and Giaccherini are as effective as Moffat and Campbell were for West.
In the previous rounds, West have beaten Harrogate Railway (one league above them) and Whitby Town (two leagues above them), earning a considerable amount of Budweiser’s money on the way. This one was worth £4,000 to the winners and both clubs would have been more than grateful for it. This is grass roots football where success is measured in thousands rather than the millions that are splashed around in the Premier League.
Luke Carr fired them into a second minute lead which settled the EBAC Northern League side and when John Campbell hooked home an excellent second midway through the half, they were in control.
The general consensus amongst the collected greybeards was that the next goal was crucial and it went to West, when Campbell flicked the ball over the centre half’s head, ran onto it and slotted home a quite superb goal. Campbell had a spell at Darlington when they were in the Conference but it didn’t work for him and he arrived at West after a returned spell at Newcastle Benfield.
He has formed a formidable partnership with local lad Matty Moffat, a man for whom scoring goals is as natural as blackening people’s character is to Damien McBride. He scored the fourth after picking up a clearance and calmly rolling it past the Skem goalkeeper. The custodians afternoon reached a nadir when he allowed a shot from substitute Jonny Wright to go through his arms and into the net.
It was a sparkling victory on a lovely autumn afternoon in front of a decent crowd. The quality of the football was matched by the Taylor’s Pork Pie, always a reason for visiting Darlington Road. They have them at just the right temperature – not too hot but warm enough for the jelly to run a wee bit. Delicious.
Tomorrow, it’s Liverpool at the Stadium. Today’s results suggest that the underdog is biting this weekend so it may be our turn tomorrow. It also looks like Martin Jol is under pressure at Fulham and they may move for either Poyet or Meulensteen, the two most mentioned with our vacancy, which may prompt Short to move quicker than he would have hoped to.
I would suggest West Auckland manager Peter Dixon – but he’s a Newcastle supporter!!