(Above, James Fairley, notches brace on opening weekend)
Bishop Auckland opened their 2019-20 Ebac Northern League campaign with a twice-from-behind victory at The Frenchfield Stadium, Penrith thanks to a last-gasp winner from James Fairley.
Some seventy goals were registered across the two Northern League divisions on the opening Saturday with First Division outfit, Shildon, top-scoring when they defeated beleaguered visitors Thornaby 8-1 whilst the other two promoted sides both suffered defeats, Billingham Town going down 6-0 at home to Stockton Town and Northallerton 1-0 away to Consett.
In the Second Division the league newcomers Carlisle City, Newcastle University, and Sunderland West End, all suffered opening day defeats against Chester-le-Street (3-0), Ryton & Crawcrook (3-1) and Crook Town (2-0) respectively.
Max Brown opened the scoring over in Cumbria, sliding home a cross from Bobby Atkinson on the left before Chris Winn side-footed home the equaliser before the break, the sides going in level. Penrith regained the lead early in the second when Martyn Coleman played the ball through the box for Atkinson to net before the visiting number ten, James Fairley, took over with a late brace to spin the game on its head.
Fairley’s first was smashed home on the volley from a Darryl Hall flick to equalise for a second time, then as the minutes ticked down, Kyle Fryatt released the ball into Fairley’s path whose shot beat the home ‘keeper via a deflection for the winner, Bishop Auckland heading back to County Durham with a hard-fought, 3-2 win.
At Dean Street Billy Greulich-Smith began the season with a hat-trick as Shildon ran visitors Thornaby ragged, further goals coming from Matty Robson, Zak Atkinson, Danny Craggs, Nathan Steel, and Ben Trotter; a rip-roarer of a game was witnessed on Teesside as hosts Billingham Town were beaten heavily in a game which saw six goals, two penalties, two red cards, the woodwork hit three times, and a lengthy period of stoppage time.
Peter Bulmer opened the scoring early for the visitors which Kevin Hayes doubled just over ten minutes later before Mikey Roberts missed the first penalty; Roberts then missed a second spot-kick early in the second half after Summers was dismissed for the hosts before Jordan Robinson finally got a third. Stockton then saw a player dismissed as Callum Roberts saw red and there hadn’t even been an hour played.
Hayes notched his second of the afternoon with fourteen remaining for his sides fourth and Max Craggs let rip from 25-yards into the top corner for number five and Adam Nicholson rattled home the sixth in stoppage time with there still being time for the woodwork and more cards – now that’s a game!!
Graeme Armstrong meanwhile took the scoring plaudits with a four-goal salvo for Hebburn Town as they opened up with a 5-1 home win over Ashington, Liam Sullivan notching the fifth with a late header, and this after Ashington had opened the scoring through Dan Taggart, and the visitors had missed a penalty.
Full results from the opening day in the Northern League as follows –
SATURDAY 3 AUGUST RESULTS
EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION
Billingham Town 0 Stockton Town 6; Consett 1 Northallerton 0; Hebburn Town 5 Ashington 1; Newton Aycliffe 0 Whickham 3; Penrith 2 Bishop Auckland 3; Seaham Red Star 0 Guisborough Town 2; Shildon 8 Thornaby 1; Sunderland RCA 2 North Shields 1; West Auckland 2 Ryhope CW 2; Whitley Bay 1 Newcastle Benfield 1
EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE SECOND DIVISION
Billingham Synthonia 2 Easington 1; Brandon United 1 Jarrow 5; Carlisle City 0 Chester-le-Street 3; Durham City 0 Willington 2; Heaton Stannington 1 Bedlington 2; Redcar Athletic 1 West Allotment Celtic 1; Ryton & Crawcrook 3 Newcastle University 1; Sunderland West End 0 Crook Town 2; Tow Law Town 0 Birtley Town 1; Washington 2 Esh Winning 1