Saturday's North Division review

11 months ago By David Watters

South Shields came into the EVO-STIK League North as champions of the Northern League with many pundits tipping them to go straight through to the Premier, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

And they made a good start as the season got underway when they won 2-1 at Shawe View against Trafford. The Buildbase FA Vase winners had to come back from a 38th minute James Dean goal down to win though, thanks to former Gateshead striker Jon Shaw right on the cusp of half-time and then Carl Finnigan just past the hour-mark.

There`s not quite so many expectations heaped on the other promoted team, North West Counties Football League League champions Atherton Collieries. However, they too began with a good away success – 2-0 at neighbouring Colne, thanks to an early fourth minute Ben Hardcastle effort and one from Jordan Cover two minutes from time.

Relegated Skelmersdale United didn`t start as well, however, going down 1-0 at Brighouse Town, whose Aaron Martin proved to be the match-winner nine minutes into the second half.

The biggest crowd of the day in the division – 1,385 – finally welcomed Scarborough Athletic back home in their new Flamingo Land Stadium but the game was something of a damp squid as Hyde United held Boro to a goalless draw.

The opening day`s biggest winners were Mossley AFC, who won 5-2 at Parkside against Kendal Town, who led 2-1 at the break after Connor Gaul and Aaron Taylor had cancelled out Jack Tuohy`s second minute opener for the Lilywhites. But a second for Tuohy and singles from Adam Latham, Sam Gibson and Mason Duffy sealed a great start for the Tamesiders.

Glossop North End are fancied to do well and they started well with a 3-0 success at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds against Goole AFC. Ben Deegan`s goal was all that separated the teams at the break, but Dale Johnson and Jude Oyibo added second half goals for the Hillmen.

Jerome Wright had a debut to remember as his new Ramsbottom United side edged out Tadcaster Albion 2-1 at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium. The former FC United of Manchester favourite bagged a brace in the eighth and then 86th minutes to outgun Tom Corner's 41st minute reply for Taddy.

Matt Lawlor netted a 77th minute winner for Bamber Bridge at Stainton Park against Radcliffe Borough. Earlier, Macauley Parkinson had put Brig one-up in the 29th minute, only for Kurt Sherlock to level within six minutes.

The Ossett sides had very differing opening day outcomes, Albion losing 3-0 at Dimple Wells to Colwyn Bay, for whom Astley Mulholland bagged a brace sandwiched by a Jack Kelleher effort – all in the final 17 minutes.

Town, though, won 2-1 at Valerie Park against Prescot Cables with a 14th minute Ashley Jackson penalty and a 32nd minute Kai Hancock effort – Jordan Southworth replying in stoppage time for Cables.

Clitheroe were the day`s other winners, 2-0 at home to Droyslden, courtesy of Sefton Gonzales after 23 minutes and Kurt Willoughby nine minutes into the second half.

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Where next?

Saturday's South Division review The three newly-promoted teams in EVO-STIK League South all kicked off the 2017-18 season with home wins, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.
Final trials for NPLFA hopefuls The EVO-STIK League's NPLFA clubs are holding their final trials for students still hoping to win a place among the league-wide academy's 2017-18 intake.

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