Sporting walk it.
Sporting Redhouse, shown here with their trophy double in Season 1. It looked like plain sailing for them until their penultimate game where a 2-2 draw with Durham Pine opened the door for Herrenknecht in second place. The final game of the season saw Herrenknecht claw back a 2-1 deficit to make it 2-2. Herrenknecht had to win, but conceded two further goals and Sporting won their title.
1st February 2000
Sporting on top.
Durham Pine and Herrenknecht share the points in an excellent draw, TCB hold Slipway, University thrash Groundwork, S & C eliminated from the Challenge Trophy.
Its safe to say that the opening day of the new Sunderland Football League was a resounding success. The opening game was probably the best game of the night, with two highly experienced teams that were evenly matched in terms of skill and fitness. The game ended all square at 2-2. Gavin Wilson opened the scoring with a fine goal in the first half as Herrenknecht managed to control the game, they should have gone further ahead before the half ended but then Durham Pine deservedly got back in the game. Brian Storey scored from a penalty after John Hunt stepped into the area. Brian Gettins scoring an excellent goal to put Durham ahead and it seemed likely that they would take all three points as they pressured the Herrenknecht defence looking for the crucial third goal. But with time running out, John Hunt burst through the Durham defence to grab an equaliser to give Herrenknecht a share of the points in a finely balance game.
The League favourites, Sporting Redhouse, annihilated Pennywell Community Business 8-1 with 6 goals from John Cairns and 2 from Steve Wilson. They now head the table with the highest goal difference, despite playing with a second string defence. The PCB goalkeeper performed well to keep the score from reaching double figures but the two goalscorers were lethal as PCB succumbed to the heaviest defeat of the night. Sean Forrest scored PCB’s consolation goal late on in the game.
Individual performance of the night was, without a doubt, Steven Roberts, the TCB goalkeeper who could deservedly gain the credit for keeping the score at 0-0 against the highly rated Slipway. Slipway dominated the game to such an extent that their goalkeeper did not touch the ball until the second half. TCB’s players gained confidence from their goalkeepers’ performance and eventually managed to push forward and could have even won the game, but the score remained 0-0, as Slipway rued the numerous chances that they failed to put away.
University of Sunderland hit 5 against Groundwork Murton’s 0. Wayne Beverley scored 4 in an unusual game littered with penalties. University opened the scoring but then Groundwork missed a penalty which would have put them back into the running. Amazingly, University missed a penalty soon after but went 3-0 ahead with Wayne Beverly scoring all three – the third from another penalty!. Groundwork then missed their second penalty as University finished them off with their fourth goal coming from Paul Graham and, inevitably, Wayne Beverly making it 5-0
The final game was a Challenge Trophy Eliminator. Herrenknecht took on Sex & Chocolate and despite some excellent play from Tearney, Wray and Bambrough in S & C’s forward/midfield line, Herrenknecht took them apart with a hat-trick from Gavin Wilson and 2 goals from Christian Baines with John Hunt adding the final one near the end. It was a huge disappointment for S & C as they were comprehensively eliminated from the Challenge Trophy.
8th February 2000
Herrenknecht consolidate 2nd place.
Sporting annihilate S & C, Durham to strong for University, Groundwork overcome TCB.
Groundwork, Durham Pine and Herrenknecht registered their first league wins of the Season, whereas Sporting Redhouse went from strength to strength with another resounding win, this time over Sex & Chocolate, who suffered a second heavy defeat after being eliminated from the Cup by Herrenknecht the previous week.
Two strong contenders, Herrenknecht and Slipway, took to the field for the opening game. Both had draws the previous week, with Herrenknecht coming from behind to draw with Durham Pine despite being 1-0 ahead, and Slipway, unbelievably, failing to score against TCB Accountancy in one of the most one sided games ever seen. The game had an underlying tension to it which soon boiled over after Gavin Wilson had put Herrenknecht 1-0 ahead. Several decisions went against Slipway as tempers flared and players were lucky not be booked. Wilson muscled his way through to score the second goal in the second half as Herrenknecht looked safe for all three points. However, midway in the second half, Slipway scored an unusual wind assisted goal and despite some additional time added on Herrenknecht held on for an important victory.
University of Sunderland came crashing down to earth after being beaten 4-2 by Durham Pine. Durham raced into a four goal lead with Brian Storey grabbing two (one penalty) and Gary Ewitt and Kevin Gettins scoring the other. Surprisingly, four goal hero from the previous week Wayne Beverley was only introduced as a second half substitute and proceeded to change the game by scoring with an excellent finish and setting up another. However all was in vain as University lost despite having an excellent opening day result.
Sporting Redhouse headed the table again with a resounding win over S & C. The S & C defence played exceptionally well to hold the Sporting Redhouse strikers back, but inevitably, John Cairns opened the scoring and proceeded to score four goals in total before the game ended. The game continued in the second half with the score still at 1-0 – but then Sporting scored again and S & C collapsed to lose 7-0, with Steve Wilson scoring a hat-trick. Mats Glenne in the S & C goal played exceptionally well and would have been all too disappointed with his defence.
The final game of the night was played amidst worsening conditions. Groundwork destroyed TCB by 4 goals to 1. Both teams played good football in an evenly balanced game until Groundwork scored. TCB pushed on in desperation to get on the score sheet only to concede more goals including an excellent long range shot which was partially deflected. Andrew McNicoll scored as well as his substitute, Wayne Blakey. John Beardmore scored two goals and Steven Riseborough scored TCB’s consolation
15th February 2000
Slipway turn on the style.
Durham destroyed, University unlucky against Sporting, Herrenknecht march on and S & C finally win.
An interesting day unfolded as the major teams in the League overcame some difficult hurdles. Slipway finally burst on to the scene and S & C also gained their first win of the season. Both the leading goalscorers, John Cairns and Gavin Wilson failed to score which in turn allowed the other leading goalscorers to catch up.
A superb performance from Christian Baines led Herrenknecht to a 6-1 win over PCB. An indifferent start from Herrenknecht allowed PCB to cancel out Baines’ opening goal, but Baines went on to give Herrenknecht the lead soon after. PCB collapsed after a good performance in the opening half as Baines scored two more alongside substitute, Paul Mitchell and Barry Lambert, making his first full appearance. The final score of 6-1 was a little harsh on PCB as they defended well, but lack of confidence let them down as they remained as the only team to not gain a point this season
The much anticipated encounter between Slipway and Durham Pine ended in a resounding 5-0 victory for Slipway – their first win of the season. Durham were expected not to lose this encounter, whereas Slipway could not afford to lose. The opening half saw Slipway control most of the game with Durham having to resort to counter attacks. Chances were missed at both ends and Slipway even missed a penalty late in the first half as it seemed that their luck was against them. The second half saw Slipway make amends for their two previous performances in the League by annihilating Durham Pine with Melvin Keith making a belated appearance on the leading goalscorers chart by scoring all 5 goals. Durham seemed to collapse after conceding the opening goal in a similar manner to their previous game when they let University score 2 goals. On many occasions they had only one defender and two of Slipway’s goals came from breaks in the midfield. A disaster for Durham but an announcement from Slipway as they face the League Leaders, Sporting Redhouse, next week
University, after their demoralising 4-2 defeat at the hands of Durham Pine, were expected to crumble against Sporting Redhouse, but amazingly they took the lead from a penalty with goal-a-game, Wayne Beverley, adding to his increasing tally. Sporting equalised early in the second half with John Kelsey scoring, but University looked to have gained a draw as time wore on. With three minutes remaining, Sporting took the lead through Steve Wilson and completed the win with another goal from Wilson in the dying seconds. University could have grabbed an unlikely equaliser when 2-1 down, but Danny Coulson made an excellent save to keep an unusually nervous Sporting Redhouse on top.
Sex & Chocolate finally got on the scoresheet and gained three points in a hard fought win over TCB. S & C hurtled into a two goal lead with goals from Bambrough and Muir only to be superbly pegged back by TCB, who, in reality, should have gone on to win the game. Sherrington and Riseborough scored the TCB goals and should have added more throughout the game but for the excellent goalkeeping and defending from S & C. The reward for S & C came in the second half as Bambrough scored the winner.
22nd February 2000
Slipway unlucky, S & C’s late draw, University back on song and Durham Pine too strong for Pennywell Community Business.
Durham Pine, after their 5-0 defeat last week, started nervously against PCB in the first encounter of the night. PCB seemed to be making steady progress despite not winning a single game this season and it showed as they equalised after going an early goal down. Durham Pine soon showed their strength by racing into a 3-1 lead, with Kevin Gettins, Brian Gettins and Brian Storey on the scoresheet. PCB pegged them back 3-2 but eventually went down 5-2 – Brian Gettins and Brian Storey grabbing their second goals of the game. PCB’s scorers were Peter Hardy and Gary Rolls. On the downside for Durham Pine, Paul Ozman was sent off for dissent.
The game of the night was unquestionably Slipway against Sporting Redhouse. Slipway were high on confidence after their 5-0 win over Durham Pine and Sporting were the team to beat having won all their games.
Slipway defending strongly and nullified the Sporting attack in the opening half. Chances were limited as both teams closed down each other consistently throughout the game. The breakthrough came late in the second half as John Cairns scored a deflected goal to give Sporting the lead. Slipway did themselves proud by piling on the pressure. They hit the post twice and forced Danny Coulson into some excellent saves. Despite the pressure, Sporting held on for the three points again as they had beaten University the previous week in a similar manner. But despite all that they remain in top spot without having played well in most of their games.
University took on TCB Accountancy in a closely fought game. After their defeat last week despite playing very well; it was a more methodical University as they ground out a result. It was a tale of penalties as University missed their opening penalty with Wayne Beverley being the culprit. They made amends with Paul Graham hitting the opening goal from the penalty spot. The game was evenly balanced with both teams guilty of missing chances but University wrapped up the win with Greg Smart hitting the second goal. TCB were unlucky not to gain anything from this game as they were unlucky in their last game. University again played some excellent football but lacked penetration up front but they moved up one place to 4th in the League.
S&C, after the euphoria of their first win last week, were very disappointing in this encounter against Groundwork. When Groundwork deservedly opened the scoring early in the game with a fine goal from John Beardmore, S&C crumbled with only Glenne’s excellent, efficient goalkeeping keeping the score at 1-0. With Groundwork surging forward time and time again, they could have scored five or six, but S & C were resilient and took advantage when Groundwork conceded a needless late penalty – which Petterson easily converted. With a final score of 1-1, Groundwork were disappointed and S&C were let off the hook. It appears that S & C are becoming a tough nut to crack after their opening two game debacle.
29th February 2000
PCB finally hit top form against Slipway.
University fight back against Herrenknecht, S & C trounced by Durham Pine, Sporting Redhouse on course despite Groundwork’s heroics.
PCB finally made their mark in great style as they came back from 1-0 down to draw against Slipway. PCB probably had the best of the game in both halves as they hit the post on a number of occasions. Dale Crute opened the scoring but a more slick looking PCB hit back later in the half with Gary Rolls scoring the goal. The second half saw Slipway struggling against a confident PCB and they were lucky to walk away with a point. A disaster for Slipway but an excellent result for PCB who now have the opportunity to gain points against the teams immediately above them in the following weeks.
Herrenknecht took control against University and Barry Lambert fired them into the lead in a dominating first half which saw Chris Garrett in the Herrenknecht goal, hardly make a save. The second half was completely the opposite as Herrenknecht proceeded to miss a penalty (from Christian Baines) which gave the University a huge confidence boost. The team took their turn to dominate the game and roasted the Herrenknecht defence with Chris Garrett making some fantastic saves to keep them in touch. University finally scored with Paul Graham scoring and should have secured all three points – but Garrett came to the rescue. At the other end, Herrenknecht had several chances and their normally prolific strikers failed to hit the mark. It was a game of two halves as the points were shared.
Durham Pine carried on the good work they completed the previous week as they dominated and destroyed S & C. Despite an evenly balanced first few minutes in which S & C played some fine football, Durham soon came out on top as they scored 3 goals with Brian Gettins, Kevin Gettins and Gary Ewitt hitting the net. Durham Pine now have control of second place with victories and draws against University and Herrenknecht respectively, and despite a defeat against Slipway they seem guaranteed with Second Position.
Sporting Redhouse raced into a two goal lead against a depleted Groundwork team in the first few minutes and it looked as if the League Leaders would add to their increasing goal tally. Amazingly Groundwork took control and scored two excellent goals from Paul Huitson and Barry Massey – the second being slightly deflected, to end the half all square at 2-2. The second half saw a very evenly balanced game with Groundwork playing some excellent football and having a good few chances. Sporting, though, took control by scoring two goals in quick succession and added a third near the end. Steve Wilson scored a hat trick and, inevitable, John Cairns hit two. Groundwork left the game defeated but with pride intact as they became the only team to score two goals against Sporting. John Cairns looks odds on to win the Golden Boot Prize with 13 goals. Ironically, his main rival is now Steve Wilson, his strike partner, who has 10 goals. Gavin Wilson and Christian Baines follow with 6 goals.
Quarter Finals – 7th March 2000
Herrenknecht’s shock exit against TCB.
University and Durham Pine both successful in the shoot-out, Sporting fight back against Slipway with a hotly disputed penalty.
The Quarter Finals were expected to be an easy ride for Herrenknecht, University and Durham Pine with only Slipway against Sporting Redhouse being a difficult one to call.
The four games threw up some interesting results and three of the games had to be decided by penalty kicks.
Herrenknecht were dumped out of the Cup in one of the biggest shocks of the season so far. TCB played exceptionally well, but it was Herrenknecht who had the majority of the chances. Gavin Wilson hit the post and crossbar on several occasions as Herrenknecht attempted to equalise against TCB’s opening goal (scored by Steven Riseborough). Barry Lambert eventually equalised for Herrenknecht with time running out, but TCB deservedly ran out 3-2 winners in the shoot-out. Christian Baines missed for Herrenknecht, again, as he missed one against University the previous week.
University had an outstanding game against a resurgent PCB team to reach the Semi Finals. PCB opened the scoring as both teams played some excellent football in the most open of all the four games. University fought back with Wayne Beverley scoring two goals, his first since the 3-1 defeat against Sporting. PCB equalised but Ian Birkett scored his first goal of the season to send University through. Sean Forrest and Gary Rolls scored for PCB who were unfortunate not to go through despite scoring first and then equalising when 2-1 down.
Durham Pine were expected to walk over Groundwork Murton, but with Groundwork giving Sporting Redhouse a scare in the previous week – they carried on the good work as both teams cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw. Durham were more physical and direct whereas Groundwork played some excellent football. Both teams deserved to score but Groundwork had to suffer a penalty shoot out defeat – losing 3-2.
The big game of the night was a re-match between Slipway and Sporting. Slipway were unlucky to lose in the League encounter between the two teams and looked to have made amends as they raced into a 2 goal lead, with Paul Mooney Jnr. And Snr. scoring either side of the half. But then the fight back began as Cairns scored with seven minutes remaining. Sporting equalised from a hotly disputed penalty which resulted in Paul Mooney being sent off for dissent and Mark Blakey scoring from the spot. The shoot out resulted in a 3-2 win for Sporting and a very disappointed Slipway team who comprehensively outplayed Sporting throughout the game and were unlucky to go out
14th March 2000
Groundwork back on form.
Herrenknecht and Sporting annihilate their opponents, PCB reverse their Quarter Final defeat.
The season is drawing to a close and it appears that the league is a two horse race. Both University and Durham Pine lost – clearing the way for Herrenknecht and Sporting Redhouse, who both had resounding wins. Herrenknecht annihilated Sex & Chocolate 8-1 whereas Sporting matched them and beat TCB 8-2. Both teams remain unbeaten with Sporting almost a certainty to win the League.
The most remarkable game of the night, however, was the opening game between PCB and University. University had won in the Quarter Final game between the two teams after being a goal down and looked as if they were on course again after going 2-0 ahead with Paul Graham (penalty) and Adrian Lord scoring. The continually improving PCB team regrouped and levelled the scores with two fine goals and then went ahead 3-2. University hit back with Ian Birkett scoring, then it was their turn to take the lead with Paul Graham adding his second. PCB again clawed their way back to 4-4, and then broke clear with a fifth goal. The deserved win was secured with a sixth goal – Gary Rolls scored 4 and Sean Forest and David Black scored one each. Some defensive mishaps from the University but an excellent first win for PCB who are rapidly becoming a strong, hard to beat team. A definite team to watch out for in Season 2.
Herrenknecht played Sex & Chocolate in an absolutely crucial game. Herrenknecht had not won a game for three weeks, albeit, remaining unbeaten, but had been dumped out of the Cup Quarter Final and been held in the League. With Sporting running away with the title, Herrenknecht had to win. Luckily, Barry Lambert fired them ahead in the opening minutes – his third goal in as many games, to calm the nerves. Christian Baines scored his first goals for some time with four in total and Gavin Wilson added to his tally with a hat-trick. S & C hardly had a shot on goal and their only reply came from a dubious penalty late in the second half scored by Petterson. It was unquestionably Herrenknecht’s best performance of the Season with superb interplay between all the outfield players. Herrenknecht now have to beat Groundwork and TCB to remain in the title race and hope that Sporting lose to Durham Pine to set up a nail biting finale on the last day of the Season.
Groundwork Murton, who are without a doubt a strong team, made amends for their penalty defeat by Durham Pine in the Quarter Finals with an excellent 1-0 win. Groundwork played some exceptional football and scored early on with Barry Massey scoring. They controlled the game and an increasingly frustrated Durham Pine struggled to come to terms with the opposition. Goal scoring chances were restricted to a few half chances at goal until the end when Durham began to create space but failed to take their chances. The defeat probably ended Durham’s hope of a top two league standing – but they still hold the destiny of the league with a penultimate game against Sporting Redhouse. They have a good chance of preventing Sporting from winning the league – depending on other results.
Sporting’s attack overran TCB in the final game of the night with a thumping 8-2 victory. It could have been different had the TCB strikers put their opportunities away, but Sporting were too strong. Cairns hit 5 goals, Wilson hit 2 and Mark Blakey added a solitary goal. The TCB scorers were Steven Riseborough and debut goal from Chris Feasy. Despite playing with a one man defence, it seems that Sporting’s all out attack policy is paying off. After overcoming two titanic matches with Slipway – only a faltering Durham Pine stand in their way of the title as well as the Cup. Sporting play Herrenknecht in their last game but could easily sow up the league beforehand.
21st March 2000
PCB’s late surge.
Herrenknecht keep their hopes alive. Slipway’s second win of the season and Durham, again, fail to live up to expectations.
Slipway returned to action after their ignominious exit in the Quarter Finals and gained only their second win of the season. University were the victims in a 5-0 rout, although Slipway sometimes struggled as Wayne Beverley, in the University team, strode through the midfield evading his several markers. Slipway, however, were far too strong and the meanest defence in the league, again, conceded no goals. It was a game of contrasting styles as it matched the skills and interpassing of the University against the more physical approach of Slipway. Melvin Keith scored a hat-trick and Billy Mooney and Dale Crute added the others.
Sex & Chocolate were again involved in a heavy defeat and their season is rapidly turning into a disaster. They were thumped again to the tune of 8 goals to nil. Surprisingly it was PCB who inflicted this defeat – but then again, they are the form team in this league having been very convincing in their last three games. Gary Rolls hit 5 and David Black scored 3 in a thoroughly dominating performance. PCB could even jump up to fourth place next week, with University not playing and Slipway only playing a friendly – they have to overcome Groundwork who could do the same.
The most important game of the night was the clash between Groundwork and Herrenknecht. Groundwork, unbeaten in two games, were also regarded as a much improved team, but turned up with a depleted team. Herrenknecht put them to the sword with a fine 4-2 win to keep their league aspirations alive. Despite an inevitable penalty miss (this time from Barry Lambert), Herrenknecht were 2-0 up in the first half. A superb goal from Barry Massey before half time made sure the second half would start with Groundwork still in it, but Herrenknecht broke clear with a 4-1 scoreline. It was a bridge too far for Groundwork but they played some good football to add another goal from Barry Massey. Gavin Wilson, Barry Lambert and two from Christian Baines made sure that Herrenknecht had the victory.
Durham Pine should have finished off TCB after an early Brian Gettins goal but, as usual, their strikers failed to hit their mark despite almost complete dominance in the first half. TCB, after last week’s heavy defeat, were more resilient and came back into the game in the second half. Durham still controlled the game but TCB equalised near the end with one of their rare shots on goal by Rob Howard. A disappointment for Durham Pine as they prepare to face Sporting Redhouse next week – a prelude to their Cup encounter, which could easily resurrect their season. Ironically, both Durham and TCB are involved in the destination of the title, with TCB playing Herrenknecht and Durham playing Sporting next week. If Herrenknecht win and Durham avoid defeat then Herrenknecht have to beat Sporting in the last game to win the League. Interesting times ahead….
28th March 2000
Durham sign off in style as Sporting’s winning run ends.
Herrenknecht win again to set up a final day showdown with Sporting. Groundwork creep into 4th place and could finish in 3rd.
All the games played on this night paled into insignificance when compared with the Durham Pine – Sporting Redhouse game. Durham had not won in open play for several weeks and Sporting only needed 2 points to win the League which everybody expected them to.
Durham Pine were geared up for this game which was a prelude to the two teams’ Semi Final clash in a fortnight. Sporting Redhouse started nervously and made an immediate substitution with Joe Spraggon being replaced by John Kelsey – who’s first contribution to the game was to concede a penalty. A well taken penalty by Brian Gettins put Durham 1-0 ahead but Sporting came back strongly to equalise and went ahead soon after with Wilson and Cairns on the scoresheet. Durham, all credit to them, kept going and scored a spectacular equaliser from David Pitt after Danny Coulson, in goal, managed to beat out the first shot. Durham Pine were on top for the majority of the game and had it not been for some indifferent finishing, they could have taken all three points. The team changed their tactics to match Sporting with Brian Gettins operating as a lone striker, man to man marking in defence and strong pressing in midfield. The Durham team hunted in packs and used their physical strength to put Sporting off track. The Sporting players were closed down immediately and had no space in which to maneuver although they looked dangerous on the break. The final result at 2-2 confirmed Durham Pine’s potential as a contender for Season 2 and also this Season’s Challenge Trophy. This was unquestionably Durham’s best performance of the Season.
The result meant that the Season went down to the wire with Herrenknecht overcoming TCB 3-1. The Herrenknecht team raced into a 2 goal lead with Barry Lambert and Gavin Wilson on the scoresheet, but error by Christian Baines, in midfield, allowed TCB back into the game. Neil Pilkington scored their goal just before half time. So it was a nervous Herrenknecht team that was put under pressure in the second half until Gavin Wilson scored his second goal to end the game as a contest at 3-1. TCB made most of the running and had most of the possession in the latter stages of the game but Chris Garrett, in the Herrenknecht goal, again made some excellent saves to keep his team on track as they now look forward, with relish, to the clash with Sporting Redhouse with the incentive of having an opportunity to win the league rather than playing for pride – thanks to Durham Pine.
In the other game on the night, Groundwork quietly moved into 4th place with a resounding 6-1 win over PCB. Both teams were depleted with key players missing but Groundwork proved stronger as they again played some excellent football to puncture PCB’s recent run of good performances. New player Graham Defty hit 5 and Sean Ward added one from the penalty spot. Ironically PCB opened the scoring with Dennis Stokoe on target but failed to take advantage. Groundwork have a final game against Slipway and a win would confirm 3rd place for them, leapfrogging Durham Pine.
4th April 2000
Sporting Redhouse crowned as Champions after their final game.
Herrenknecht beaten for the first time in the League. S & C – University stalemate. Slipway move into 4th place. PCB overcome TCB.
The big game which, again, overshadowed all the other games was the title decider. Herrenknecht and Sporting Redhouse – head to head – Sporting needed a point, while Herrenknecht had to win.
The game exploded into life within minutes as Gavin Wilson lashed in the opener. Sporting came back strongly and dominated the game for the remainder of the half and most of the second half. Stephen Wilson lashed in an equaliser from a tight angle after beating his marker and soon added a second when the Herrenknecht defence were disjointed. The second half saw almost continual domination from Sporting but a ray of hope emerged for Herrenknecht as Gavin Wilson put away a penalty to tie the score at 2-2. Herrenknecht failed to capitalise with two missed chances as Sporting added a third (from Cairns) and then a spectacular fourth to seal their League Title – which, to be honest, was theirs from the starting. Herrenknecht were given a superb opportunity to snatch the title after Durham Pine’s excellent performance in the previous week but failed to live up to expectations. The raw passion was simply not there from the front line – Sporting wanted it more and deservedly won the title in style.
Sex & Chocolate returned from their break to earn an excellent draw against the rapidly declining University. The game was evenly matched and clear cut chances were missed at both ends. University fielded a depleted team and ended the Season in a disappointing 7th position when they began in 2nd place. A rethink for both teams for Season 2, although Sex & Chocolate still have one more daunting fixture against Slipway to finish their programme, and University have a semi final against TCB to negotiate.
Slipway kept up their winning form with a 4-1 win over, again, a depleted Groundwork Murton. Slipway are almost certain to finish in third place after a final game against S & C. The performance against Groundwork was competent and skilful from the team with the best defensive record in the league. Slipway hurtled into a three goal lead as both teams played excellent football. Paul Mooney scored 2 and Billy Mooney and Melvin Keith added the others. Groundwork, like University, must have mixed feeling about their finish in 5th place when their team was, arguably, the most skilful in the League. Lack of numbers in the squad put a serious dent in their ambitions – but a regrouping for Season 2 is on the cards and they are certain to make some sort of impact.
PCB and TCB came together in their final games with PCB in the driving seat. PCB were given a short sharp lesson by Groundwork in the previous game but their performances in the second half of the season were nothing short of excellent and despite fielding two new players, they maintained their steady progress. TCB proved they were strong with solid, but sometimes lucky, with good performances against the likes of Herrenknecht, Durham Pine and Slipway. They still have a Cup semi final to look forward to against University in a game which could go either way.
11th April 2000
Slipway finish third.
Sex & Chocolate put a brave fight.
Slipway played Sex & Chocolate to complete their League programmes. Slipway won 4-0 and maintained their excellent defensive record – but were made to work for their opening goal. After that, they relaxed and began to tire out the S & C team who hardly had a shot on goal. 4-0 put Slipway into 3rd place, leapfrogging Durham Pine.
Semi Finals and Final – 11th April 2000
Sporting Redhouse, emphatic Double Winners
An 8-0 slaughter over the University
The University kicked off the opening Semi Final with a fine 2-0 win over TCB. Both teams were surprise but deserved qualifiers with TCB beating Second Placed Herrenknecht and University overcoming an in form PCB. The game was evenly balanced and looked to be heading towards penalties when University fired in 2 late goals. Ian Birkett and Paul Graham were the scorers to take the University through. It was an excellent result for the University as they had tumbled down the table in the League without a win for the last four weeks. Their win being the 3-2 Quarter Final win over PCB. Ironically their last win in the League was over TCB to the tune of 2-0.
Durham Pine were on against Sporting for the next game and appeared with the same line up. They opened the scoring and controlled the first half, but, again, were let down by the lack of a prolific scorer. Durham were extremely physical and at times the game was littered with stoppages for fouls on the Sporting players. Sporting equalised when Cairns hit a fine strike through a ruck of players just before half time.
A free-kick strike from Cairns put Sporting 2-1 ahead in the second half as they began to dominate. A hat-trick was completed for Cairns and Blakey added a fourth in a decisive win. The winners of this tie were almost certain to win the Challenge Trophy.
The final was expected to be a walkover for Sporting and it was – but with the score at 0-0 at half time and University, again, playing some excellent football – it seemed too good to be true. Sporting soon took the lead in the second half after a defensive lapse and then the University, as expected, collapsed. Goal after goal hit the net with Stephen Wilson in stunning form. 4 goals for him and assists for the remaining 4 goals put Sporting’s name on the Challenge Trophy. Cairns hit a hat-trick and Blakey added his fourth goal of the season for the final one.
A clean sweep for Sporting as they added the Leading Goalscorer Trophy for John Cairns to their existing silverware. The big challenge is for next season. With teams such as Durham, Herrenknecht and Slipway as guaranteed contenders and desperate for revenge, and the likes of Groundwork and PCB who were much improved, the road ahead looks stormy for Sporting even though they are regarded as favourites to retain the trophy. New entrants such as Royal Mail, Port of Tyne and Ferguson’s are sure to make some sort of impact with the others being more of an unknown element.