A couple of wins since the last time we spoke, which is good. Evidently the game against Washington through at Durham, if you follow me, was a bit of a stroll against a game but struggling Washy team. Steve Callen filled his boots to the tune of four; he looks a bit of a shoo-in for leading goalscorer this season if current form continues, although Sparky and Nathan may have other views on this, and young Dylan, ensconsed as penalty taker at the moment may be the dark horse. Dunston on the other hand was a tough match against a very good side who started particuarly well. We worked our way into it though, helped by a bit of a worldy from new boy Josh Gray, who seems to be finding his feet, and now the shooting boots to fit them. Pagey worked hard for Dunston but couldn’t find them a way back, so it's RCA who have the pleasure of a trip to the Brewery Field to see how wide the gap is, or not, between the National League North and the Northern League First. No doubt Spenny may well give a few squad players a game, it's unlikely that the DFA Challenge Cup is high on their priorities this season, but it may be their best chance of a trophy. If they can get past us of course, a task which they should not underestimate. I think Spenny could well be reaching the limits of their current realistic ambition. A fair number of the National League North teams are full time I understand, and that is a whole new kettle of fish, in financial, fitness and professionalism terms. Don’t get me wrong, Jay Ainsley and Brad Groves, and the rest of the team behind the team at Spennymoor have worked wonders, and I take my hat off to them without reservation, but standing still now be their greatest achievement. Good luck to them anyway.
South Shields is however a different matter. I see absolutely no reason why the Mariners can’t make it to the Football League over the next few years. They may not have the multi millionaire footballers that have propelled Salford, but in every other respect they are miles ahead of them. Their gates are fantastic, as good as many and better than some in what we used to rightly call the fourth division now, and no doubt they could grow them a whole lot more. The potential for another Tyne and Wear Football League club is clear. And South Tyneside is a big catchment area. Sunderland better get their skates on if they want to avoid a difficult derby..
Mr Parkinson got his reign, at home at least, off to a good start, putting five past Tranmere, though I think Mr Ross maybe cursing his luck that Watmore returns just as he gets the old tin tack. Many a mixed opinion on Watmore, particularly among the SoL faithful who yearn for the silky football of their imagination, certainly not memory, but for me at this level he is like having a Messi, too sharp by half for these defenders. Don’t worry about the first touch, just watch the havoc he causes. Every time.