A clean sheet no less, ending a little run of low scoring games. A very good and welcome change that, after the previous few weeks of multi goal extravaganzas. And very well deserved.
A fullish squad, excellent team defending from start to finish, with good shape, as the coaches say, and everybody working hard from front to back. West Auckland are a very good side and, on the evidence of last weeks games, and despite the results, probably a little bit better than Consett. I thought we were the better side throughout against Consett, while at West we needed to dig in and defend for some considerable spells. Not that our new keeper had many saves to make. A couple, and some excellent catching and punching, but credit to the lads in front of him who protected him well. Overall we had the better of the chances, could have scored at least another, but had to settle for Mark Davison’s superb volley to finish off a lovely move from box to box.
Anyway, into the top half of the table, though the hard work starts now to stay there. Never want to be looking downover rather than up. Still, decent progress being made. More than a little bit annoying though to think what might have been with a little better run of the ball, and that's not allowing for our injuries, which have been continuous. Thornaby the other week, Redcar Athletic a few days before that, and Crook and Penrith a bit earlier. All games we could have won, and a couple we should have won.
Anyway, what's behind me doesn’t concern me, as Italian drivers believe. And as things stand, by Christmas we will have played twenty six games and the league season will be more than two thirds done.
Hopefully a good few County and League Cup wins should help to keep us going into Spring, but what we do this month and next will count a lot in the league. So keeping our form improving is vital, and hopefully we can do just that.
Meanwhile the question of form looms large over at the SoL. Eight goals conceded in a few days? Nobody can cope with that. Are Sunderland’s young lads being found out? Is it just a blip? I’m relying on the telly but they look like poor goals conceded as well. Mr Johnson better find out and put it right sharp, otherwise his career might be on a permanent downward trend. I wish him well..
Back with the Northern League and things look competitive at both ends of the First Division and, apart from Heaton Stannington who are soaring, at the top of the Second Division. At the very bottom though is a sad story. Durham City look cast adrift and unless something happens very soon, bound for relegation. Before the crash of 2008/9 and to be fair for a few years after they were flying and aiming to go through the leagues, one of the first clubs from the Northern League to do so in recent times. They made it to the Northern Premier League Premier Division before the wheels came off, and they started to slide back down, and it looks like that hasn’t finished yet. It's a shame, because some great people have worked tirelessly to keep them afloat over the past few years, and I wish them all the luck in the world. But it's maybe a cautionary tale for others.
Take it very careful is my advice, one slow step at a time…