Excitement is building ahead of the first round of the Techflow Marine Senior Cup with Bedlington Terriers and Alnwick Town kicking off Northumberland FA’s flagship competition at Welfare Park this evening.
Alnwick are the lowest ranked team in the Senior Cup and will be relishing their chance to play opposition from the division above again after their relegation from the Northern League.
Their hosts, Bedlington Terriers, have not won the competition since 2004 and were knocked out by Blyth Spartans at the quarter-final stage last term.
Despite being the superior side on paper, the Terriers’ have conceded 34 goals already in the league this season – a statistic that will please ‘Wick top scorer Brad McClelland who has scored 8 league goals so far this campaign.
The Terriers currently sit mid-table in the Northern League Division Two, whilst Alnwick reside in 6th position in the Alliance Premier. The two sides kick off at 7:45pm this evening with the winner playing West Allotment Celtic or Ashington away in the next round.
Tomorrow, Ashington travel to West Allotment Celtic and Heaton Stannington host four-time FA Vase winners Whitley Bay at Grounsell Park for their first round ties.
Division One club Ashington will be firm favourites at Druid Park, being that West Allotment play in the division below. However, the Celtic have a trick up their sleeve in the form of 10-goal man Michael Baxter - who has been firing on all cylinders and will pose a big threat to the Colliers’ defence tomorrow night.
Elsewhere, Evostik Northern Premier side Morpeth Town await the winners of Heaton Stannington and Whitley Bay, who both challenge for a quarter-final spot after being knocked out at the first attempt last season.
Whitley Bay are without star striker Jack Foalle, who left the club last week, but can lean on Luke Salmon Peter Glenn-Ravenhill who have both been prolific in the early stages of the season.
With eleven clubs competing in the competition, teams will only have to win 3 games to reach the final - held at Newcastle United’s 52,000 capacity St James’ Park – a one-time opportunity for many players in the region.
To view both the first round and quarter final draws click here.