Wallington v Percy Main Amateurs
He’s a top man, is Ken Beattie.
The Morpeth Town chairman and sponsor of the NFA Techflow Marine Senior Cup helped out FSOA Benevolent Bowl holders Wallington with a loan of the Highwaymen’s Craik Park pitch and facilities for their 3-0 win over Whitley Bay Reserves in round one.
Ken played in the successful Greens side of the late 1970s and was the scorer for Morpeth Town in the 1983 Benevolent Bowl final when they went down 3-1 to Dudley Welfare at Appleby Park.
Ken was on target again in the 1986 final with Morpeth lifting the silverware this time as they defeated West Allotment Celtic 4-1.
The last time I saw him he was handing out songsheets among the crowd when Town were unlucky to go out of the FA Trophy 3-2 at York City last season.
He is, in short, a huge credit to the game in the county and a real football personality.
“Wallington would like to extend a big thank you to Ken. Our fixture had already been postponed twice and was heading for a third wash-out until Ken kindly allowed us to use Craik Park,” said Greens gaffer Trevor Baston.
“This is obviously a competition that we won last season and we’re determined to defend that trophy this time around,” continued Trevor, who also played when Wallington lifted the Bowl in 2015.
“We’re really happy to have been drawn at home but know that it’ll be a difficult game against Percy Main who are having an excellent season and have some good players. Gavin Hattrick has done a really good job in turning around their fortunes and we’ll have to be at our best to progress.”
“We’ve not had much luck with injuries this season so I’m hoping the Christmas break will do us the world of good and we can kick on again in January. The aim is a top 4 finish and another trophy, and the group of players we have here are more than capable of delivering that.”
Percy Main’s trip up to the picturesque Scot’s Gap probably wouldn’t have been their first choice of tie, but it comes with no surprises as the Alliance Premier League sides have enjoyed some good meetings over the years.
“Percy Main Amateurs, three-times winners of the competition in 1978, 2004 and 2011, have barely made it past the first round in recent times, but ground out a hard fought 3-1 win at Killingworth at the first stage of this season’s competition thanks to goals from Jay Errington and Alfie Livermore (2),” said secretary Norman de Bruin.
“A tough game is expected as we travel to Oakford Park in the next round - Wallington have ran up convincing wins during our last two meetings away from Purvis Park, but a 4-1 home win over the Greens at the end of October has given Gavin Hattrick’s men some confidence of progressing to the semi-final stage.”
The Villagers were also NFA Benevolent Bowl finalists in 2003 and 2009.
Haltwhistle Jubilee v Newcastle Blue Star
The meteoric rise of Haltwhistle Jubilee from the Hexham Sunday League to the Northern Alliance Premier is one of local football’s amazing success stories.
The Jubes’ beat AFC Newbiggin 3-2 at The Burn in round one and manager Stephen Bowman says that they are looking forward to the challenge posed by facing Blue Star.
“Already this season we have gone to their place and given a good account,” he said.
“We're optimistic we can do the same in the cup tie back on home soil - there's always a buzz around the Burn when Blue Star are the visitors. We had to play well to get past AFC Newbiggin in the previous round and we need to reproduce that same form for the quarter final.”
Meanwhile these are exciting times in the West End of Newcastle.
Blue Star are attracting large crowds to their Scotswood ground as the club, who were reformed in 2018, bid to make their way back up the football pyramid.
Blue Star were NFA Senior Cup winners in 1982/83, 83/84, 85/86, 87/88 and 92/93. They took the silverware in the NFA Minor Cup in 1964/65 and are, of course, famed for lifting the FA Vase at Wembley back in 1978.
They’ll be keen to try and add the FSOA Benevolent Bowl to their honours list and advanced 4-3 on penalties following a goalless draw with last season’s Bowl finalists Alnwick Town, but secretary John Graham is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the tie ahead.
“In the first round of ‘The Bowl’ it took a hard fight to overcome a very good Alnwick Town team - they battled with us all the way and we eventually won it on penalties and our reward for that is we now face a tough trip up to Haltwhistle Jubilee, who have made us worked hard to win points off them on two occasions this season, so if we are to progress in this great cup competition it's not going to be an easy ride but it's one we relish as we try to maintain our positive start to the season,” said John.
“Winning games breeds confidence and we strive to win every game we play and so this next round will be no different.”
Burradon & New Fordley v Bedlington
AFC New Fordley became members of the Northern Alliance in 2011 and the club merged with Burradon in 2020.
They were 2-0 winners away at Ponteland United in round one and are hot on the heels of Newcastle Blue Star at the top of the Northern Alliance Premier Division.
Manager Dave Malone’s team will be keen to progress as they look to turn their fantastic start to the season into some silverware.
They will have been disappointed to go out of the Alliance Challenge Cup 2-1 at home to Seaton Delaval but still maintain a keen interest in the George Dobbins League Cup as well as having County trophy aspirations.
Secretary Paddy Donoghue said: “We had a hard-fought win at Ponteland with our top goalscorer Lee Waugh getting both goals.”
“We played a 2-2 draw with Bedlington in pre-season so we know this tie will not be easy. Our form, disrupted by the weather, has not been good so we are hoping for another solid performance that gets us through to the next round.”
Alliance First Division Bedlington won 4-3 on penalties after drawing 0-0 at Cramlington United and face another tough trip to the high-flyers as they look to book a spot in the semis.
Manager/Secretary Karl Porter knows just how difficult it will be visiting the Welfare as underdogs, though with youth on their side Bedlington can approach the game without any pressure – and with the magic of the Cup, you just never know what might happen.
“It’s a huge task we have going up against a very strong Burradon side, but our very young squad will give it a very good go,” he said.
“They have some very experienced players and it will be great experience for our young lads.”
Seaton Delaval AFC v Newcastle Independent
The Red Devils have some pedigree in the competition and lifted the Bowl in 1990, 1998 and 2006 and were finalists in 2005 and 2011.
The Amateurs epithet in both theirs (now dropped) and Percy Main’s names are a hangover from the days pre-1974 when the FA abolished the distinction between strictly amateur and professional players, and both sides enjoyed some success in the old NFA Amateur Cup, which was replaced by the Bowl competition.
Delaval lifted that trophy in 50/51, 51/52 and were runners-up in 52/53 while the Main were winners in 67/68, 69/70, 70/71 and finalists in 64/65 and 73/74.
“We had a comfortable 4-1 win against first Division team North Shields Athletic FC in the first round but face a much stiffer test against Newcastle Independent FC in the Quarter Finals,” said Delaval secretary David Holmes.
“They are strong, skillful team with some good players; however, we beat them 6-1 away in the league earlier in the season so we are confident of putting on a good show against them in this game.”
“We have a full squad available for the game including prolific goal scorer Liam Laidler who has scored 13 goals in 7 games since joining Seaton Delaval.”
While Delaval are a club with a long and illustrious history, Newcastle Independent are another side that have had an immediate impact in Northumberland football.
The Goat were NFA Stelrad Minor Cup winners in 2020/21 and Alliance First Division champions the following season.
They won 2-1 at Chemfica in round one and are also challenging at the top of the Northern Alliance Premier Division.
Independent were 4-1 winners at Wheatridge Park in the League early in the season, but crashed to that 6-1 defeat in the reverse fixture so there could be plenty of goalmouth action in this one.
“Having won the Stelrad Minor Cup two years ago we know how prestigious the County Cup competitions are and with this being our debut year in this particular cup we are keen to go as far as we can,” said Independent secretary Daniel Webster.
“Our previous round game was a tough competitive fixture only settled by a last-minute winner against Chemfica and we are under no illusions to the task in the next round against a rejuvenated Seaton Deleval side who have already beaten us in the league.”