The first weekend of the season kicked off yesterday, and some shock results sprung up from the 21 fixtures that took place. A total of 74 goals went in, with three games producing 7 goals, the biggest margin of victory going to Jarrow roofing in their victory over Darlington RA.
The biggest shock of the day arguably came at Dunston UTS, where the Unibond League hopefuls suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Norton & Stockton Ancients. The other two First Division new boys; Esh Winning and Horden, both suffered defeats. Esh went down 0-2 at home to Ryton, and Horden were beaten 3-1 at Bedlington Terriers.
Elsewhere in Division One, reigning champions Newcastle Benfield scraped to a 1-0 against Ashington, the Battle of the Wests was won by Allotment 2-0 (against Auckland if you didn't guess!), and last season's FA Vase Winner's Whitley Bay won 1-0 against Consett. Morpeth were the victims of a 5-0 drubbing against Penrith, at the Cumbrian's new base at Frenchfields, and a tense game at what is officially the coldest ground in the Northern League, resulted in a 4-3 win for Tow Law against money-bags Spennymoor. Bishop Auckland started the season on a bad note, losing at Billingham Town 2-1, South Shields bagged the points in a 1-0 over Chester-le-Street, whereas at Shildon the spoils were shared as they drew 2-2 with Billingham Synthonia.
Division Two saw two Step 6 newboys in action, but with completely different outcomes. Gillford Park's start to Northern League life was not one to remember as they received a hammering from promotion-chasing Sunderland RCA, whereas Newton Aycliffe seemed to have completely forgotten about losing out on the double last season, as they overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Hebburn 3-2 (Full report below).
The stand out fixture in Division Two was played at King George V Playing Fields, where Guisborough and Marske battled it out. Guisborough went into the break 1-0 to the good, but by the time the full-time whistle blew, it was Marske who came away with the spoils, securing a 2-1 victory. Relegated Northallerton Town drew 2-2 with Brandon, as did Washington and North Shields. Team Northumbria had a long drive to play against Whitehaven; beginning their second season in the Northern League, and it was the West Cumbrians who walked away victorious as they won 3-0. Thornaby lost against Crook Town at home to continue on from last seasons dismal display, whereas Seaham began life in Division 2 with a 2-0 win over Whickham.
And finally, I wouldn't have wanted to venture down to Stokesley last night after their 3-1 win over Birtley. I bet the Stokesley Gaffer wasn't half pleased!
The featured midweek fixture comes from Guisborough as they entertain Gillford Park on Wednesday night.