Heaton Stan A v Newcastle East End Reserves
Neville Cowey Cup – Semi Final
This weekend, Heaton Stan A prepare for their biggest match of the season, as they face Newcastle East End Reserves at Grounsell Park.
When the resumption of football was given the green light, the Northern Alliance made the decision to run a series of divisional League Cups during April/May for their Clubs. The 3rd Division Cup is the Neville Cowey Cup. The initial group stage saw the 3rd Division split into two groups:
- Heaton Stan A
- Cullercoats Reserves
- Morpeth FC
- AFC Newbiggin Central
- North Sunderland
- Newcastle Chemfica Amateurs
- Blyth Town U23s
- Newcastle East End Reserves
- Red House Farm
- Blaydon Community
- Whitley Bay Sporting Club A
- Gosforth Bohemians Reserves
- Morpeth Town Reserves
With most of the leagues top half teams in the Stan’s group, we knew we would be tested in every match. The top two of each group would progress to a Semi Final stage – so it was going to be all to play for right through to the final week.
Heaton Stan A’s route to the Semi Final
The Stan kicked off the tournament on 10th April with a short away trip across High Heaton to Benton to face Newcastle Chemfica Amateurs. It was a slow first half, but the Stan went into half time with a 0-1 lead thanks to a Harper tap in after some good work by Munir. The Stan went on to have several other chances and will have felt unhappy with only a one goal lead at the break. They came out of the traps in the second half, with Kye Jones doubling the Stan’s lead on 48 mins. The Stan made sure of the points when we scored two goals in three minutes – Walker scoring the third and Harper wrapping up the fourth on 72 mins. The clean sheet wasn’t to be, as the Stan gave away a sloppy penalty on 80 mins which Chemfica put away. Stan worth winners of the opener. Read the match report.
Just 4 days later, we travelled up to Newbiggin to face AFC Newbiggin Central – a relative newcomer to the Alliance but one with good plans for progression. They play on Newbiggin Welfare on and on Weds 14th April when we visited, it wasn’t in the best condition. A dry and bobbly pitch, complete with tractor marks, would add to the test. Additionally, the gaffer was absent from this game as his newborn had arrived that very morning. Stan first teamers Dean Deagle and Kevin Carr took the reigns for the game. The Stan took the momentum from Saturday into this game and were ahead after 4 mins when Harper slotted in an easy one. It actually could have been two by that point after a good effort was cleared off the Newbiggin line in the first minute. Despite a number of good chances it was just a 0-1 lead at HT for the Stan. After a cautious start to the second half, Deagle and Carr conferred and decided to test their tactical prowess by making some changes on 60 mins. This done the trick and the Stan romped to a 0-4 win with further goals from Walker, Westphal and Harris. Another solid three points and a suggestion that manager Russell Ward should keep an eye on interim management duo Deagle and Carr. Read the match report.
No let up for the lads, as they hosted North Sunderland at home on 17th April. North Sunderland is a village near to Seahouses in Northumberland … so despite some excitement at a Tyne-Wear derby, it was not to be such a match up. North Sunderland are a well organised and experienced group and would be the toughest test yet in this Cup. The Stan were the team on top for most of the first half but the away teams resilience was there to see and half time arrived goalless. In fact, it took until 72 mins before the Stan’s pressure paid off when captain Harry Poole was brought down in the box and James Harper converted the penalty comfortably. On 85 mins, the Stan wrapped up the points in dramatic circumstances. Westphal played in Munir with a great ball and the advancing keeper handled the ball just outside the box. A booking and free kick to the Stan didn’t seem like justice until Harry Poole stepped up and superbly scored the free kick to put us 2-0 up. Full time and three wins from three for Ward’s young side. Read the match report.
Four days later and another home game – this time we welcomed a youthful Blyth Town U23s to Grounsell Park on 21st April. Manager Russell Ward was unavailable as baby duties took precedence. Deagle and Carr once again took the reigns, looking to maintain their 100% record in charge of the side. It was a horror start, as the Stan conceded on 19 mins and then again via the penalty spot on 26 mins. 0-2 down at home in just 26 minutes was not what Deagle and Carr had in mind. Their reputations lay on the line! Fortunately the lads reacted and on 32 mins Poole got us back into the game with a goal. 1-2. Crucially, the Stan got the equaliser on 43 mins from Munir … which turned the game on its head in the second half. Blyth looked like they had ran out of steam. Stan scored three second half goals coming from Harper, Bruce and Jones. Full time 5-2 and four wins out of four. Read the match report.
Saturday 24th April saw us take a trip to the coast to face Cullercoats Reserves. Our trip there earlier in the season had ended in defeat, so it was not going to be an easy one. We needed just a point to secure a semi final spot and a win to assure a first place finish. It was a tightly contested match with little between the sides. Both teams wasting some chances but looking like it was heading for a fair 0-0. Deep into added time and Cullercoats won a free kick outside the Stan box. On 94 mins, the free kick is taken, cleared by the Stan but the follow up shot from the home side beat the keeper at the near post. 1-0 to Cullercoats, a goal which gave them hope going into the last match that they could qualify. Disappointment and frustration for the Stan. We would have to do the business against second place Morpeth on Wednesday now. No pressure! Read the match report.
The final group game on Weds 28th April saw the Stan face second place Morpeth FC at Grounsell Park. You could argue this was a face off of the two best teams in the 3rd division last season. Winner takes all. Games like this is what football is all about. It was an evenly contested opening 20 mins until the Stan took the lead through Bruce, who headed home from a Poole free kick. That was the only difference at half time. The Stan took control in the second half and went on a scoring rampage – Westphal (50 mins), Harper (56 mins), Westphal (59 mins) and Morpeth were finished within a devastating 9 minute spell. The Stan wrapped up the win with a Walker goal on 75 mins. An emphatic win secured the top spot in the group and a semi final against Newcastle East End Reserves (who finished in 2nd spot in their group). Read the match report.
Newcastle East End Reserves’ route to the Semi Final
East End Reserves have earned their spot in the Semi Finals after finishing in 2nd spot in Group 2, behind group winners Red House Farm. Group 2 had one less team with Gosforth Bohs Reserves, Whitley Bay Sporting Club A, Blaydon Community (formally Swalwell) and Morpeth Town Reserves making up the teams.
East End Reserves finished their group stage with 3 wins and 1 draw from 5 matches and 1 defeat against group winners Red House Farm. A run down of their scores is as follows:
- 7th April: Blaydon Community 0-3 East End Reserves
- 14th April: East End Reserves 2-3 Red House Farm
- 17th April: Whitley Bay Sporting Club A 1-1 East End Reserves
- 21st April: East End Reserves 3-1 Gosforth Bohs Reserves
- 24th April: Morpeth Town Reserves 0-1 East End Reserves
A visit to Grounsell Park will not be anything new for East End Reserves manager, Dan Quine, who used to play for the Stan. Dan was in the 2015/16 squad and made 5 league appearances for the Stan plus an appearance in the FA Vase 1QR match away to Eccleshill in Sept 2015.
Final Group stage standings
The final standings in the 3rd Division groups were as follows:
This meant that the Semi Finals would be:
- Heaton Stan A v Newcastle East End Reserves; and
- Red House Farm v Cullercoats Reserves
Both of these fixtures will be played out this Saturday, from 2pm. If scores are level at full time, they will go straight to a penalty shoot out.
The final will be played between the two winners on Saturday 8th May at a neutral ground.
Social Media coverage this weekend
The Stan are a welcoming club and we strongly support diversity and inclusion at all levels. We will therefore be supporting the nationwide #TakeAStand campaign this weekend with a social media blackout from 3pm on Friday 30th April through to 23:59 on Monday 3rd May.
Unfortunately this means there will be no coverage of the Semi Final on our social media outlets. Therefore, everyone associated with the Stan would like to wish Russ & the Heaton Stan A lads all the very best for the game – we are all very proud of the progress made and are behind you all the way.