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District Team 2020-21

                                                                  District Team 2020-21


Due to the Covid pandemic, no football has been played this season until April when the Danone 9 a Side competition was introduced. In previous years, this has been a 7 a side competition where, first of all, a county winner was found then four regional finals were played, leading up to a national final to determine who were national champions. The format this season had to be altered as, in the 7 a side competition, a number of teams played at a venue which, because of the large numbers involved, was not allowed under Covid rules. Instead, a 9 a side competition was introduced where two teams played each other with the winner progressing to the next round. There are five rounds up to the national final. First round matches are arranged locally where possible.

Four district teams in the North East of England entered the competition - Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Stockton and Sunderland. In the first round, Chester-le-Street were drawn against Stockton and Darlington played at home against Sunderland. Both matches were played on Saturday April 17th

Results:    Stockton 3  Chester-le-Street 4                           Darlington 3  Sunderland 2

In the 2nd round, Chester-le-Street play at home against Darlington on Saturday May 8th


                     Chester-le-Street District Team

                             Season 2020-21

Kieran Woods (Cestria)

Luis Cole  (Cestria)

Charlie Greenwood (St Josephs)

Oliver Jackson (St Margarets)

Finlay Gray (Portobello) 

Joseph Crowther (Red Rose)

Finlay Kennedy (Cestria))

Pearce Tait (Cestria)

Harry Armstrong (Belmont)

Liam Bell (Roseberry)

Leon Renwick (Witton Gilbert)

Mason Ellison (Newker)

                                                                  Wallsend 3  Chester-le-Street 6


The first friendly of the season provided a good test against Wallsend district team. The match was played on a large, all-weather surface on a beautiful Autumn morning - conditions couldn't have been better. Chester-le-Street were on the offensive from kick off and they looked threatening throughout the first half. It was no surprise when Chester-le-Street took the lead when Pearce Tait finished, following an excellent move. Further goals from Toby Bell, one a penalty, added to the lead although Wallsend pulled a goal back before half time. Changes were made throughout the game but there is no doubt that we have a team which is strong and contains players who are quick and hard to handle. Joe Collier added two further second half goals and Cole Robson scored from close in. 6-3 is a typically 'beginning of season' score although goalkeeper, Harry Armstrong, can count himself unlucky to concede due to the exaggerated bounce of the ball on the all-weather surface.

There was enough in this performance to suggest that this team can emulate the outstanding achievement of last season's team. There is plenty of pace in the team, they work hard for each other, even at this early stage, and seem to be quite strong in defence, midfield and attack - only time will tell!

Next match: Derwent & Medomsley Knockout Cup - 1st Round v South Northumberland on November 23rd

Although choosing a squad was done 'in a hurry', we managed to squeeze one friendly match in against Sunderland district team. This was played at Sunderland Academy of Light. We were pleased with the performance of the team against a strong Sunderland team who had managed to fit in four friendly matches. Bringing together players from nine schools in our association is no easy matter but, as the game wore on, it was noticeable that we grew in stature and we were good value for the 1-1 draw. 

Sunderland opened the scoring with a shot which was deflected in by one of our defenders but we equalised shortly afterwards when Finlay Gray fastened on to a through ball to calmly lob the ball over the Sunderland goalkeeper


                                         ESFA Danone National 9 a Side - Stockton 3  Chester-le-Street 4 

The first round match v Stockton was played at Norton Sports Centre on a superb playing surface. We knew that this was going to be a difficult game and that was how it turned out. Stockton were good value for a 3-1 first half lead. The home team took the lead before being pegged back with a well taken goal from Pearce Tait and two well-taken goals left us with a two goal deficit at half team.


However, positional changes enabled us to get a foothold in the game and, as the second half wore on, we grew in stature and the goals began to flow. Finlay Gray added two more goals to one he scored against Sunderland and Oliver Jackson completed the scoring. The final whistle came amid much excitement from the boys, parents and staff. This had been a great advert for schools football where both teams gave their all on a hot, sunny morning. 

It was great to be out once more on a Saturday morning, watching a high standard of schools football, played in the right manner. Many thanks go to Stockton for providing such a good venue and we wish them well for the remainder of the season. For us, we move on to the next round against our good friends, Darlington, who, we know, will be tough opponents. They always are!

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                                         ESFA Danone National 9 a Side 2nd Round - Chester-le-Street 4  Darlington 0

The second round of the Danone 9 a side competition was played at Roseberry Community Playing Fields in difficult conditions due to heavy rain. Our thanks go to Hilda Park Football club for allowing us to use their field - it is much appreciated

A 4-0 victory against Darlington was an impressive result for we know from past years that they always provide stiff opposition. However, our boys were on top most of the game and ran out convincing winners. Strong performances from everyone in the team gives us hope that we might do well in this competition although we are certainly not getting carried away - past experiences should tell us that you should never look too far ahead

52 district teams throughout the country entered this competition, stretching from teams in County Durham to teams such as Brighton, Plymouth and Southampton. We are now down to the last 16, where we play the winners of Hambleton & Richmond (who defeated Barnsley in round 1) or Liverpool (who defeated Sheffield) at home on May 22nd.

Best of luck to the team as they attempt to progress in the competition.

     Danone 9 a Side - Chester-le-Street 1  Liverpool 7


Despite knowing that playing Liverpool would be a difficult match, we did think that we would give them a close game it didn't turn out that way. Playing a team full of full academy players was a step too far and we never looked likely to win. Despite Finlay Gray scoring shortly after half team to make it 3-1, Liverpool continued to dominate and ran out easy winners in the end

However, credit goes to our team for keeping going to the end and they they can be proud of the fact that they were the most successful north east district team in reaching the last 16 of a national competition

The final competition is the Richard Jordan Memorial trophy on Saturday June 12th

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