Chester le Street Schools' District Team
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this season, so far, has been a non-event and, at one stage, it looked as though no football would be played at all. However, ESFA are keen to complete the Danone Sponsored National Competition for district teams. This is a competition which has been been run for many years and one in which Chester-le-Street have been very successful
In previous years, the format has been 7 a side with each county nominating a team to represent them in the regional competition. This involved ten teams meeting in one venue but, of course, large groups are not allowed to meet
Consequently, this season, it is an open 9 a side competition where two teams play each other and the winner progresses to the next round
The dates of the rounds are:
1st Round April 24th
2nd Round May 8th
3rd Round May 22nd
4th Round June 5th
Final June 19th
Our first round match is away v Stockton
Chester-le-Street District Team
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)
Owing to a late start to the season as a result of Covid, we were only able to fit in one friendly match against Sunderland before our first round match in the Danone 9 a side
A hard fought match played at the Academy of Light resulted in a 1-1 draw, which was probably a good reflection on how the game had progressed
Sunderland started the better, probably owing to the fact they had played four friendlies but we grew into the match and finished the stronger team
At this stage, it is very much a case of fitting the boys into positions which suits the team. What normally happens is that the boys who are chosen mostly play in midfield or up front for their schools and clubs but, of course, we do require defenders!
However, this friendly was good preparation for the national competition which we were pleased to be taking part in. At one stage, it looked as though there wouldn't be any football at all this season.
ESFA Danone 9 a Side First Round
Stockton 3 Chester-le-Street 4
What a great match to begin the competition! From losing 1-3 at half time to winning 4-3 was a fine achievement.
There is no doubt that Stockton were the better team in the first half but a stirring fightback in the second half resulted in us scoring a further three goals without reply
Great credit must go to all the boys for their determination to win this match which will live in the memory for a long time. There was great excitement when the final whistle blew!
Let us hope that we can take this attitude into the second round match at home against Darlington on Saturday May 8th
ESFA Danone 9 a Side Second Round
Chester-le-Street 4 Darlington 0
The second round of the Danone competition paired us with our old friends and adversaries over many years, Darlington, who had defeated Sunderland 3-2 in the first round. The match, played in difficult conditions of winds and rain at Roseberry Community football pitches, provided a difficult test as we knew that Darlington teams have always been hard to beat
Both teams started well but, as the first half progressed, we started to gain the upper hand and we opened the scoring when Pearce Tait scored from close range by reacting quickly to a loose ball in the penalty area. A second goal followed quickly when Finlay Gray rose above the Darlington defence to score with a fine header. We continued to attack but Darlington were also dangerous in their more sporadic breaks and goalkeeper, Harry Armstrong was at full stretch to keep out an effort on goal. Although the wind was quite strong, it didn't really help either side and, as half time arrived, we felt that we were good value for a two goal lead.
There was little change in the second half where we continued to press and further headed goals followed from Finlay Gray and Joseph Crowther. It is a rare event where almost all the goals scored were from headers. Although we applied heavy pressure on the Darlington goal, no more goals were scored and we ran out comfortable four goal winners
This is third game of the season and we have got to say that we are most impressed with the ability and attitude of the boys. District football has been played to a high standard over many years since the 1950's and, although there aren't as many district teams playing as there were in the 'old' days, it is important to keep up the tradition. Our staff can go back many years and we were all in agreement that today's performance was up there with the best of any we have seen and that says something! We are certainly not going to get carried away as football often has a habit of 'kicking you in the teeth'.
However, looking at the team, there is an attitude to them which suggests that they want to do well. The cold, wet weather didn't seem to bother them one bit. The team has pace and strength and no little skill. Goalkeeper, Harry Armstrong, is a safe pair of hands and distributes the ball well. Defensively, we look to be strong and there were good performances from Mason Ellison, Luis Cole and Leon Renwick. They really didn't give Darlington many chances to score.
Centre midfield was where the game was won with Charlie Greenwood and Kieran Woods dominating the game where they were well supported by Oliver Jackson, Liam Bell and Finlay Kennedy, who worked their socks off in the wide positions. Up front, Finlay Gray, Pearce Tait and Joseph Crowther were a constant danger to the Darlington defence, which had great difficulty containing them.
Well done and, hopefully, we can build on this promising start!
oa ESFA Danone 9 a Side Third Round
Chester-le-Street 1 Liverpool 7
Following two victories against north east opposition, the national competition has now progressed to the last 16 where we faced Liverpool. Over the years, we have faced Liverpool a number of times and have had success against them but, this season, we were really up against it. This Liverpool team was fully made up of full academy players from Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City.
It was obvious from the kick off that we were struggling to combat their attacking play and, by half time, they had raced into a 3 goal lead. Our only chance was to score a quick goal in the second half which often changes a game and this we did when Finlay Gray continued his goalscoring form by finishing well from a rare attack. However, the pattern of the game didn't change and another Liverpool goal was a severe blow and Liverpool eventually ran out 7-1 winners
After heartening displays in the first two rounds, this wasn't what we had anticipated but credit must be given to Liverpool, who played outstandingly well and will surely be favourites to win the national competition
Well done to our boys who kept going to the end. We have been delighted by their performances in the first two round of the competition and that is what we will remember from this season
The final competition is the Richard Jordan Memorial Trophy, which is a 9 a side competition played at Darlington Education Village on Saturday June 12th
Jordan Memorial Trophy
The only Co Durham trophy on offer this season due to Covid restrictions was played at Darlington Education Village. This competition is usually played at the beginning of the season but, as this was impossible, the decision was made that it provide a fitting end to what has been a short season
The only four district playing football this season came together on a hot, sunny morning and the performances of the teams certainly matched the weather.
Chester-le-Street's first game against a very good Stockton team followed the same pattern as the game in the Danone national trophy. Stockton took the lead early in the game but, as the in the first game, we gradually came into the game and goals from Finlay Gray and Joseph Crowther saw us through to fine victory
The second game against Darlington was a close affair but we were disappointed that we weren't able to score the goal our play deserved. Only an excellent save from the Darlington goalkeeper prevented Mason Ellison from scoring what would definitely have been the winner
The final game against Sunderland was exciting. Again, we went behind, almost from kick off but equalised shortly afterwards. Sunderland took the lead again only for us to peg them back once more. Again, Sunderland took the lead but, again, we managed to equalise and that is how the game ended. A draw was a fair result but wasn't sufficient to win the trophy and, following their defeat against us, two wins from Stockton was enough to see them through
Stockton 6 points
Chester-le-Street 5 points
Sunderland 4 points
Darlington 1 point
An excellent morning's football was enjoyed by all. From our point of view, we were pleased once again with the performance of the team, which contained three under 10's