Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Shildon 1 Norton United 2

FA Cup, fourth qualifying round replay
Attendance: 936

My FA Cup overfloweth. I witnessed one of the upsets of the fourth qualifying round at Warrington on Saturday and tonight ventured to darkest, deepest Durham for the replay between the two lowest ranked sides still in the competition. Shildon was seeking to become the first Northern League club to reach the first round since 2003 (when it was they who made it) while Norton (a village within Stoke-on-Trent) has never been beyond the first qualifying round.

Dean Street is a proper football ground through and through. It is embedded in its community both in terms of its feel and location, tightly hemmed in and overlooked by narrow streets of terraced houses and the sense of enclosure all the greater after dark. Residents watched from bedroom windows as did a boy up a tree. The bonhomie of the queue for the turnstile was replaced by a hushed intensity from the crowd inside. In keeping for a match between step 4 and 5 sides calls on the pitch matched the volume of the occasional cheers and jeers off it and all were heard against the continual drone of the generator for the burger van.

Norton took the lead against the run of play when a Shildon defender slipped on the dewy grass on the edge of his box and Cropper swooped to swiftly fire home. The visitors upped their game thereafter and then extended their lead on 53 minutes when Diskin lashed a loose ball into the top corner. Another fortuitous if well taken goal. Shildon battled well, maintaining a very brisk pace, and got one back with a drive by Connor from the edge of the area (above) but they then missed three or four good chances which ultimately cost them the match.

It was an exciting game for the neutrals and away fans not that there was many of either group. The final whistle was greeted by silence apart from a manic roar from the blur of Norton bibs in the centre circle. The Shildon lads collapsed to their knees and hung their heads. They know the feeling. They lost an FA Vase quarter-final here in 2010 then a semi-final to a goal six minutes from the end of extra time in March last year. A desperate hat-trick to be sure – and no home first round derby against Gateshead. Next up for me: Blyth/Alty.

Further reading: For a more comprehensive description and daylight pics of the ground see my previous blog post from Shildon. The action pics in this post are by Thomas Clegg. His full set is here.
 
Fixtures and fittings: Shildon’s distinctive main stand was built in 1923 and Alex Ferguson switched on the floodlights prior to a friendly against Man United in 1987. The ground has many ornate, domestic banisters and balustrades because the president is part of a family staircase business.

Caught (out) on film: As I watched the first round draw on Monday night I was reminded how the competition is approaching the point where it loses its innocence. The programme included often blurry, amateur footage of fourth qualifying round matches lifted from YouTube. No chance of that now particularly for Warrington who’s tie with Exeter has been selected as the live match on BBC2. The cameraman at Warrington v. North Ferriby (shooting on his phone from the look of it) missed the Wire’s historic winner and the club has put out a plea on Twitter to anyone who may have captured it. In this internet age when we can see everything without going anywhere I rather like the quaint, exclusive notion of an incident that was seen only by those who were there. Erik Lamela’s (frankly not that exciting) ramona goal for Tottenham last week has been seen over five million times, the Warrington strike just 691 times. Talking of blurry footage from YouTube below is my humble attempt to capture the mood of the match.
 

1 comment:

Norton Contact Number UK said...

Hey i remembered these day when shildon won the world cup title in Norton United. Very memorable monents was it.