Norton & Stockton Ancients Youth 5-0 Durham City AFC
Saturday 3rd December - 2pm - Wearside League - Norton Sports Complex
It was the 'first' game of this new look Durham City AFC side and they faced tough opposition in the form of fourth placed Norton & Stockton Ancients, who have only lost two games all season.
New gaffer, Wayne Gredziak has been working hard the last two weeks to bring players into the team who are synonymous with the ethos and philosophy of the club and want support this rebuild phase. The match got underway with around 70 people in attendance and a good contingent of Durham supporters and Durham committee members backing City. From the first whistle, Durham struggled to get a strong foothold in the game, both metaphorically and literally, as pitch conditions weren't fantastic due to recent rain and the players struggled to maintain their balance.
Norton & Stockton made it 1-0 after 2 minutes, following a turnover in possession outside the Durham box. Goalkeeper Dean Hudson did well to get down a make the save, however the rebound unfortunately fell to an Ancients player and they were the quickest to react and place the ball into the net. Following this early goal, the referee had to use his whistle frequently due to the number of hard tackles and arguments between both teams. Meaning the flow of the game was stagnated for a while. Norton still had the majority of possession, but Durham were starting to settle into the game. Unfortunately, just as this happened, Durham then fell to another Norton goal as they were caught out on the counter and their players exploited the space left on the wings to beat Hudson at his near post, despite the shotstopper getting a good hand to it. Hudson continued to make save after save and kept the Citizens in the game. Durham were forced to make their first change of the game as Liam Walls came off with injury and replaced by Mourni Bouirsi.
In the 27th minute, Norton & Stockton made it 3-0 from a corner with their players rising the highest to head the ball past Hudson. Two minutes after, Durham had to make another substitute due to injury this time seeing John Harper come off and be replaced by Teejay. Durham headed into half time 3-0 down and looking dismayed. Dean Hudson was substituted for fellow goalkeeper Liam Peverley during the break.
However, the management must have worked some magic in the changing rooms, as after half time Durham came out with renewed energy and vigour. Taking the game to Norton and getting further up the pitch than they had managed in the first half. Some great tackles and interceptions from the City backline and midfield to steal the ball and get forward, with some great shows of speed and agility. Durham were getting stronger and even getting shots off on goal, but unfortunately whilst trying to get forward, Durham seceded possession and were caught out against the run of play. Norton made it 4-0 in the 53rd minute.
City then went down to 10 men temporarily when forward Kallum Hannah was sin binned for 10 minutes following 'continuous arguments and language used towards the referee'. Despite being a man short, Durham still held themselves well and continued to get forward and try to reduce the deficit. They continued to fight, and Hannah was brought back onto the pitch to assist in the attacking play.
Norton made it 5-0 in the 81st minute via a freekick after an Ancients player was fouled just outside the box. The player made no mistake and fired it with pace into the bottom left corner, leaving Peverley no chance in goal. As the game began to draw out to a close, Durham were down to 10 men once again, although this time permanently after Brandon Gredziak received his marching orders after a second yellow card.
It was a tough ‘opening’ game for Durham against top opposition. But a very respectable result given that the players have only had a week to train and gel with each other under new management. Durham performed much better in the second half and with a home game coming up next weekend, hopefully they can build on this result
The Citizens lined up with a 4-3-3 formation. Subs included: Liam Peverley, Antony Banks, AJ Elliott, Mourni Bouisri and Tee Jay