Wade Associates Northern Alliance preview

OF the top five sides only Alnwick Town and Harraby Catholic Club aren’t chasing league points this weekend.

OF the top five sides only Alnwick Town and Harraby Catholic Club aren’t chasing league points this weekend.

Harraby are at Keswick for a Cumberland Senior Cup tie, while Alnwick Town entertain Peterlee Town in the second round of the Bosch Power Tools Challenge Cup. On the season’s opening day Alnwick beat Peterlee 4-0 but are likely to find it more difficult this time. In their last four fixtures Peterlee have banged in 21 goals.

Going into today’s games, league leaders Heddon are four points clear of nearest rivals Walker Central and six points better off than third-placed Gillford Park. But both of these have three games in hand and Gillford are Heddon’s hosts this weekend in what should be a highly contested clash. While Heddon have enjoyed a 10-match unbeaten run which has included six defensive clean sheets their Cumbrian opponents have dropped points in their last two home games.

With the best defensive record in the Premier Division so far, Paul Bennett’s Walker Central side are keen to regain pole position and should collect another three points at Northbank. The Central have a double figure unbeaten run to their credit with nine-goal Dave Thompson as their leading scorer while in six home games to date Northbank haven’t secured a single point.

While they are both considerably off the pace in the title race both Cramlington Town and Ashington Colliers are still striving to get back in the leading pack. And Cramlington, with striker Jeff Fuller in great goal-scoring form, will test Ponteland United at the Leisure Centre ground.

Ashington Colliers have hit a rich vein of form lately, taking 10 points from a possible 12, and could be too strong for visitors Shankhouse, who haven’t got out of the blocks in this campaign. They have just suffered three straight defeats and were Ashington’s victims last month in the Challenge Cup.

Heaton Stannington, so far unbeaten at Grounsell Park, face bottom rung visitors Newcastle University.

Meanwhile, Carlisle City’s home game against Blyth Town is subject to an early morning ground inspection.

BILL GARDNER

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