It’s a strange feeling when there's no County match on a Saturday.


  • FA Vase Quarter Final - Warrington Rylands 1906 1- Hebburn Town 0 .

    TheWords that follow, and all match photos @Andrew Machin

    I must say this normally only happens when we are out of one or another Cup or it's close season, but this time the break is due to Dover ‘withdrawing’ due to financial reasons. It appears to have been a costly decision for the club as they have been punished with a 12-point deduction for next season and a fine of £40k.

    Luckily County have Mark Stott's financial backing, or they could have faced a similar dilemma.

    This situation has left me free to ‘go local’ again.

    After all the excitement on 22nd April of the FA vase 5th round 3-1 penalty shootout win for Warrington Rylands 1906 FC against West Auckland Town FC (see previous article), I felt it would be a job undone if I didn’t cover the quarter final match against Hebburn Town FC.

    How did Hebburn get there? They narrowly beat Congleton Town 1-0 in the 5th round snatching an 89th minute winner to avoid a penalty shoot-out and set up todays match.

    Rewinding a couple of weeks, the match celebrations at the Rylands ground in the 5th round were not too dissimilar to the feeling experienced when County secured the NLN promotion although County’s was on a far larger scale.

    Celebration Day

    As the lower leagues have been shelved the FA Vase is the only football Rylands and Hebburn are playing and up for grabs is a tasty semi-final home tie clash against Walsall Wood FC from the Midland Premier League. Hebburn are known as the Hornets as they play in a distinctive yellow and black strip.

    I’ve never been to Hebburn, and apparently, it’s a town in Geordie land between Jarrow and Gateshead. They play at the eco-friendly named ‘Green Energy Sports Ground’ in the EBAC Northern League Division One.

    For Hatters Half fans one of Hebburns ‘claims to fame’ is that Brendan Foster was born there. He was the fella who started the Great North Run back in 1981.

    Another claim to fame is the BBC sitcom Hebburn set in, you guessed it, Hebburn which received mixed reactions from the locals but ran to a second series. I forget how many time you hear the word 'pet'. Here’s a clip which is well worth watching:

    Back to the footie; Hebburn Town made the news recently winning the 2019-20 FA Vase in a re-scheduled match played out at Wembley on 3rd May 2021. The original date was cancelled due to Covid.

    They beat Consett 3-2 in a close fought match with Olly Martin scoring the match winner in the 84th minute. It  could be one of the shortest times a club has kept the trophy, unless they win it again this year. With such pedigree they look nailed on favourites to progress to this year’s semi-final.

    That said, there is some good news from the Rylands camp as first choice strikers Kane Drummond and Stephen Milne and midfielder Warren Gerrard are all available after suspensions.

    So pen paper, camera battery charged, sd card in and waterproof clothing to hand, I set out to the Gorsey Lane ground.


    There had been heavy rain all morning and I breathed a sigh of relief when it stopped. However, as the clock struck 3 the drizzle started right on cue.

    Similar to County the far end of the Gorsey Lane ground is known as the Railway End with trains passing regularly.

    Hebburn were lucky to get here as they just missed the partial closure of the M62.

    Some of the visiting contingent.


    Some of the locals enjoying a beer

    County fan Phil Brennan covering the match for the NLP.

    Rylands started kicking towards the Railway End.

    Railway End with the 'A Place on Earth' flag

    Hebburn started on the front foot putting Rylands under pressure with a shot going over the bar and a shot cleared off the line.

    It was a feisty encounter with numerous clashes and fouls on both sides and Gerrard and Shanley were both booked. Nevitt shot wide, and Shanley’s shot was an easy save for Hebburn keeper Foden. Milne’s shot was blocked for a corner.

    It was pretty much end to end stuff but 'no' quality in the final third with both teams cancelling each other out. H-T score 0-0.

    At the start of the second half Rylands manager Dave McNabb replaced Sheen with Coveney. Rylands came out rejuvenated. Scarisbrook’s shot flew over the bar but Hebburn replied forcing a magnificent save from Rylands keeper McCall.

    It was end to end stuff with Rylands Nevitt just volleying over the bar. Rylands then forced a couple of corners and Milne shot just wide.

    Rylands made their second change with Drummond on for last weeks scorer Shanley. A few minutes later Nevitt opened the score thumping in a shot low into the corner just under goalkeeper Foden.

    Rylands were now in the ascendancy with quick counter attacks and good possession. Nevitt tried again but it was an easy save. Drummond followed up with a shot which went wide.

    Hebburn pushed forward with McCall saving near the post. Rylands Nevitt then headed over.

    There then followed 5 minutes added time.

    Rylands striker Milne then came agonisingly close hitting the underside of the crossbar. Rylands made a late change winding down the clock with Denman replacing Scarisbrook.

    Hebburn pushed for a late equaliser from a late corner and as the ball bounced around Rylands defence remained solid.

    All told it was a very entertaining Cup match with the first half was even. It was Rylands second half performance that won them the match and they dare to dream as they are now just one win away from Wembley.

    A fantastic achievement by Dave McNabb, Fraser Ablett and the Rylands players.

    Andrew Machin

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    All match photos @Andrew Machin

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