Redcar Athletic travel to struggling Tow Law Town, seeking a confidence-boosting three points ahead of next week's thrilling cup double.
With a week of exciting cup drama on the horizon, the Steelmen have one last opportunity to salvage their Northern League form, following a disappointing dry spell.
Redcar haven’t picked up a win since their last Isuzu FA Vase outing: an emphatic 5-2 triumph over North West Countires Premier Division side, Padiham, almost an entire month ago.
Gary Forster’s men last clinched three points in the league when Sunderland RCA visited the Redcar seafront, since facing disciplinary issues, and thus managing a lone point from a possible nine.
With next weekend’s match against Silsden one of the biggest in the club’s history – and plans for the season heading awry – this afternoon proves an important challenge for the Steelmen.
Whilst on paper Tow Law may look an easy opponent, sat deep in troubled waters at the foot of the division, with no manager, last weekend’s defeat to Penrith proved no match-up is a foregone conclusion.
Here’s everything you need to know about this afternoon’s trip to Ironworks Road, and Tow Law Town…
WHO ARE YA?
Coined the Lawyers, Tow Law Town was formed in 1890 as Tow Law FC, playing their trade in local district leagues, before joining the Northern League over 100 years ago in 1920.
The club have remained a Northern League member since, winning the first division on three occasions, and the second division a further two times, yet never tasting promotion – or relegation – to a different league.
The Lawyers boast no major honours in their long history, yet do have the accolade of a Wembley visit to boot.
In 1998, Tow Law Town became the smallest town ever to reach a major cup final, taking 4’000 fans to the prestigious London ground in the FA Vase, where they lost by a single goal to Tiverton Town.
DID YOU KNOW: Ironworks Road is situated roughly 997 feet above sea level, making it the ground at the highest altitude in the UK.
LAST TIME OUT
Often undone by struggling sides, Redcar Athletic were on the wrong end of an admittedly impressive league double last season, headlined by a nine-goal thriller at Ironworks Road.
The Steelmen made the trip to County Durham for just their second outing of the season, where a roller-coaster of a game saw the Lawyers’ claim victory by the odd goal in nine.
Isaac Walker was on target that evening, netting his third of the season, whilst Josh Rowbotham also made the scoresheet with his only goal for the club.
Former-Steelmen Lee Farrington and Sonni Coleman joined the duo amongst the goals, but frustratingly saw their efforts marred by a gutting stoppage-time sucker-punch.
WATCH | Redcar Athletic 1-3 Tow Law Town
At Green Lane, matters weren’t too dissimilar, albeit less spectacular, and less contested.
Donny Holdsworth notched a goal-of-the-season contender for the Steelmen, who fashioned very little in the way of a response, as a spirited Tow Law outfit left Redcar with all three points.
After a stellar September, Redcar Athletic’s optimistic march towards the play-offs stalled, with October brandishing only a disappointing defeat to Tow Law’s relegation rivals, Penrith.
In fact, the Steelmen now boast just the one point from nine, albeit gained through a hard-fought draw, pegging back the tenacious North Shields, and holding on with just NINE men.
WATCH | North Shields 2-2 Redcar Athletic
When it comes to current form, however, Athletic’s woes are no match for the Lawyers’, who have coped with a relentless streak of defeats since an opening day stalemate with Carlisle City.
Last Saturday’s hefty loss to recently-promoted Birtley Town proved the final straw for Tow Law, who parted company with Scott Nicholson in the wake of the match, leaving goalkeeper coach Lee Walker in charge of the club for today’s affair.
After a decent spell condemned to the sidelines, both Joe Ferguson and Donny Holdsworth are available for selection.
Donny has featured twice since his eagerly-anticipated return, clocking up a total of around 20 minutes, whilst Joe finally mustered a full 90 against Penrith last weekend.
The duo have both been picked for Gary Forster’s squad this afternoon, where they will be joined by new signing, Bradley Mills.
Brad joined the club on dual registration with Pickering Town yesterday, and will most likely make his Steelmen debut from the bench.
The midfielder isn’t the only addition from last weekend’s roster, as Danny Boyle returns to the fold after serving his one-match suspension.
Club captain Anthony Bell remains sidelined, with his return pencilled in for the trip to Carlisle at the tail-end of the month, whilst Jack Norton should be available for the Isuzu FA Vase next weekend.
Joining us in County Durham this afternoon? Here’s some important information that you’ll need to know.
FINDING IRONWORKS ROAD
As the name suggests, Ironworks Road is situated on a road of the same name, in the centre of the village of Tow Law.
If you’re travelling by car, you can use the postcode DL13 4EQ to find the ground, which roughly 47 miles, and a one and a quarter hour trip, from Green Lane.
Admission into Ironworks Road is priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, whilst Primary School children get in for free.
Gates will open around 1:30pm, ahead of kick-off at the standard time of 3:00pm.
A matchday programme will be available online for the fixture.
Whilst the turnstile is cash only, the bar should be welcoming to fans using cash or card.
ISUZU FA VASE FOOTBALL AT GREEN LANE
On the back of one historic Isuzu FA Vase clash at Green Lane, another follows suit, as Redcar Athletic welcome Silsden to the Redcar seafront.
The Northern Counties East League table-toppers sent fellow Teessiders Billingham Synthonia packing in the second qualifying round, and will make for a tough test on yet another ground-breaking day for the town.
Find out more: Redcar Athletic vs Silsden